Pie crust is a little time consuming to make, but they are well worth the effort. I have yet to find any store bought pie shell that can match the ones made in this recipe. The pie shells are flaky and tasty. As I say over and over in all my recipes, the beauty of anything homemade is you can tweak the ingredients according to your taste. For example, if you want the shells a little richer, you can use only butter. If you want the them a little flakier, you can use a little more shortening.
These shells freeze very well, too. You can make as many as you wish, freeze them, and use them at a later date. This is extremely convenient when you have to make a pie in a hurry. I use this pie recipe for just about everything that requires a pastry of this type. For example you can use the recipe tarts or just about anything you can imagine. I made some butter tarts a while back, and they were out of this world.
One important note is to place the pie shell in the fridge for a least 30 minutes before baking. If you don’t do this the pie shell will shrink. The gluten needs some time to rest before baking.
- 3 cups all purpose flour, sifted
- 1 stick cold butter (1/2 cup), cut into cubes
- 1 stick shortening cut into cubes
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/4 cup ice water
- 2 beaten eggyolks
- 2 tsp white vinegar
- Combine the salt, shortening, flour, and butter. If you are using a food processor, pulse this a few times. I recommend 5 to 6 times. If you are using your hands, use two forks or knives to begin the process. Then switch to your fingers tips. Mix until a pea – like, crumbly dough forms.
- Using a different bowl, combine the vinegar, egg yolks, and the ice water. Use a wisk or a wooden spoon to mix until they are well combined.
- Pour about 1/3 of the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients. Pulse this until a dough forms and it stays together nicely. If you are mixing by hand, use a spoon or spatula to begin the process. Then use your finger tips to mix after the mixture becomes too dense or thick to work with. Pour the next 1/3 in and continue the process. Then add the last 1/3 of the mixture and continue to mix. Your mixture should stay together nicely, and you should be able to form a ball or shape with it. It should maintain its shape, too. It should not be too sticky, however. In other words, it should not stick to your hands. If it does, simply add a little more flour. On the other hand, if it is too dry, add a little bit more ice water.
- Add a skiff of flour to a flat surface. Put the dough on the surface and work it into a disk shape about 8 inches in diameter. Cut it in half if you are making a pie. One half will be for the top, and the other half will be for the bottom. You may want to make the portion for the top slightly bigger, as you will need a little more dough for it. If you are making tarts or some other pastry, you can leave it in one large disk.
- Wrap the disks in plastic, and place the dough in the fidge for at least one hour. If you intend to use this at a later date, simply freeze it.
- After an hour, remove the dough from the fridge. Lightly flour a surface and place the dough on it. Dust the rolling pin with flour. Roll from the center out. Roll it until it is nicely rounded and about 1/8 of an inch thick.
- Roll the dough onto the rolling pin. Place the rolling pin and the dough over on edge of the pie plate, and roll it back out again. Carefully tuck it nicely into the pie plate and trim the excess edges away with a sharp knife. Place the pie shell in the fridge for at least 30 minutes to let the gluten rest before baking.
- Any excess or remaining pastry you can freeze for use with tarts at a later date. Fill the pie shell with your favorite filling or freeze it for future use.