Following your piecrust recipe, use a pastry blender to cut the shortening into the flour mixture. Work just until the pieces are the size of small peas.
- Sprinkle ice-cold water, one tablespoon at a time, over part of 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 all the flour is moistened, use your hands to gently press and form the dough into a ball.
- Flour the rolling surface just enough to keep the dough from sticking.
- Use your hands to slightly flatten the ball of dough.
- Roll slightly flattened dough with a floured rolling pin from the center out to the edges, all of the way around the circle.
- Use light, even strokes to form a 12-inch circle with an even thickness. If dough sticks to your rolling pin or work surface, sprinkle it with additional flour.
For easy transfer to the pie plate, wrap the pastry circle around the rolling pin.
- Holding the rolling pin over a 9-inch pie plate, unroll the pastry. Start at one side rather than in the middle.
- Center the pastry so an equal amount is hanging over all sides.
- Gently ease the pastry into the pie plate without stretching it. Stretching pastry causes it to shrink while baking.
- Lightly press the pastry over the bottom and sides of the pie plate.
Use kitchen scissors to trim the excess dough to 1/2 inch beyond the edge of the pie plate.
- To build up the edge of the pie shell, fold the extra 1/2 inch of pastry under itself so it is even with the rim of the plate. Try to keep this edge as even as possible.
- Press dough lightly together.
To create a pretty fluted edge, place a finger against the inside edge of the pastry. Using the thumb and index finger of the other hand, press the pastry around the finger. Continue around the complete circumference of the pie.
If you're baking pastry without a filling, prick the bottom and sides all over with a fork. This will prevent the pastry from shrinking while it bakes.
Next, line the pastry shell with a double layer of regular foil or a single layer of heavy-duty foil. The foil prevents the crust from shrinking or losing its shape while it bakes.