Don't let the Pillsbury Doughboy tell you that pie isn't as easy as the idiom says.
He's fat and lazy.
Slurs aside, you really can make your own (far superior) pie crust in less time than it would take you to find one in the grocery store.
You no doubt have the necessary ingredients--butter, flour, salt, sugar, ice, and water--on hand.
I advise using all butter instead of a mix of butter and shortening.
(No matter what textural magic shortening is supposed to work, for me, there's no excusing its beastly taste or worrisome health stats.)
Just keep the butter very, very cold and keep your hands off the dough as much as possible.
Use them to poke Doughboy's tummy instead.
Pâte brisée (Basic pie dough)
Makes two 8- to 10-inch crusts (enough for two single-crust pies or one double-crust pie)
This is a versatile crust that can be used for sweet or savory fillings.
- 2-1/2 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 tsp. salt
- 1 tsp. sugar
- 1 cup (2 sticks) cold, unsalted butter, cut into small cubes
- 1/2 cup (or more) ice water
In a food processor, pulse the flour, salt, and sugar just to combine. Add the butter cubes, pulsing (barely!) until the mixture looks like sandy pebbles.
Drizzle in the ice water, one tablespoon by tablespoon, pulsing just enough for the dough to come together into an amorphous blob. Err on the side of under-processing, gathering it up into a ball with your hands instead of being button-happy and obliterating any hope of flakiness.
Divide your dough ball into two and turn each out onto a sheet of plastic wrap, shaping them into thick disks.
Wrap each one well in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least an hour and up to two days. Or, seal the plastic-wrapped disks into a zipper bag and freeze for up to one month. To defrost, transfer your dough to the refrigerator a day in advance.
When it's time to roll, do so on a floured work surface, creating a diameter two inches larger than your pie plate. Drape the dough round over your rolling pin in order to transfer it carefully to your plate. Gently press the dough onto the bottom and up the sides of the plate. Fold the excess under itself, then use the pads of your thumb and forefinger of one hand to pinch folds into the outside edge of the dough while you use your other hand's forefinger to press into those folds on the inner edge. (Crimping may well be the hardest part of the whole pie process--and even a Pillsbury crust will ask this of you.)
Chill the crust in refrigerator for 20 minutes before filling or par-baking.