Easy Homemade Pie Crust
-1 c. vegetable shortening (like Crisco)
-2 c. (PLUS extra amount) all-purpose flour
-3 to 5 tablespoons ice-cold water
-1 teaspoon salt
-1 teaspoon baking powder
-1 teaspoon cinnamon (optional)
(Note that the following recipe yields one double crust or two singles.)
Before you begin, take a small amount of water (1/2 cup water or less — you won’t need it all) and drop an ice cube down into it so it’ll start getting cold right away. In a large mixing bowl, combine 1 cup shortening and 2 cups all-purpose flour. Blend. (Wooden spoon works well.)
Once mixture has a crumbly texture, add 1 teaspoon salt and 1 teaspoon baking powder. If you’re preparing this crust as a dessert pie shell (as opposed to a meat or pot pie), you can also mix in 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon.
Start adding the water one tablespoon at a time to the dough. After 2 or 3 spoonfuls, start kneading the crust by hand, using additional water only sparingly. 1/4 cup is probably more water than you’ll ever need for a crust.
Put dough on top of floured, waxed paper. Once you can get the dough into one big lump that won’t fall apart easily on you, lay it on a floured surface.
*If you’re afraid of transferring the dough, you can use this super easy trick: Flour a piece of waxed paper, secure the edges to your countertop in a place or two, and place the chunk of dough on the new (floured) surface.
Sprinkle hands/dough with small additional amounts of flour until it’s a consistency you feel confident rolling out. Roll it out (on top of waxed paper). Divide the dough into two balls, as equal as you can get them easily. Place one of the lumps back in the bowl with a damp paper towel covering it until you’re ready for it.
Flour up the dough ball and rolling pin and begin rolling out the crust. It’s helpful to continually use your fingertips to seal up cracks on the outside perimeter of the dough as you roll it out uniformly.
Chef’s Note: Never roll pie crust from one end to the other; always begin in the center of the ball and make short, quick movements outward, then lift pin to return it to the center “starting point” for the next stroke. Once crust is rolled to a uniform thickness and is large enough to clear the outsides of the pie pan, transfer the crust to the (greased and floured) pie pan.
If you’re using the waxed paper method and your pie pan is lightweight, you can just invert the pan over the crust and then “flip” it over. Repeat method with the second lump of dough. Fill crusts and bake as needed according to pie recipe.