All-Purpose Pie Pastry
If you are making a 2-crust pie, avoid doubling the recipe. You are more likely to overwork the dough that way. Instead, make one crust, and as that chills in the refrigerator, make the second. To make the crust without a food processor, use a bowl and a pastry blender (or 2 knives) to cut in the butter and shortening, then stir in the water and lemon juice with a spoon.
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons butter, chilled and cut into 1/4-inch pieces
2 tablespoons shortening, chilled and cut into tablespoon-size pieces
3 to 4 1/2 tablespoons ice water
1 teaspoon lemon juice
In the bowl of a food processor, combine the flour, sugar, and salt. Pulse to blend. Add the butter and pulse with six 1-second pulses, until the butter pieces are coarsely broken up and coated with flour. Add the shortening and pulse with five 1-second pulses, until the butter pieces resemble small peas.
Add 3 1/2 tablespoons of the water and the lemon juice. Pulse 3 times. Add more water if necessary, 1 teaspoon at a time, and pulse 1 or 2 times, until the dough just adheres when pinched between your fingers.
Turn the mixture out into a medium bowl and gather the dough into a ball. Press into a disk shape, about 1" thick. Wrap in plastic wrap and chill in the refrigerator at least 30 minutes or up to 24 hours.
Remove the dough from the refrigerator and let stand at room temperature 10 minutes to soften. Spread a 16" piece of plastic wrap or parchment paper on a work surface. Lightly coat with flour. Place the dough on top, lightly dust with flour, and cover with another sheet of plastic wrap or parchment. Roll the dough from the center out into a 12" circle. If the dough sticks to the plastic, carefully unpeel and lightly coat the plastic with more flour.
Remove the top sheet and slide your hands underneath the bottom sheet. Carefully invert over the pie pan, centering the dough as much as possible. Lift the dough gently by one edge to encourage it to conform to the bottom of the pan. Gently press across the bottom to make sure that there are no air bubbles trapped under the surface. Trim any extra dough so that there is only 1/2" of overhang. Tuck the dough edge under so that it hangs about 1/4" beyond the pan edge. Crimp the edges as desired. Lightly cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 1 hour.
To prebake: Adjust the oven rack to the middle position. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Line the pie crust with foil or parchment paper, fitting it snugly along the curve of the crust. Bake 18 minutes. Carefully remove the beans and foil. Cook until light golden brown, 12 to 15 minutes longer. If the crust begins to bubble, prick with a sharp knife to deflate. Transfer to a rack to cool. Makes one 9" crust.
To bake a 2-crust pie, follow the baking instructions of the pie recipe you are using. If you are making the crust for a savory dish, such as a quiche, omit the sugar. If using the prebaked pie shell for a filling that is prone to turning the shell soggy, brush with an egg white immediately after removing the prebaked shell from the oven. This will create a moisture-resistant barrier.