Classic Pastry Dough

(for a single crust shell)

This classic pastry dough works well for both savory and sweet pies.

1 ¼ c. all-purpose flour
¼ t. salt
¾ stick (6 T.) cold, unsalted butter, cut into ½ cubes
2 T. cold vegetable shortening, preferably trans-fat-free
3 to 4 T. ice water

Sift together flour and salt in a large bowl.  Blend in butter and shortening with your fingertips or pastry blender (or pulse in a food processor) until most of mixture resembles coarse meal with some pea-size butter lumps.  Drizzle evenly with 3 T. ice water and gently stir with a fork or pulse in processor until incorporated.

Squeeze a small handful; if it doesn’t hold tighter, add more ice water, ½ T. at a time, stirring (or pulsing) until just incorporated, then test again.  Do not overwork, or pastry will be tough.

Turn out mixture onto a lightly floured surface and divide into 4 portions.  With heel of your hand, smear each portion once or twice in a forward motion to help distribute fat.  Gather dough together with scraper and press into a ball. Then flatten into a 5″ disk.  Chill dough, wrapped tightly in plastic wrap, until firm at least 1 hour.

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