Perfect Pie Crust

Perfect Pie Crust
Makes two 9-inch single crusts or one double crust

1 1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour

1 cup plus 3 tablespoons cake flour

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon sugar

1 cup butter, lard or shortening, diced into 1/2-inch squares and chilled

6-8 tablespoons ice water

1/8 teaspoon cider vinegar

Note: Using vinegar results in a lighter, flakier crust because it prevents gluten from forming in the dough.

In a medium-sized mixing bowl, sift together the dry ingredients. Using a fork or your fingertips, quickly work in the fat until the mixture is coarse and crumbly. Combine the vinegar and water. Pour the liquid into the dry ingredients and shake the bowl a few times to combine. Using your fingers, fluff the mixture up from the bottom of the bowl just until it begins to come together. Shape into a disk and wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate until ready to roll out.

For a prebaked 9-inch pie shell:
Roll out half the dough on a lightly floured surface to a 1/8-inch thickness, 12 inches in diameter.

Transfer to a pie tin, draping it evenly over the edges. Fold the edges over to create a double thickness around the edge and crimp, as desired. Prick the bottom with the tines of a fork and place in the freezer for 30 minutes. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Remove from the freezer and line the shell with parchment paper or a coffee filter and fill with dry beans or pie weights. Bake for 15 minutes. Remove the paper and weights and bake for 7 to 10 minutes more or until the crust is golden brown. Cool completely before filling.

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