Basic Pie Crust
The following is a classic pastry. It works best with the premeasured shortening, the kind that comes in wrapped sticks, like butter. Lighter and fluffier, the shortening makes a flakier crust, similar to one made with lard, but without the cholesterol.
Sift together the flour and salt; using a pastry cutter, two knives or fingers, blend shortening and flour together until mixture is crumbly. Stir in cold water, adding just enough for pastry to hold together, so that pastry forms a smooth ball. If using a food processor, combine flour, salt, and shortening in work bowl. Process on-and-off several times until mixture is crumbly. With motor running, add liquid in a steady stream and process just until mixture forms a ball.
Refrigerate an hour for easier handling. Divide dough and roll out on a lightly floured board to make pastry for a (9-inch) two-crust pie or two (9-inch) crusts. Roll the dough about 2 inches larger than the diameter of the pan. Drape crust over the rolling pin and ease it into pan, fitting it against bottom and sides. Crust should overlap edge of pan about 1/2 inch. Turn crust under and shape edge using fingers to create a fluted or pleated edge.
Fill and bake as directed in pie recipe. For a baked or “blind” crust, prick bottom and sides of crust with a fork. Place crust in 450°F (235°C) oven for 10 minutes or just until crust is set and begins to take on a golden cast. Cool before filling.