By Tad Mitchell
May 30, 2016
The key to making flakey pie crust is not overmixing the dough. The goal is to have pea-sized pieces of shortening in the dough. This way when the dough is rolled, the pieces of shortening become sheets of shortening that create the flakey crust. Another aid in not overmixing the dough is to keep the dough cool. This is why cold water is called for. The dough may also optionally be placed in the freezer prior to adding the water to keep it cool. Also, refrain from touching the dough as much as possible so as not to transfer unwanted heat to the dough.
1Mix flour and salt. Cut in shortening with knives or pastry blender. Stop when shortening pieces are pea-sized. Add water one tablespoon at a time, tossing with a fork to distribute evenly. Form dough into two balls handling as little as possible. Cover working surface with flour. Cover a six-inch circle in the middle with more flour. Place dough in middle and use hands to form into a five-inch disc, touching as little as possible. Flour top of dough and use rolling pin to roll dough into a 12-inch circle.
2For single pie crust (no top), place pie pan upside-down on rolled out dough. Use a pizza slicer to cut a circle one inch larger than the pie pan. Remove the pan and place upright. Fold the circle of dough in half and then gently move to pie pan. Fold edge under and press lightly against the side of the pie pan. Use finger and thumb of both hands to create a rippled edge on the pie crust. When creating the rippled edge, make sure that it rests on the top of the pie pan lip. If it does not, it will slide down during baking creating a pie crust that is too short. If the crust is to be un-baked (for example, pecan pie or pumpkin pie), fill the crust with filling and bake according to the recipe's instructions. If the crust is to be baked (for example, cream pie), prick the crust all over (even the sides) with a fork so the crust does not puff up during baking. Bake at 425° for 10-12 minutes or until crust just starts to become golden brown.
3For double pie crust (a pie with a top), fold the dough in half and place in pie pan. Gently mold into pie pan. Remove excess dough by rubbing the back side of a fork against the edge of the pie pan. Roll out the other piece of dough for the top. Fill pie pan with filling. Brush top piece of dough with an egg wash. Also, brush the edges of the bottom to assure the two pieces of crust adhere to each other. Carefully place the top on the pie. Attach the two pieces by pressing together with a fork. Remove excess dough as above. Poke holes in the crust with a knife. (For a lattice crust, after brushing top with the egg wash, cut into 3/4 inch thick slices. Weave the slices to build the top.) Top with granulated sugar before baking.