We thought it might be handy to have a really basic pie crust recipe here, for those of you who don’t own the old Betty Crocker cookbook (and all 3 of you should try and find one soon! ) I am drawing this one from the Better Homes and Gardens cookbook. I’ll give you the 1 crust and the 2 crust version:
- 1 1/4 c. all-purpose flour
- 1/4 tsp. salt
- 1/3 c. shortening, lard, or butter
- 3-4 TBSP ice water
- 2 c. all-purpose flour
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- 2/3 c. shortening/lard/butter
- 6-7 TBSP ice water
Mix flour and salt together in a large bowl. Cut in shortening, using a pastry blender or cutting tool, until there are little pieces or grains of flour/shortening. Sprinkle in ice water, 1 TBSP at a time, and mix with a fork. Repeat until the dough is moistened. Form the dough into a ball. Do not over mix, or the crust will be tough!
On a lightly floured surface, flatten dough into a thick circle, then use a rolling pin to roll flat. Start from the center and roll towards edges. When the circle is about 12 inches in diameter, roll it up onto the rolling pin from one edge, pick it up and transfer it to a 9-inch pie pan, unrolling it straight into the pan. Trim to 1/2 inch beyond the edge of the pan. Roll the extra dough under. To decorate the edge, you can a)press the tines of a fork into the edge all the way around. b)Using thumb and forefinger of both hands, press the edge into a zig-zag, which is called fluting. c)Add extra dough that you’ve rolled into very thin strips and braided.
Fill the crust with your filling of choice, and bake as directed.
If you require the crust to be baked before filling with a non-cook filling, prick the bottom and sides of the crust with a fork all over, and bake in a 450ºF oven for 12 or so minutes, until it is golden. Allow it to cool before filling.
A word about shortening: I know that there are those who SWEAR by Crisco or lard as the ONLY thing to use for pie crusts. They swear up and down that only Crisco will make a decent crust. I’m even willing to believe that it does. However, I only ever use butter, because I can’t even THINK about Crisco without gagging. I imagine my arteries just clogging right up as I think about Crisco. I can’t go there. I understand that butter is not wildly better for my arteries than Crisco, but somehow butter doesn’t give me the vivid mental pictures that Crisco does. So there, I’ve said it. I’m a butter girl. Always will be. If you want to use shortening, that’s your own affair. Please don’t even try to talk me out of my butter.
A couple of other notes: You can do this in your stand mixer–I’ve taken to doing pastry mostly in my mixer, and I don’t notice a difference, although I’m sure there are purists who would howl about the sheer irreligiosity of using a mixer instead of hand-cutting. Also, if you use butter, make sure that it is still quite cold, and that you cut it into smaller pieces before beginning to mix/cut into flour. If it is room temperature, you will find that the dough gets really gooey. Also, I can’t stress enough how important it is to NOT over-mix or over-handle the dough before rolling out. It should be just moist enough and just mixed enough to form it into a somewhat loose ball. The less you handle this dough, the more flaky your crust will be, and that is a Good Thing!