Basic Pie Crust

2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup cold water
2/3 cup solid vegetables shortening

Stir the flour and salt together in a bowl. Take out 1/3 cup of the flour mixture and mix with the cold water to make a paste. Set this aside. With a fork, cut the vegetable shortening into the remaining flour mixture until the texture is pebbly. Add the paste to the flour and shortening mixture, and mix until it can be shaped into a ball. Divide into 2 parts.

Lightly flour your rolling surface, such as a clean counter top of large wooden board) and your rolling pin. Roll one portion of the pie dough at a time. Roll from the center out, lifting the roller at the end of the dough, rather than rolling back and fo rth. Roll to a 1/8-inch thickness.

Have an 8- or 9-inch pie pan ready. The rolled dough circle should be at least 2 inches longer than your pie pan. Loosen the pastry from the rolling surface, fold it in half, lift it, and lay it in the center of the pie pan. Unfold the pastry, gently work it into the pie pan, and press lightly. Trim the excess dough with a knife. You can make a design around the edge of the pan using your fingers or a fork.

To pre-bake a pie shell, preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Prick the dough along the edges and on the bottom with a fork. Line with a sheet of foil and weight the dough down with dried beans, half-filling the shell. Bake for 7 minutes. Remove the foil and dried beans and continue baking for 3 to 5 minutes. You may freeze the remaining dough.

Graham Cracker Crust

8-10 graham crackers, 4 sections per cracker
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup margarine, melted

Place the graham crackers in a plastic bag and use a rolling pin to make crumbs. There should be about 1 2/3 cups of crumbs. Pour the crumbs into a bowl, add the sugar and melted margarine, and stir well with a fork.

Pour the mix into a 9-inch pie plate and, using the back of a large spoon, press the mixture into the bottom and sides of the pie plate.

To pre-bake the crust, preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Bake for 8 minutes, then allow the crust to cool before filling it. If using an unbaked pie shell, refrigerate the crust for 30 minutes before filling it.


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