Recipe for a plain pastry shell. Produces 2 pie shells, or 1 medium sized two-crust pie.
Sift flour and salt together. Cut shortening into flour and salt with two knives, or a pastry blender, until mixture is in the form of a very coarse meal. Add cold water gradually, mixing only enough to hold mixture together. Chill dough for 5 to 10 minutes and turn out on lightly floured board. Roll with a light quick motion to 1/8th inch thickness. Press dough lightly into pie plate so that no air bubbles are trapped, and trim off edge.
For a pie shell, prick the entire surface with a fork and put back in hot oven (450°F) for 12 minutes. If filling is to be baked in shell, or pastry is to be used for a two-crust pie, do not prick dough with a fork. After lining pie plate, add the filling mixture and for a two-crust pie, moisten edge of lower shell with water. Roll out dough for upper crust and make a few small slashes in center to allow for escape of steam. Fit over the top of the pie and press edges together. Trim off excess dough and pinch edges firmly together to seal in any juices. Bake in hot oven (450°F) for first ten minutes, then reduce temperature to moderate (375°F) to finish cooking the filling.