Makes two crusts
2.5 cups/12 oz. all-purpose flour
1 c water+ 1/4 cup cider vinegar (add ice cubes to make it colder, but don’t get them into the dough)
1 T sugar
1 t salt
1/2 # unsalted butter cut into 1/2” pieces
Making the dough:
Put all dry ingredients plus butter into a bowl and work with a pastry cutter until the butter is in pea-sized pieces, inspecting with your hands to make sure there are no large clumps. (if it’s warm outside or things are getting soft, refrigerate it at this point to harden the butter back up.) This first part can be done in a food processor, but the next part has to be done by hand. Add a little water at a time, working the dough with your hands until it looks “shaggy.” Some parts will get there sooner than others, so push the finished dough aside as you go. Flick drops of water in at the very end to keep the dough from getting too wet.
Then shape it into a big cylinder and cut it in half. Form each piece into a disc. Wrap in plastic wrap and chill for at least an hour before rolling.
Rolling out the dough:
Lightly flour the working surface and roll out your dough. Roll in one direction only, back and forth, not side to side, turning and flipping dough as needed. It should be about 1” bigger than the pie plate. Check the thickness with your fingers, adjusting if you have thin or thick spots. Brush off flour with a pastry brush and slip it into the pie plate. Gently press, without stretching, the crust into the corner and sides of the dish.
Trim off raggedy bits, then fold up the excess so that it stands vertically on the rim of the dish.
Then crimp, using three fingers.
Premade pie crust (either stored in a disc or rolled out into a pie plate keeps for 1 day in the fridge and for up to 3 weeks in the freezer.
Blind baking or proofing (same thing): Roll out crust into pie plate, then freeze for 1 hour minimum. Line with foil, getting the foil all the way around the edge of the crust. Fill all the way up to the rim with rice/beans/whatever (you can keep reusing them until they start to smell) and bake at 375F for 30-45 minutes, checking at 30 minutes. The crust should be completely cooked and brownish.
Edit: My mom used this set of instructions and had issues with her crust sliding down to the bottom of the pie plate. Here’s some expert advice on how to avoid that from Rachel Coyle, of Coyle’s Bakeshop.
Pie crust advice: Allison Woods, I love this question. There are a few things: 1) Make sure the rolled crust is rested and chilled before you try and pre-bake. I like to freeze it through for at least an hour. 2) When you pre-bake, line the crust with parchment or foil and then fill up to the top with your pie weights/rice/beans. This will help keep the sides from falling. 3) Don’t take the pie weights out until the crust looks like it’s dry on the bottom. Your crust really won’t overbake during the second bake (with filling), especially on the bottom, so you can and should bake it basically all the way through on the pre-bake. Hope that helps!