Double Pie Crust
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup shortening
6 to 7 tablespoons cold water
1. In a bowl stir together flour and salt. Using a pastry blender, cut in shortening until pieces are the size of small peas.
2. Sprinkle 1 tablespoon of the water over part of mixture, then gently toss with a fork. Push moistened dough to side of the bowl. Repeat, using 1 tablespoon of water at a time, until all is moistened. Divide dough in half. Form each half into a ball.
3. On a lightly floured surface, use your hands to slightly flatten one ball of dough. Roll dough from center to edges, forming a 12-inch circle. Transfer pastry to a 9-inch pie plate; ease into pie plate. Add filling as directed in recipes. Trim bottom pastry even with rim of pie plate.
4. For top crust, roll remaining dough. Cut slits in top crust; place on filling. Trim pastry to 1/2 inch beyond edge of pie plate. Fold top crust under bottom pastry. Seal; flute edges. Do not prick shell. Bake as directed in recipes.
Baking Pies Like Grandma's
1. To make perfect pastry, measure accurately. Gently spoon flour into a measuring cup for dry ingredients; level off the top with the straight side of a knife. Too much flour makes pastry tough.
2. To measure shortening, use a rubber spatula to firmly press shortening into a measuring cup for dry ingredients; press out as many air bubbles as possible; level the cup off with the straight edge of a knife. Too much shortening makes pastry greasy and crumbly. Too much water turns it tough and soggy.
3. Sprinkle flour-shortening mixture with 1 tablespoon of water at a time.
For a crust that will be baked, select a glass or dull metal pan. Use shiny metal pans, which keep crusts from browning properly, only for unbaked crumb crusts.
For a perfectly fluted rim, hook the fluted edge over the side of the pan all the way around the pan, or press each flute firmly against the rim. To keep the edge from overbrowning, cover rim of crust with foil during the first part of baking.
To transfer pastry to the pie plate, loosely wrap the pastry around a rolling pin. Carefully lift the rolling pin, then unroll the pastry in the center of the plate. Or, if desired, fold the pastry in quarters, carefully lift and center it in pie plate, and unfold.
Cool cream pies 4 to 6 hours before serving. For longer storage, cover and refrigerate.
When cutting cream and meringue pies, dip your knife into water between slices.
After baking, cool the pie on a wire rack. Allowing air to circulate under the pie keeps the crust from becoming soggy.