- First off, cold is key. Cold butter, cold shortening, cold water. Now, I have heard Martha Stewart goes to the lengths of even chilling her flour. I haven't gone that far, but hey the colder the better right? The reason being? Cold keeps the butter and shortening from melting. Wait, don't you want them to melt? Yes. Just not in your hands as your mixing the dough. You want them melting in the oven creating pockets of steam that then creates flaky layers.
- If you find as your are rolling out your dough to be getting sticky, take a break and chill your dough again. After your rolled out and placed it in your pie pan, chill it again. Getting the hint? Cold. Is. Key! Secondly, shortening creates flakiness. Butter imparts flavor. If shortening gives you the heeby jeebies, you can use all butter in your dough. I simply recommend making it by hand if you do. You are less likely to overdo it by hand then in your food processor and therefore still getting the flakiness one desires. I've made this pie dough before and had great results.
- This pie dough however I decided to use shortening and my food processor. I had quite the list of pies to make for Thanksgiving and I knew the food processor was speed things along. If you do use your food processor, just be very carefully to NOT OVERDO IT. Less is more people. Less is more. If you are not sure, then STOP. You can always bring it all together with your hands before letting it chill and relax in your refrigerator.
Adapted from Cook's Illustrated