Prep 30 mins
Cook 25 mins
My mother made the best pies in the world--no, REALLY. The crusts were always exquisitely light and flakey. Mine are darn good, but I haven't got the technique quite down (she had about 65 years of practice, so I have a ways to go yet). But with this recipe, I know that perfection is possible!
- 3 cups sifted flour
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 1⁄3 cups shortening
- 1 egg, well-beaten
- 3 -5 tablespoons ice water
- 1 tablespoon white vinegar
- Sift together flour and salt. Cut shortening into flour with a pastry cutter until it has the texture of coarse crumbs. Combine egg, water, and vinegar (start with 3 tablespoons of water, and add the rest only if you need it to make the dough hold together). Pour into flour mixture all at once. Blend with a spoon just until flour is all moistened. Refrigerate at least 30 minutes.
- Gather into a ball and roll out on waxed paper. To place in pie plate, lift waxed paper and peel off when crust is in place. Refrigerate at least 30 minutes before baking.
- To pre-bake, prick shell at 1/2-inch intervals before refrigerating. Press a doubled 12-inch square of aluminum foil into pie shell. Adjust oven rack to lowest position, heat oven to 400 degrees. Weight crust with pie weights. Bake, until crust is firmly set, about 15 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees, remove weights and foil, and continue to bake until crust is crisp and rich brown in color, about 8-10 minutes longer.
- Makes one double (top and bottom) crust or two single (bottom) crusts.
- Some of the secrets to light, flaky, tender pie crusts are: 1) Have the ingredients cool or chilled when you start; chill the dough when you aren't working with it (before you roll it out, after it's in the pie plate and before baking). 2) Handle the dough as little as possible; avoid over-blending or re-rolling it. You want to have unblended bits of shortening in the mixture, to create the flakey texture.
I'll be honest that I found the crust difficult to work with, maybe because I was trying not to handle it very much. However, that being said, I will be making this again as it was, after baking, a fantastic crust which the whole family agreed on.