When you're ready to take your game to the next level and make your own pie crust, here's the basics.
Essentially, all pie dough is is flour combined with a fat, a little salt for flavor, with cold water to make it all stick together. Choose the proportions above that match the pie of your choice.
In a bowl, sift together flour and salt. Using a pastry blender, cut in the shortening.
(I use Crisco - don't think you can substitute butter for this. I've tried and it doesn't work. You end up with more of a tart dough. See Apple Tart
. And Crisco is now 0 Trans Fat, and they tell us that's good.)
Work the shortening and flour mixture together until it all looks like uniform little balls. (Coarse meal is how the cookbooks describe it, but I wouldn't know "coarse meal" from Adam's off ox.)
Start adding the cold water, a Tablespoon at a time. Work it in with your hands. Once it's all hanging together, make it into a flattish disc. If you're making a double crust pie, then cut it in half and make two discs. Place the disc you're rolling out onto a floured pastry cloth (or dishtowel, or countertop if you don't mind cleaning up flour). Roll it out until it's big enough.
Lay it in the pie plate.
The Second Crust
Once the pie is filled and is ready for the top, roll out the dough and drape it over the rolling pin. Flop it across the top of the pie. Crimp the edges together with your fingers. Snip a few vents in the top crust before baking. My mom brushes the top with a mixture of beaten egg and a little water for a nice golden, shiny top. Bake it according to the instructions in your recipe.
Lattice tops are great - they make you look all advanced and fancy. Guess what? It also means you don't have to roll out a neat top crust. Cut 1/2 inch strips and weave them across the top of the pie. Bake as directed.
Baking it empty
If your filling doesn't need baking, you'll need to bake the shell by itself. Prick the bottom with a fork before baking. Bake at 425°F for 18-20 minutes or until golden brown.