Basic Pie Pastry

2 cups flour
½ teaspoon salt
⅔ cups shortening
⅓ cup cold water, approximately

1. If using a food processor, put the flour, salt and shortening into the con­tainer. Start processing while pouring the water through the funnel. Add only enough water so that the dough holds to­gether and can be shaped into a ball.
2. If using a pastry blender or 2 knives, chop in the shortening until the mixture resembles coarse cornmeal. Sprinkle water slowly over the top of the flour, while toss­ing the mixture up from the bottom of the bowl with a fork. After about three quar­ters of the water has been added, press the dampened part of the dough into a ball and set aside. Add only enough water to dampen the remaining flour mixture. Press all the dough together.
3. Divide the dough into 2 portions, one slightly larger than the other. If the kitchen is hot, chill the dough for ½ hour before rolling.
4. Place the larger ball of dough on a lightly floured pastry cloth or board, pat in all directions with a floured rolling pin and then roll from the center out in all directions, loosening the pastry and re-flouring the cloth and rolling pin as nec­essary. Roll into a round ⅛ inch thick and 2 inches larger in diameter than the top of the pie plate.
5. Fold gently into quarters, place in the plate and unfold. Fit the dough into the plate loosely and press against the plate without stretching it. Trim the edge slightly larger than the outside rim of the plate. Add desired filling.
6. Stack the pastry trimmings on the re­maining ball of dough and roll until about 1 inch larger than the top of the plate. Fold gently into quarters and cut several small gashes to allow steam to escape.
7. Moisten the rim of the lower crust, place top crust on the filled plate and un­fold. Do not stretch the pastry. Tuck the rim of the top beneath the edge of the undercrust and flute with the fingers, mak­ing a tight seal.
8. Bake as directed for the filling used.

Yield: Pastry for 9-inch double-crust pie, or 6 tarts

Variations

Baked Pie Shell
Line pie plate with pastry for bottom crust and prick well with a fork around bottom and sides. Bake in preheated 450ºF oven 12 to 15 minutes, or until golden. Cool be­fore adding desired filling.

Lattice-Top Pie Crust
Roll dough for top crust into a circle and cut into ½-inch strips. Moisten the rim of the bottom crust with water and place half of the strips parallel on the filled pie shell, spacing evenly. Repeat with remaining strips in opposite direction. Attach strips firmly to rim.

Tart Shells
Cut pastry into 5-inch rounds and fit over inverted muffin tins or custard cups; or line tart shells, fitting pastry loosely into pans and pressing it firmly around the sides. Prick well with a fork and bake in a preheated 450ºF oven 10 to 15 minutes, or until golden brown.

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