From the Pilsbury Cookbook, but optimized.
For a single-crust pie:
- 1 1/4 cups all purpose flour
- 5/8 teaspoon salt
- 3.25 oz shortening (the best is 2/3 butter and 1/3 lard)
- 4-5 Tablespoons cold water
For a double-crust pie:
- 2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
- 1 1/4 teaspoons salt
- 6.5 oz shortening (the best is 2/3 butter and 1/3 lard)
- 6-7 Tablespoons cold water
Combine flour and salt into a mixing bowl. Cut shortening into pieces and cut into flour mixture with a pastry blender or fingers until shortening is the size of small peas and is uniformly distributed throughout the flour. (Alternatively, you can cut the shortening into the flour with a few 1-second pulses in a Cuisinart food processor.) Add water 1 tablespoon at a time and mix with a fork until the dough starts to hold together but is still very crumbly. Do not knead or stir the dough excessively because it will result in a tough crust. Divide dough in half if making a double-crust pie and put each portion into plastic wrap. The dough will still be crumbly, but it can be molded into a round inside the plastic wrap. Refrigerate for 15-30 minutes. Roll the dough rounds out into a 10-inch circle either on a lightly floured surface or by placing the round between two pieces of wax paper.
For a a pre-baked, single-crust pie shell, place the crust in a pie plate, trim and flute the edges, and then put a piece of tin foil on the crust with pie weights or dry beans to hold the crust down while baking. Bake the crust at 450F for 10-15 minutes.
For a double-crust pie, place the curst in a pie plate, trim the edges, fill as desired, then add the top crust. Seal the edges well, flute the edges, and then cut 2-4 2-inch slits in the crust. Bake at 450 for 15 minutes then at 350 until the pie is bubbly in the middle. (General baking conditions for most pies.)