PERFECT PIE CRUST
So innocent looking...so safe and unassuming...
But beware! A perfect pastry crust does nothing but patiently waits - for the perfect filling, the careful handling, the beautiful adornments...waits - for the oven and the chance to become golden and puffy, presenting layers of air and a flaky texture that melts in the mouth.
It beckons - tempts and teases...glowing with sugar crystals and wafting it's scent through the kitchen, the house, the neighborhood, even.
One taste and you succumb, forever spoiled to any other. Nothing will be the same after that forkful. There will be no peace, no rest - you will always strive for perfection and be content only when you've lovingly and tenderly brought forth a pie that needs do nothing but simply...
I love doing this in the food processor as it takes, literally, seconds. But if you do it by hand, only mix til barely combined and never knead pie crust.
This recipe makes enough for two double-crust pies. I usually make a 1/4 of it into pie crust cookies - you know, the ones Gramma used to make. Strips of pastry crust sprinkled with cinnamon-sugar and baked until golden brown and flaky. Yes...those!
4 cups flour
2 teaspoons salt
1 tablespoon sugar
1 3/4 cups shortening, in chunks
1/2 cup water
1/2 tablespoon white vinegar
In food processor: Add flour, salt, and sugar; whirl for a couple seconds until combined. In a small bowl whisk together the water, egg, and vinegar.
Add shortening chunks to processor and pulse just until large crumbs form.
Add egg mixture all at once and pulse just until combined and it starts to form a ball. Remove from processor, form into a ball while working dough as little as possible. Dough may be somewhat sticky. Place on a piece of plastic wrap and wrap tightly. Chill for at least an hour. Roll or use as normal. 1/4 of ball will make one crust - bottom or top.
(This dough is very soft. Roll on a well-floured surface and dust with flour as needed while rolling.)
If baking by itself for a no-bake pie, prick the crust all over - even on the sides - with a fork. This will allow the steam to release instead of it puffing up. Bake in a 350 oven for about 15 minutes, or until the crimped edges are turning golden. Cool compeltely if using a cold filling.
If using in a pumpkin or fruit pie - bake according to the pie recipe.
By hand: Combine flour, salt, and sugar. Cut in shortening until large pieces form.
In a small bowl whisk water, egg, and vinegar. Drizzle over flour mixture and toss with a fork, just until combined. Be careful not to overwork. Follow remaining directions above.