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Recipe by: Chef John V., A Good Cooking Recipe!
Serving size: 4-9" shells
Preparation time: about 50 minutes
4 1/2 cups all purpose flour-- sifted
1 tablespoon sugar
2 teaspoons salt
1/2 cup cold water
4 sticks butter or margarine (softened)
Sift the flour, sugar and salt into a large bowl. Add the softened butter to the flour mixture, and mix it until a coarse meal-like mixture is formed. The mixture should be lumpy , about the size of dried beans. Add the
water and mix until a dough comes together. Gather the dough into a ball, wrap in plastic wrap and chill for about 30 minutes before using. It's best to divide the dough into 4 parts (1 pie shell each or one top), wrap tightly and refrigerate or freeze until ready for use.
To make a shell: Take one portion of dough and place it on a floured surface. Work it with your hand until it is softened a pliable. Sprinkle with flour and roll to fit a 9" pie pan, always roll a little larger than 9" as to allow for the sides. Fold in half, gently lift into the pan, and with your fingers fit it to the pan without stretching it. Trim the edges, leaving a little extra dough on the edge for fluting. Fluting is pinching the edge crust in a decorative manner or pinching a second crust together. i.e. placing a top crust on a pie and joining the edges.
For a par-baked shell: Prick the bottom of the shell with a fork and bake for 12-15 minutes in a preheated 425 degree oven, or till golden. You may also bake the shell for ten minutes to help prevent a soggy bottom in a juicy pie. Cool slightly before adding the filling.
Note: If you can find pasty flour, I recommend using half pastry flour and half all purpose. Due to different humidity levels you may need to increase or decrease the water by a tablespoon or so.