Judy’s Flaky Pie Crust

coconut custard pie.jpg

This is my sister’s recipe for the best, flakiest pie crust I know. The egg, which is an unusual addition, makes the dough easier to work with.

Makes two 9-inch pie crusts

3 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup plus 3 tablespoons vegetable shortening
1 large egg
1/3 cup ice water, plus 2 to 3 tablespoons as needed
1 tablespoon white vinegar

1. Stir the flour and salt together in a large bowl. Add the shortening and cut it into the flour with a pastry cutter until the mixture resembles coarse meal.

2. In a separate small bowl, beat the egg with 1/3 cup of the ice water and the vinegar. Pour this into the bowl with the flour mixture, stirring with a fork just until it comes together. Do not mix any more than necessary. If the dough is dry and crumbly, add more water, 1 tablespoon at a time, until it comes together, but don’t add so much water that the dough becomes wet or sticky.

3. Lightly dust your hands and work surface with flour. Turn the dough out onto the work surface and form it into a ball with your hands. Divide the dough ball into 2 pieces and form each piece into a flat disk about 1 1/2 inches thick. Wrap each disk in plastic wrap and refrigerate it for at least 30 minutes, or up to 3 days.

4. Take the chilled dough out of the refrigerator and place it on a lightly floured surface. Dust a rolling pin with flour and roll the dough to form a 12-inch circle. Fold the dough in half or gently roll it up onto the rolling pin and lift it up to put in the 9-inch pie pan. Press the dough lightly into the bottom and up the sides of the pan.

5. For a one-crust pie, trim the edges of the dough with a pair of kitchen shears or a knife, leaving about 1 1/2-inches of dough draped over the edge of the pan. Fold the extra dough under itself to form a lip around the edge of the pan Crimp the edge of the pie with your fingers, or press with the tines of a fork. Cover the crust with plastic wrap and refrigerate it for at least 1 hour or up to 3 days before baking. For a two-crust pie, leave the dough flaps hanging over the edge of the pan until you put the top crust on the pie. Then trim both crusts together, fold both under, and crimp or press the edges.

6. For a pre-baked pie crust, preheat the oven to 425ºF.

7. Line the bottom of the shell with aluminum foil or parchment paper and fill it with dried beans or pie weights. Place the pie shell in the oven to bake 15 to 20 minutes. Remove the beans and foil and bake for 5 to 8 minutes more, until the crust is golden brown and flaky.



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