SHORTENING or BUTTER? I'll explain the differences, and you can choose what's best for you! ** Recipes for each plus TIPS **
VEGETABLE SHORTENING (i.e. CRISCO) produces a flaky pie crust that is slightly easier to work with than one made with butter, but the flavor won't be as rich.
8” or 9” 2-crust pie
2/3 cup plus 2 tablespoons chilled vegetable shortening, cut into pieces
2 cups all-purpose flour (may need about 2 TB more), plus extra for rolling
1 teaspoon salt
4 to 6 TB ice water
In a large bowl with a pastry blender or two knives, cut vegetable shortening into flour and salt until particles are the size of small peas. Sprinkle in water, 1 tablespoon at a time, tossing with fork until all flour is moistened and pastry dough almost cleans side of bowl (1 to 2 teaspoons additional water can be added if necessary). You want the ingredients to barely bind together.
Flour your hands generously. Tilt the rolling pin and sprinkle it with flour as you rotate the rolling pin. On a lightly floured surface, form pastry into a ball; shape into 2 flattened rounds. Roll pastry 2 inches larger than an inverted pie plate with a floured rolling pin. Try to control the rolling pin and move from the center out. Don't use the rolling pin to go back and forth. Roll the dough over the rolling pin and then unroll the dough over the pie plate.
Crusts made with ALL BUTTER are very flavorful, though they are generally not quite as flaky as crusts made with shortening or lard.
2 1/2 cups flour, plus extra for rolling
1 teaspoon salt …………………………………. 1 tsp sugar
1 cup cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
3 to 6 TB ice water
In a food processor, process the flour, salt, and sugar until combined. Scatter the butter pieces over the flour mixture and process with 1-second pulses until butter bits are no larger than small peas, about 10 pulses. Turn the mixture into a medium bowl. Sprinkle 6 tablespoons of ice water over the mixture. Using a rubber spatula, fold to mix. Press down on the dough with the broad side of the spatula until the dough sticks together, adding up to 2 tablespoons more water if the dough does not come together. ~ Flour your hands generously. Tilt the rolling pin and sprinkle it with flour as you rotate the rolling pin. Divide the dough into two balls and flatten each into a 4-inch dish. Wrap both separately in plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 1 hour before rolling. On a lightly floured surface, form pastry into a ball; shape into 2 flattened rounds. Roll pastry 2 inches larger than an inverted pie plate with a floured rolling pin. Roll dough over rolling pin; then unroll over pie plate.
Perfect Pie Hints and Tips:
If you roll out the dough on wax paper or parchment paper, it makes cleanup easier. Also, you won't be adding unnecessary flour to your pie dough (which can make it tough). To keep wax paper from slipping, sprinkle a few drops of water on the countertop before arranging the paper. When rolling dough out, always start from the center and work your way out in all directions. Use a heavy rolling pin for rolling piecrust.
Pyrex glass pie plates are the best choice for baking your pies, as this type of pie pan conducts heat evenly, which allows the bottom crust of the pie to bake thoroughly. Also you can see when the bottom crust of your pie is browned. If using a glass pie plate, reduce the oven temperature by 25 degrees. Do not oil or grease pie plates.
Thin, aluminum pie pans are a poor choice because they cook unevenly. If you have to use them, double them up and use two. Dull metal pie plates are better then shiny metal pans for making pies. The shiny metal pans keep the crust from browning properly.
To get a browned, SHINY CRUST: brush top crust with an egg wash (1 egg, lightly beaten with 1-2 TB of water) or brush with about 3 TB heavy cream ** SPRINKLE with SPARKLING SUGAR
DECORATE the top of your pie with leaves or flowers, cut out from extra pie dough (moisten your fingers to “glue” these to the edges of the crust, or use egg wash) ~ can brush them with egg wash and lightly sprinkle with cinnamon if desired