Betty Groff's Basic Pie Dough
Yields: Two 9-inch pie shells, or one double crust pie
I like to make a large quantity of these crumbs, doubling the recipe once or twice. I only use the amount I need for the day by adding the water, and refrigerate the rest in a sealed container. Usually the amount you can hold in both hands together, before adding the water, is enough for one crust. These crumbs will keep in the refrigerator for at least four weeks.
2 ½ cups flour
½ cup fresh lard or vegetable shortening
¼ cup butter (1/2 stick)
¾ teaspoon salt
Ice water, approx. 1/3 cup
In a large bowl, combine the shortening, butter, salt, and flour with a pastry blender or rub with your hands until fine. Carefully dribble water evenly over the crumbs with one hand while tossing the crumbs lightly with the other. Use only enough water to hold together. When dough becomes moist, gently press it to the side of the bowl. The less it is handled, the flakier it will be. If you are using a food processor, add the water cautiously, watching for the moment it starts to form a ball. Divide in half. Pat the sides of each ball to prevent uneven edges before rolling. Generously flour a board or counter, making sure the top and bottom of the dough are floured. Roll the dough about 1/8 – inch thick, moving the rolling pin lightly until the round crust is about an inch larger than the pie pan. Place in pie pan, cutting off any excess dough. Crimp the edges with your fingers or a pastry crimper. Keep the excess dough to the side, covering with plastic wrap. Do not use the dough over and over again or it will become dry and tough. When finished with the pie pans, combine the extras, moisten with a bit of water and roll.
To bar-bake shells (this prevents soggy crusts) for fruit pies or other pies that do not call for a pre-baked crust, place in preheated 350°F oven for approximately 7 to 10 minutes or until the pastry puffs. Remove at once and gently press any bubbles that may have formed. Fill, top, and bake according to directions.
To fully bake shells, prick the dough a few times with a fork to prevent shrinkage and bake approximately 20 minutes or until dry and golden brown. Cool and store or fill with desired filling.