- Skill Level: Moderate
- Cost: Inexpensive
- Favorited: 4 Times
Can be made ahead of time.
Butter tastes the best, and lard makes it flake. That’s the simple, if awful, truth about pie crust. You can substitute vegetable shortening for some of the lard, as we do here, without losing the lightness, but if you get more modern than that, you will be the only flaky thing in the dining room.
Using a food processor, a bowl with a pastry blender, or your fingers, cut the lard, butter, and vegetable shortening into the flour and salt. Whatever method you choose, be careful not to overwork the dough, which would reduce flakiness. Add the water a few tablespoons at a time, until the dough just holds together. Divide the dough into two mounds, wrap them in plastic, and refrigerate them at least 30 minutes (or wrap one mound for the freezer, if you don’t plan to use it in the next couple of days).
If the pie crust is to be baked, preheat the oven to 400°F.
On a floured board or pastry cloth, roll out the dough in a circle a couple of inches larger than the pie pan. To avoid stretching the dough excessively, roll it from the center outwards, lifting the rolling pin after each stroke rather than rolling back over the dough in the opposite direction. Loosen the dough, drape it around the rolling pin, and center the crust over the pan, dropping it gently into place. If you’re making a one-crust pie, crimp the edges decoratively. If your pie is to have two crusts, roll out the second mound of dough, too.
For a single prebaked crust, prick the dough in several spots. Cover the pie shell with foil, and weight the foil with dried beans or pie weights. Bake the crust for 10 minutes, and then lower the temperature to 350°F and bake for an additional 15 minutes, or follow the directions in your pie recipe.
All-purpose flour makes a fine pie crust with the combination of fats in this recipe, but if you want the ultimate in flakiness, use a soft-wheat flour. The lower gluten content does the trick.
Nutritional information is based on 16 servings.