Pie Crust

Buttery Pie crust
Yield: four 9-inch pie crusts

5 1/3 cups flour
¼ cup sugar
1 teaspoon salt
¾ cup shortening
1 1/3 cups (2 sticks plus 5 tablespoons) butter, cubed
1 cup ice water

Mix together the flour, salt, and sugar. Add the shortening and cubed butter cut it in until it's flaky. Add the ice-cold water a few tablespoons at a time.  Mix until it begins to clump together. Stop and feel the dough; it should be just moist enough that it can clump together. If necessary, add more water by teaspoonfuls.  The dough should not form a ball; it should remain flaky.

With floured hands, divide it into 4 wedges. Shape each wedge into a disk shape, wrap each plastic and place all four disks in a large zip-top freezer bag, label it “Pie crust, 400ºF, 35-40 minutes,” and freeze.

To Serve
Remove one (or two, if making a double crust) pie-dough disk from the freezer and warm in the microwave until pliable. (20-30 seconds). Roll dough out using a sheet of plastic wrap on top and bottom to keep it from sticking to the counter or roller. Peel off one layer of the plastic wrap and place the dough in a 9-inch pie pan. Then peal off the top layer of plastic wrap. If you are adding a top crust, place the filling in and add the crust on top. Make 2 or 3 slits in the top and pinch the dough around the edges using your thumb and two fingers (from the other hand) to give it a finished look. Bake on the bottom wrack at 400ºF for 35-40 minutes.

If your recipe calls for a pre-baked crust, preheat the oven to 400ºF and prick the dough all over with a fork. Line the crust with foil and place a cup of dry rice or beans (or use pie weights) in the foil to weigh it down. Bake in the oven for 15 minutes. Remove crust from the oven, cool for a few minutes, and carefully remove the foil and rice, beans, or weights. Reduce the heat to 350ºF and cook for an additional 10 minutes, until the crust is golden. Cool completely before filling.