Last fall, I was making a recipe that called for a pie crust.  I had never made pie crust before.  Naturally, I called my mother for help.  She’s famous in our family for her pies, though admittedly it is an easy feat, as no one in our extended family can cook worth a damn.  I once visited my grandmother for a long weekend, who made a brisket for the occasion.  We ended up going out for burgers, after trying to scrape the char out of the pan.

Anyway, so I’m on the phone with my mom, flailing about, and I’m like, well, if this doesn’t turn out, I can always buy a pie crust.  My mom is silent for a couple beats and replies, “Honey.  Real women make their own pie crusts.”  I’m sure real men can make their own pie crusts too, but my mom and I are both ladies, and real people make their own pie crusts does not have the same ring.

There is a bit of a zen to make pie crust.  You may think at some point you’re doing it wrong.  But trust the process.  It will be OK.  I promise.

This makes enough dough for the bottom crust of a 9 inch pie plate.  If you’re making a top crust, double the amounts.

1 1/3 cup all-purpose flour

1/2 cup Crisco vegetable shortening, or margarine, chilled.

1/2 teaspoon salt

3+ tablespoons ice water

1.   Mix flour and salt in chilled mixing bowl. Cut shortening into the flour with a pastry cutter (I use two knives), until mixture resembles the texture of tiny split peas. Do not use your hands to try and mix it!  The heat from your hands will melt the shortening, and you will not have nice light flaky crust.

Cut shortening into flour.  DO NOT USE HANDS!
2.  Once mixture is the right texture, add the ice water and combine with a fork. You may think it needs more water. You would be wrong.


3.  Quickly gather the dough into a ball and flatten into a 4-inch-wide disk. Wrap in plastic, and refrigerate at least 30 minutes.

4.   Remove dough disk from refrigerator. If stiff and very cold, let stand until dough is cool but malleable.

5.  Using a floured rolling pin, roll the dough disk on a lightly floured surface from the center out in each direction, forming a 12-inch circle. If little layers of dough stick to the rolling pin, like this, fret not.  Just stick’em back down and sprinkle some flour.  You’ll be fine.


6.  To transfer dough, carefully roll it around the rolling pin, lift and unroll dough, centering it in an ungreased 9-inch regular or deep-dish pie plate. (These are the actual instructions; I just rolled it out on floured wax paper, and then flipped it into the pie dish and peeled off the paper. Works for me!)

Ta-da! Pie crust!