There’s nothing wrong with buying a prepared pie crust, but it’s so easy to make your own that I urge you to do so whenever possible.
- 2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for flouring your work surface
- ¾ cup vegetable shortening
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 7 tablespoons ice-cold water
Put the flour, shortening, sugar and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Paddle at the lowest speed, just until the mixture holds together, about 30 seconds. (You can use a hand mixer if you allow the shortening to soften at room temperature before beginning.) Add 6 tablespoons water, and paddle until absorbed, about 30 seconds. If the dough seems dry or fails to come together, add the last tablespoon of water.
Transfer the dough to a piece of plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 to 60 minutes.
Lightly flour your work surface, and roll out the dough to a circle about 14 inches in diameter, about ¼ inch thick. Roll it up onto the rolling pin, and transfer to a 9-inch pie pan, unspooling it over the top. Tap the pan gently on the work surface and the dough will fall into place. Put your hands at the 2 o’clock and 10 o’clock positions on the side of the pan, and rotate the pan from just under the lip to cause the excess dough to fall away. (If molded in an aluminum pie pan, the dough can be wrapped in plastic and frozen for up to 2 months. Let thaw to room temperature before filling and baking.)
Note: If you are making this in the summer, use 6 tablespoons water to account for increased humidity affecting the moisture content of the flour.
If you need to blind-bake the crust without filling, fill the crust with dry beans or rice, or set another pie pan in the well and invert the whole assemblage onto a baking tray, and bake on the center rack of an oven preheated to 350˚F until the crust is firm and golden, about 25 minutes.
How to Measure for a Pie Pan Without a Ruler
If you don’t have a ruler in the kitchen, invert your pie pan over the dough, centering it, making sure you have at least a 2-inch border of dough around the pan. (You can eyeball 2 inches much more accurately than the 14 inches mentioned in the recipe.)
How to Roll Pastry onto a Rolling Pin
Put the rolling pin at the far side of the dough and use your fingers to coil it around the pin, then simply roll it up onto the pin.
Excerpt from Baking with the Cake Boss by Buddy Valastro. Copyright © 2011 by Buddy Valastro. Used with permission by Atria Books. All rights reserved.