Pie crust used to scare me. That finally changed when I found a heavy marble rolling pin and used butter instead of shortening. Older cooks swear by lard, so feel free to use that too.
Take time getting the butter, flour and salt to the right consistency, but once ice water is added, “the show is on,” do not over handle. This is my current favorite recipe, flaky, crisp and great for anything calling for a crust.
3 c. all-purpose flour
2 lg. pinches of Kosher salt
16 tbsp. butter (or lard), chilled and sliced
16-20 tbsp. ice water (enough until crust comes together)
Slice the butter or lard into a bowl and keep cold. Mix flour and salt, then add to butter. Begin to incorporate the flour mix with the butter (I start with an old-fashioned hand-held dough blender or sharp knifes) continue to cut the butter into smaller and smaller pieces smaller than the size of a pea, making sure to coat the butter with the flour.
At this point it works best to use your hands to smear some of the butter and flour together, but remember, your want larger pieces of butter, that’s what leads to a flaky crust later.
Now is when things get dicey. Add about 12 T. of the ice water and more until it begins to come together. This is where I shun the bowl and use the counter. Add ice water as needed, quickly using the heel of your hand to smear butter and flour together and gather it until it just comes together. (Note: if you cut it in half, you should see pieces of butter and air.)
Don’t over work, just gently gather into a ball and wrap with plastic and give it a short rest in the refrigerator or freezer. That seems to bring the pastry together. Divide in half and roll out as needed.