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Author Notes: This general recipe has been in my family for at least four generations, but I'm not sure where it originally comes from. I have stumbled upon it somewhere else, which leads me to believe that it isn't entirely a family recipe, but that's as it is. It isn't fussy, doesn't need any extra special care, and you can roll it out as many times as necessary or just press it in to the pie pan in chunks (seriously, you can, even if I don't like to). As for variations, I've tried butter as the fat in a one-to-one substitution for the shortening, and it certainly works, though I liked working with it best when the butter was frozen and I grated it in. I also know that my great-grandmother used lard as the fat, but I've not tried this yet. As for flour substitutions, I've done up to a third whole wheat, and it comes out nicely. I also tried pastry flour one time when I had just run out of AP. That turned out quite wet, even though I practically nixed the water, since I could see how it was tending. I threw some whole wheat in to sop up some of the fluids, and it survived (and was still quite tasty), but I would suggest not using pastry flour as the main flour. Also, my favorite way to get it from counter to pan is to roll it out on wax paper, flip it over onto where it needs to go and peel off the paper. One more note, if you want to halve the recipe, use a whole egg still, halve the vinegar, and use a bit less than half of the water (I like 3 Tablespoons). —jamminjelly
Makes 4 crusts, minimum
- 4 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 2 cups shortening
- 1 egg, medium or large
- 1 tablespoon vinegar, any type
- 1/2 cup cold water
- Mix flour, salt and sugar in mixing bowl
- Cut in shortening until the dough is crumbly; largest bits should be no more than pea-size
- In a separate bowl, beat egg with vinegar and water
- Add the wet ingredients to the dry dough, and mix until it just comes together
- Divide the dough into four (at either this point, or after you've rolled the dough out, you can wrap and freeze it)
- Roll the dough out on a lightly floured surface and use in whatever pie recipe you want (savory, sweet, or otherwise)
- This recipe was entered in the contest for The Best Recipe or Technique Your Mother Taught You