Perfect Pie Crust

What you need:
• 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
• 1/4 teaspoon fine salt
• 3 tablespoons granulated white sugar
• 1/4 cup vegetable shortening, cold
• 12 tablespoons butter, (1 1/2 sticks) cold and cubed
• 1⁄2 cup ice water

What you do:
• In a large mixing bowl, sift together the flour, salt and sugar.
• Add the shortening and break it up with your hands as you start to coat it all up with the flour.
• Add the cold butter cubes and work it into the flour with your hands or a pastry cutter. Work it quickly, so the butter doesn’t get too soft, until the mixture is crumbly, like very coarse cornmeal.
• Add the ice water, a little at a time, until the mixture comes together forming a dough.
• Bring the dough together into a ball. When it comes together stop working it otherwise the dough will get over-worked and tough.
• Divide the dough in half and flatten it slightly to form a disk shape.
• Wrap each disk in plastic and chill in the fridge for at least 2 hours.
• On a floured surface roll each disk out into a 10 to 11-inch circle to make a 9-inch pie.

Yield: 2 (9-inch) pie crusts

If your recipe calls for a pre-baked crust:
• Freeze the crust for at least a half hour, until chilled.( This is an important step in pre-baking. Otherwise the crust will slip down the sides.)
• Preheat your oven to 350°F.
• Line the pie crust with parchment paper, wax paper, or aluminum foil.
• Fill at least two-thirds full with pie weights – dry beans, rice, or stainless-steel pie weights.
• Bake with weights for 20 minutes.
• Remove from oven, cool a few minutes and carefully remove pie weights.
• Poke small holes in the bottom of the pie crust with a fork and return to oven (without the weights) and cook for an additional 10 minutes, until the crust is golden.
• Cool completely before filling.
• You may need to tent the edges of the pie with aluminum foil when you bake your pie, to keep the edges from getting too dried out and burnt.

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