Pie Crust

2 1/2 C flour

1 Tbsp sugar

1 tsp salt

1 C fat**

1 C water plus a few ice cubes

**Butter, shortening or lard.  This is where personal preference comes in.  Some people swear by all butter while others swear by a combination of butter and shortening.  All butter is going to taste better while butter+shortening is easier to work with.  I used a combo of half butter and half lard and loved it!

Whisk together flour, sugar and salt in large bowl.  (Bowl should be large enough that you can get both hands in and work the dough).  Place bowl in fridge to chill for 30 minutes along with rolling pin and pastry blender.

Cube 1 C fat (of your choice).  Place in freezer for 15 minutes.

Remove bowl from fridge and scatter fat cubes into flour mixture, tossing to coat.  Use pastry blender to work fat into mixture until butter is size of small peas.  

DO NOT overwork the dough though!  Stop even if fat pieces are slightly uneven.  Overworking the dough will make it tough.

Drizzle approximately 1/2 C ice water into bowl, using rubber spatula to pull dough together.  Add additional water 1 Tbsp at a time as needing, just until dough pulls together.  

Divide dough in two, wrapping each portion in plastic wrap.  Use rolling pin to flatten portions into disc shapes.

Place dough in fridge to chill for 1-2 hours.

Dust rolling pin with flour and roll dough out on well floured surface, adding more flour as needed.  Roll edge of pie crust up onto rolling pin, rolling and draping the crust over the pin.  I just a spatula to help lift the dough.  Line pie pan with crust as desired.  Place lined pie pan in fridge to chill to additional 20 minutes before continuing with pie recipe.

Some tips: 

-EVERYTHING should be cold.  The colder everything is the less likely the fat is to melt and make it impossible to roll out your dough and shape your crust.  I like to put my flour/sugar/salt mixture in the fridge to chill for 30 minutes and put my fat in the freezer for this reason.  I know it seems like forever when you're chilling your dough, but trust me, it will be worth it.  Unless you're a pie crust pro this step will ensure that you'll have a much easier time pulling off this fete.  

-Making sure not to overwork your dough and resting it in the fridge will keep too much gluten from forming.  More gluten=tougher crust.

-A lot of recipes call for using a food processor to mix your dough, but I prefer doing it by hand.  It's much harder to overwork the dough this way, which ensures a tender and flaky crust.

-When you roll your dough out you should be able to see fleck of fat (be it butter, shortening or lard) in it.  These little specks mean your crust will be flaky!