Chill Out

So many folks get intimidated by pie crust, but if you follow one simple rule, from-scratch crust becomes easy as pie. The key is to keep everything as cold as possible. Don’t let the fat begin to melt until it is in the oven. Minimize warming at every step, and you’ll be rewarded with outstanding crusis.

Begin with 12 ounces of flour for a two-crust pie. Sprinkle in a pinch of salt. Quickly cut 8 ounces of cold butter, lard, or shortening (or a combo) into pieces, and add to the flour. Use a pastry cutter to incorporate the fat into pea-sized chunks. Sprinkle 2 ounces of ice water over the flour, and mix it with a fork. You may need as much as 2 additional ounces of water to make the dough come together. Turn the mixture out onto aboard while it’s still a bit floury and give it just a few quick kneads to come together.

Divide the dough into two slightly uneven pieces. The bottom crust needs more dough than the top. Wrap each piece in plastic, and press it into a rough disk. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour before using. When ready to use, remove the bottom crust. Roll the dough onto a floured board. Place the flattened dough in the pie pan, pressing the dough over the pie pan lip. Fill the pie dish, and return to the refrigerator. Roll out the top crust. Cover your filling, and place the pie in a preheated oven.