Pastry Crust


One day in my teens I was making a pie dough crust when Grandma walked into the kitchen. She took one look at me cautiously measuring each ingredient and informed me that I would never be a good cook until I learned to measure without measuring tools like measuring cups and spoons. Okay, what should I do? She held out her hands and proceeded to teach me to make that dough measuring the ingredients in my hands. Then as we proceeded with combining the ingredients she taught me the feel of the dough at each stage, adding a bit more flour or a bit more shortening or a bit more water until it was at the correct consistency. This lesson would carry over into all of my cooking techniques. Try making this recipe measuring with tools first and then placing each ingredient in you clean hands to eye up for future reference. Be sure to feel the mixture at each stage.

2 nine-inch pie crusts (This may be halved for a single crust.


3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 ½ teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup organic non-hydrogenated shortening
1 egg beaten
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
¼ to ½ cup ice water divided


1.     Mix the flour and salt in a bowl.

2.     Mix the beaten egg, vinegar and one-fourth cup ice water in a non-reactive bowl. Reserve cold. Reserve the remaining ice water separately.

3.     With a pastry cutter or two table knives cut the shortening into the flour until pieces are the size of small peas. Slowly pour the egg, vinegar and water mixture into the flour using a table fork or pastry cutter. Gently toss and push to the side of the bowl until all the dough forms into a ball. Add more iced water if necessary to reach this consistency. Some flours are dryer than others, hence more water may be necessary. It is important to work quickly to keep the dough as cold as possible.

4.     Gather the dough up divided into two balls and wrap each in plastic wrap. Flatten into one-inch thick circles. Refrigerate for a minimum of one hour and up to twenty four hours. Or freeze wrapped in plastic wrap and foil for up to one month. Thaw frozen dough at room temperature for two hours.

5.     Place the dough between two sheets of parchment paper, wax paper or plastic wrap. Tap down into a wider circle with a rolling pin. Then roll from the center out in four directions until the dough is twelve to thirteen inches in diameter.

6.     Remove top sheet of paper or wrap. Roll loosely onto the rolling pin to transfer it to the pie plate or tart pan. Ease it gently into pan, tucking it into all corners. Remove the top sheet of paper or wrap.

7.     For a single pie crust, the dough that hangs over the pan edge should be rolled under the rim of the pan. Either crimp that edge with a fork or using first  two finger on one hand and one finger on the other to shape scallops all the way around. Prick the bottom with a fork to reduce bubbles if baking the crust without filling.

8.     Refrigerate the pie crust in the pan for a minimum of twenty minutes before using.

DIRECTIONS: For a baked bottom crust:

1.     Preheat oven to 375°F. Line the crust with foil. Bake for twenty minutes. Remove the foil, lower the temperature to 350 °F and continue to bake until golden brown, about ten to fifteen minutes. Cool.