Although Elaine rarely bakes pies one at a time, this is her pastry recipe for the basic 9-inch double-crust pie. The recipe traces all the necessary steps for making a pie crust to be proud of it can be used as is for all the double-crust pies in this segment or divided to use for a single-crust pie.
Blend the flour and salt in a large mixing bowl. Then, using a pastry blender, cut in the shortening until dough forms small pea-sized and still crumbly lumps (this usually takes about 60 quick strokes). Then spoon a hole in the center of the flour-shortening mixture and add ⅓ cup water. With the spoon, fold in the water, adding more if needed, until the dough forms a ball that just holds together when squeezed.
Next, roll out the bottom crust. Lightly flour the board and rolling pin, then spoon out about half the dough, fashioning it into a rounded cake. Next, working from the center, roll out a round crust as thin as possible about ⅛ inch. (Remember always to work from the center, never back and forth.) When dough is roiled out, carefully drape it in the bottom of the pie plate, pressing it in lightly and trimming off any excess.
When the pie is filled, roll out the second crust in the same manner. When rolled out, spread the crust with a little milk and additional Crisco, and sprinkle it with flour. Cut small vents as needed; then fold crust over and transfer to filled pie. Open up and spread out over the filling evenly, crimping the top and bottom crust edges together. Bake according to pie recipe. When making single-crust shells to be baked and then filled later, prick bottom and sides with a fork before baking.