Better yet, make two and store one in the freezer, for a quick pie, or mini tarts. I never used to make pie and as a matter of fact I had been married over 25 years before I made my first one, and now they beg.
I have tried many combinations of different fats for the best crust, and I find an all butter or all lard crust too soft, and an all tallow crust too firm. This recipe is what works best for me.
3 cups organic white flour (yes, organic makes a huge difference, as conventional wheat is sprayed with huge amounts of herbicides, and the glyphosate is absorbed in to the wheat. Glyphosate is actually patented as an antibiotic, which is what is causing so much intestinal distress in people and animals.)
one teaspoon real salt
two teaspoons organic sugar
1/2 cup (one stick) unsalted Kerrygold butter
1/2 cup beef or lamb tallow
big spoonful of lard (do not ever use hydrogenated lard or shortening)
two teaspoons apple cider vinegar (adding vinegar helps prevent gluten from forming and will make the crust flakier. Vodka does the same thing, but why waste that in pie crust?)
2/3 cup ice cold water
If you don’t have a food processor, just get one. Of course you can also do this by hand.
Put the flour, salt and sugar in the processor and pulse until it is mixed well.
Cut the cold butter into cubes and add to the processor. Pulse the machine until the butter is in tiny pieces, incorporated with the flour.
Tallow, rendered properly, will be odorless and very mild, and makes for a firm flaky crust. If you don’t have tallow, you can substitute for 1/2 cup lard, or another 1/2 cup (one stick) of butter. Tallow is very hard so I jam a sharp knife in the jar to break it up a bit.
Add tallow to the processor and pulse until it is in tiny pieces like the butter.
Lard from an American Guinea Hog is quite soft, but makes the texture of the pie wonderful, so I add a big spoonful if I have it.
Pulse the machine until it is well incorporated.
The flour/fat mixture will press together in your fingers. This is why it is so much easier in a food processor, and the heat from your hands is not going to make the crust tough.
Add the two teaspoons of apple cider vinegar, and about 2/3 cup of ice cold water.
Slowly pour the liquid down the spout while you pulse the machine. Don’t overwork the dough.
You will have to stop the machine from time to time and scrape the sides with a spatula to incorporate everything. Dump dough out on floured pastry mat.
Gently and quickly press the dough into a rough ball.
Cut in half, press into a flat, round disk, and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes. If you are making a pie, like pumpkin, which only has a bottom crust, you can freeze the other disk of dough for a pie another time. It takes about 30 minutes to thaw before you can roll it out.
After the dough has chilled, roll it out as thin as you can.
Leave about a 1/2 inch or more overhang, and trim off the excess dough.
Save the trimmings to keep in a ziplock bag (suck all the air out) in the refrigerator (or freezer), to roll out for quick little tarts or tiny pies.
Tuck the edge under.
Pinch your thumb and finger of your left hand together on the outside of the dough and press the dough with the knuckle of your right hand, to make pretty indentations in the edge.
Put the pie shells back in the refrigerator or freezer for at least 15 minutes before you fill them with filling. This will help the bottom crust not get soggy.
Bake pie at 350 for 25 to 30 minutes, give or take.