Doug Bush's Pie Crust 101

This is a recipe I got from my friend, Doug Bush, organ chair at Brigham Young University and amateur pie baker. This recipe will cradle and cover 1 9" pie. For a larger, deep-dish pie, I increase the recipe by 1½ to 1 cup more flour and the other ingredients correspondingly. The techniques are largely his, though over the years, I've gone my own way on some things.

2 cups all-purpose flour
¾ cup shortening, cold
pinch salt
7-9 tbsp ice water

1. Mix salt into flour in a bowl and then cut shortening in until pea-sized lumps form.

2. Spread out one sheet of wax paper. Set aside a second sheet.

3. Stir in water taking care to mix as little as possible—just enough to incorporate the water. The more mixing the less desirable the crust will be.

4. Turn half of the dough out onto wax paper, gather into pile in center and cover with other sheet of wax paper.

5. Roll dough out between sheets of wax paper to make a circle of adequate size. Typically, this will be about ½" on either side of (wider than) the wax paper. Take care to shepherd the dough around to keep it uniform.

6. Carefully remove the top sheet of paper using a table knife to unstick any bits that cling to it. Turn remaining sheet of paper over on the pie tin, centered, and carefully remove the wax paper from the dough again using the knife. Lift the edges of the dough up and down into the tin rather than forcing it in and risking breaking it.

7. If open-face pie, fashion the pie edges now. Otherwise, fill the shell and then repeat steps 4-6 for the top crust. Depending on style of crust edge, lift bottom crust edge and turn dough from top crust under it, then style it using the index finger of left hand between two fingers of right to pull up and push down alternative segments of the ring while moving around the pie.

Pies are typically baked at high temperatures like bread (400°+). Pie crusts for cream pies like coconut, banana and chocolate are baked first and filled later. Lemon meringue is done this way too and there are tricks to browning the meringue afterwards in the oven without sweating a puddle of water between the filling and meringue, but the only sure-fire method I have found is to cool the whole pie first, then add the meringue and fire using a torch just as for Baked Alaska.