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Ethel's Easy Pie Crust

Time-tested pastry crust--perfect for sweet and savory fillings. Flaky, browns nicely, easy to roll and use. 15 minute prep + chilling (in fridge for at least 2 hours, up to 5 days)
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Prep Time 15 minutes


  • 4 cups plain flour
  • 1.75 cups vegetable shortening
  • 0.5 cup cold water
  • 1 tbls. sugar
  • 1 tbls. white vinegar
  • 2 tsp. fine salt (table or fine sea salt)
  • 1 egg


  • In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with flat beater (paddle) attachment, add the flour, salt and sugar.
  • Stir dry ingredients briefly to combine.
  • Add the shortening and pulse carefully to avoid a flour cloud. Beat shortening + flour mixture until crumb stage. It's okay to have some chunks of shortening left.
  • In a separate bowl, beat the egg and add the water and vinegar.
  • Add wet mixture to flour/shortening crumb mixture and beat until all wet ingredients are fully incorporated. A loose dough will begin to form.
  • Dough will be slightly crumbly at this point but pour out onto a pastry mat (or your work surface).
  • Using the palms of your hands, work the dough until a smooth ball forms. This takes between 3-5 minutes but do not overwork. You just need to work it until a smooth dough comes together (some cracks are okay).
  • Wrap dough ball in plastic wrap and place in ziploc bag (or in large covered glass bowl) and let chill in refrigerator for at least 2 hours or up to 5 days until needed.


Dough is fairly non-stick on most work surfaces and rolling pins. Surfaces shouldn't need flouring.
 Make sure shortening, water and egg are added while cold and try to keep the dough chilled as much as possible while using. Shortening should be kept in the fridge or chilled prior to using.
 This recipe makes a standard double crust pie or 2 single crust pies. Makes approximately 24 muffin sized tarts.
 Cooking time will depend upon use and filling. For muffin sized tarts, pie crust needs 20-22 minutes on 400 F. For blind baking a large/standard single crust pie (for meringue or other type fillings), pastry will need approximately the same time.
 For double crust pies, timing will depend upon filling and oven temperature preference. For example, a traditional apple pie may require 50 minutes on 375 F.