Homemade pastry crust is easy if you know a few simple secrets! This easy pie crust recipe is slightly sweet, and makes enough for one standard double-crust pie, two standard single-crust pies, or ten 6-inch hand-pies.
In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, and salt. Using a pastry cutter, back of a fork, or your fingers (my personal choice) work the cold shortening into the flour mixture until the texture resembles that of strudel crumble.
Add grated or cut ice-cold butter to flour mixture. Work butter in using a pastry cutter, fork, or your fingers. It's OK to leave large pieces of butter (balls up to the size of a lima bean): this is what makes your pie crust flakey!
Cool flour mixture in freezer 5 minutes before proceeding.
(Optional) If you are using vodka, mix ice water and vodka together.
Sprinkle ½ cup ice cold liquid (ice water, or ice water+vodka) over the top of the flour mixture and stir with a wooden spoon until a ball begins to form. IMPORTANT: Do not pour liquid onto flour mixture: sprinkle it.
Turn dough out onto counter, and press it together into a large ball or disk. Divide dough in half. (This will make it easier to work with later.)Press each half into a disk. (Do not overwork the dough. Just press it together.)
Wrap each disk tightly in plastic wrap. Refrigerate prepared dough for at least one hour, and up to two days.
Roll out and bake according to directions for whatever you are making.I like to roll pastry dough out between sheets of parchment. It allows me to flip the dough easily, and place it without concerns over tearing.
Standard Pastry Baking Times
Single Crust Pie [Filled] • 400 - 425 °F [205-218 °C] • 30-40 minutes
Pie Shell Only [Unfilled] • 450 °F [232 °C] • 12-12 minutes