One of the things I keep in my cabinet at all times is shortening.  I use it to coat pans and to make pie crusts.  You could also deep fry in it, but I prefer coconut oil or regular vegetable oil for deep frying.  Coconut oil is the best deep frying oil since it does not turn over to trans fat at high temps as other oils do.  So if you like fried food use Coconut oil.  We fry once in awhile but with moderation.  So here is a very easy pie crust from scratch that you can make the next time you have a last minute craving for pie, turnovers or even chicken pot pie.

WHAT YOU WILL NEED:

  • 2 1/2 Cups Flour
  • 1 Cup Shortening
  • 1 Tsp. Baking Powder
  • 1/2 Tsp Salt
  • 1/2 Cup Cold Water
FLOUR TIP *When choosing your flour keep in mind the difference between all purpose and self rising.  Self rising flour already has baking powder and salt in it, so if you are using self rising, ditch the baking powder and salt in the recipe.  If you have all purpose, then be sure to add the baking powder and salt too.  I keep all kinds of flour in my cabinet because I also make homemade breads.*

BAKING POWDER TIP *If you do not have any baking powder you can make it with 1 tsp of baking soda and 2 tsp of cream of tartar.  If you plan to store it for any length of time, also add a tsp of corn starch to maintain the moisture level in it so it will not react during storage before you can use it.  If you are using it right away you don't need the corn starch.*

INSTRUCTIONS:
  1. Place the dry ingredients in a medium sized bowl.
  2. Measure out the cup of shortening and then spoon it into the flour in spoon sized pieces.
  3. Use a potato masher or a fork to mash the shortening into the flour until you have what looks like a bread crumb texture.
  4. Add the water and stir until you have a dough ball.  Keep an eye on it so it doesn't get too sticky.  I usually add half the water, stir and then add the rest as needed until I get the dough together in the form of a ball.
  5. Use hands to gather all the dough together and knead it a little bit until it is one uniform ball. 
  6. Break the dough in half.
  7. If using right away - spread flour on the counter and press the 'half dough ball' down and roll with a rolling pin.
  8. If storing the dough for later use - place in a zip lock bag and freeze or just place in the refrigerator if you plan to use within a few days.
CRUSTS TIP:  Once your dough ball is rolled out large enough to lay over/into your pie dish, place the rolling pin at one edge and begin to roll the crusts up with the rolling pin until you have rolled the whole crust up off the counter and it is wrapped around the pin.  Now lay your rolling pin at the edge of your pie dish and unroll the crusts onto the pie dish.  This makes it much easier to move from the counter to the dish without tearing it.  Once you've pressed it into the pie dish, use a knife to slice around the edges and cut off the excess dough.  This recipe makes two crusts which would be enough for one pie.  You may have a small amount left over after you've rolled both crusts out.  You can roll the extra dough out to cut out leaves or other shapes and add them to the top of your pie crusts for decoration or just discard.  If you have enough you could also roll it out to make a couple of turnovers and bake or deep fry them.  Sometimes I do, sometimes I don't.  It just depends on how tired I am that evening. 

I like to use this pie crust recipe for my chicken pot pies and I usually cook the chicken pot pies at 425 degrees for about 40 minutes, but the crusts cooking time depends on what you are using them in.  Just follow any recipe cooking time because this crust will cook up just like anything store bought.  It's very versatile, flaky and delicious.

For beautiful pies gently flute the edges of the crusts together all the way around and brush with an egg wash before baking.  This will help it brown a little more and will give it a nice shine, but it doesn't change the flavor any.  It tastes just as good either way.  I hope you ENJOY!!