Decide what type of piecrust you wish to make (see our how-to guides below). Once you've chosen your recipe, follow these steps for success:
- Use a pastry blender to cut shortening into the flour mixture. Work the mixture until the pieces are the size of small peas.
- Sprinkle ice-cold water, 1 tablespoon at a time, over the flour mixture. Toss gently with a fork. Push to one side of the bowl.
- Repeat until all of the flour mixture is evenly moistened. After the flour is moistened, use your hands to gently press and form the dough into a ball.
- Use a floured rolling pin to roll out dough, from center to edge, on a floured surface. Using light, even strokes with the rolling pin, form a 12-inch circle with an even thickness.
- Wrap the piecrust around the rolling pin to transfer to the pie plate.
- Holding the rolling pin over the pie plate, unroll the piecrust starting at one side of the pie plate.
- Ease the piecrust into the pie plate without stretching it.
- Lightly press the piecrust into the bottom and side of the pie plate.
- Use kitchen scissors or a small knife to trim the excess dough to 1/2 inch beyond the edge of the pie plate.
- Build up the edge of the pie shell by folding the extra 1/2 inch of pastry under so it is even with the rim of the pie plate.
- To crimp the edge (give it a fluted shape), place a finger against the inside edge of the piecrust. Use the thumb and index finger of your other hand to press the piecrust around your finger. Continue around the full circumference of the pie plate.
Combine the filling ingredients of your desired pie recipe as directed. Pour filling into the unbaked pastry shell. Some recipes require you to bake the pastry shell before filling it. If that is the case, follow the instructions closely.
Preheat your oven so the pie bakes evenly. To prevent overbrowning, cover the edge of the pie with foil. Loosely mold the foil over the pie's edge.
Carefully transfer pie to oven, being careful not to spill liquid filling over the edge of the crust if it is a single-crust pie. Bake as directed by recipe (typically between 350 degrees F and 375 degrees F). Remove foil and bake for 20 to 25 minutes more or as directed by recipe.
Cream and custard pies are done when a knife inserted near the center comes out clean.
Fruit pies are done when the filling is bubbly and the top crust is golden brown.
Cool pie on a wire rack. Some pies -- such as custard and cream pies -- need to be stored in the refrigerator. Other pie recipes are best served warm. For this reason, follow the recipe directions carefully.
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