BASIC PIE CRUST
500 Pies & Tarts by Rebecca Baugniet
This is the perfect crust for fruit-based pies as well as for savory tarts.
Makes enough For two 8- or 9-in. (20- or 23-cm.) pie crusts.
• 2 cups all-purpose flour
• 1/8 tsp. salt
• 1/2 cup vegetable shortening
• 1/2 cup cold unsalted butter
• 1 large egg
• 2 tsp. white vinegar
• 2 tbsp. ice-cold water
Combine the flour and salt in a large mixing bowl.
Cut the vegetable shortening and butter into small chunks and add to the flour mixture.
Using a pastry blender or two knives in a criss-crossing motion, blend the butter and shortening into the flour mixture until it has the consistency of damp sand, with a few pea-sized pieces of butter and shortening remaining.
Using a fork or wire whisk, beat the egg with the vinegar and water.
Slowly pour the egg mixture over the flour, stirring only until the mixture is moist. The dough should stick together and be able to hold the form of a ball.
Divide the dough into two balls and wrap each one in plastic wrap.
Smooth each ball of dough with a rolling pin so it forms a flat disc, that fills the corners of the plastic wrap. Chill in the refrigerator for a minimum of half an hour. (If it has been chilled for a long time, it may need to soften slightly before use.)
To roll out the crust, unwrap one disc and place on a lightly floured surface. Roll the dough from the center of the disc to the edge, until the crust is the desired thickness (usually 1/8 in./3 mm. thick) and at least 1 in. (2.5 cm.) wider than the pie plate. If the dough is sticking to the rolling pin, try placing a sheet of plastic wrap over it and then rolling it out.
Remove the plastic wrap and transfer the crust into the pie plate by rolling it onto the rolling pin and then positioning it over the pie plate. If the crust is sticking to the rolling surface, carefully separate it by sliding a sharp knife or metal spatula between the crust and the rolling surface. Carefully press the dough into the pie plate. If any cracks appear during the transfer, use lightly floured fingers to push the seams back together.
For single-crust pies, crimp the edge decoratively, using your fingers or fork tines.
Dough can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. If you wish to freeze the crust, first roll out the dough and line your pie plate. Once the crust is frozen, gently remove it from the pie plate and freeze in a large freezer bag for up to 3 months.