It’s easy as pie!! Well, if you have the right crust! LOL Shortening is great, but an all butter crust is the way to go (though it can be a bit tricky). I’ve tested this recipe several times and finally figured out the right ratio of everything to make it perfect for any kind of filling! Here’s HOW:
This recipe makes TWO 9 inch crusts or ONE double crust.
2 ½ C All-Purpose Flour
2 T Brown Sugar (I use a 50/50 Dark/Light Mix)
½ t Kosher salt*
1 Cup (2 sticks) Salted Butter, cubed into ½ in. pieces and chilled*
¼- ½ C Ice Cold Water
*if using unsalted butter, I up the amount of salt to 1 teaspoon.
Cling Film, heat safe
Glass pie plate
In the bowl of a food processor, combine all of the dry ingredients and pulse a couple of times to incorporate evenly. Add cold butter and pulse several times until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs (don’t go too small at this point as you have more mixing, and it will get finer).
Remove lid and evenly distribute ¼ Cup of your water over the entire dry mixture. Pulse a few times so that the flour starts to become wet. Remove top and test by squeezing in your hand, if the dough holds but is still a little crumbly, add another tablespoon of water and check again. The pastry should feel “together” but not “sticky.” Add water until it’s holding together and not “crumbly.”
Remove from the processor and divide into two equal parts (I usually weigh). Form these divided portions into a ball and then wrap in plastic wrap; with a rolling pin, roll balls out into a disk being careful to keep the edges together. Store in the refrigerator for a minimum of 1 hour.
If you make your dough ahead by a day (it can be frozen up to a month in advance), you may need to let it sit on the counter for about 10-15 minutes before handling it. I’ve let it sit for a week in the fridge and it baked well, but you’ll have to let it “warm up” for about 15-20 minutes to be able to roll it.
For blind baking a standard 9-inch single filling pie crust, liberally flour a surface and throw about a tablespoon into the glass pie plate, working around to pan to help the crust from sticking in the bake. Dust a rolling pin, placing the dough in the center of your floured surface, starting in the middle roll outward; rotate the disk ¼ turn after every roll (this will help to keep the pastry from sticking to the surface). Once diameter has been achieved, roll pastry backward onto the rolling pin, dusting excess flour off, and unroll over top of your pie pan.
Lifting from the outside, push the sides down into the corners of the pie pan. With the overhang of the dough around the top of the pan, cut about an inch around to get rid of the shaggy edges. Being careful not to lift out of the corners, tuck under the edges to double up the pie on top of the rim of the pie plate. Now you can play around with decorations. I have stuck with a “crimped” edge where I take my thumb and forefinger on one hand and my forefinger on the other hand, and while rotating the pie plate, I press the dough with my single finger in between the thumb and forefinger. After having gone all the way around the pie plate with this, I repeat, pinching the points into a hard “v”. This severe crease will bake out. Place your decorated crust into the freezer for 15 minutes and preheat the oven to 365 DegF. (I don’t use convection here).
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and place chilled pie plate/crust onto it. Take a fork and dock all around the edges and bottom of the pie crust. Using two layers of heat safe plastic wrap, make a “t” across the bottom of the pie plate. Pour in pie weights and wrap up plastic on top of them making a “nest” of sorts. If you don’t have the heat tolerant cling wrap, you can us a piece of parchment that you crumple up to achieve the same affect. The important thing is to allow the weights to go all the way to the edges and hold down the corners.
Bake for 25 minutes and then remove the weights. Allow to bake for another 10 minutes until the bottom of the crust looks dry.
You now have a wonderful shell to fill with whatever kind of no bake filling you desire!