Here is a basic baked pastry to use with many delicious pie fillings. One of the keys to easy preparation, is to have just enough water that the dough clings as a ball, but not too much so it is sticky. Too much water can also make the pastry tough. I like to use a combination of butter and shortening, but you can use all shortening or all butter…all work well. Be sure to watch the video on the “Microwave Connect” You Tube Channel for step by step instructions.

1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup shortening
About 4 tablespoons water
1 to 2 tablespoons flour

1. Preheat regular or convection oven to 425 degrees. Combine flour and salt in mixing bowl. Cut in shortening with pastry blender or two knives until in pea-like pieces. Sprinkle with water, one tablespoon at a time, and mix lightly until mixture will form a ball. Gather dough into a ball that will cling together.

2. Use a pastry cloth or plain weave dish towel to roll pastry. First coat the surface with 1 to 2 tablespoons flour, working into weave in fabric. Roll stockinette-covered rolling pin over surface to coat lightly with flour. Place ball of dough onto floured cloth; flatten to about 1/2-inch thickness, keeping edges smooth. Roll out dough to a circle slightly larger than 9-inch pie pan, always rolling out from center to edge and keeping dough as round as possible. Transfer dough to pie pan. Form standing edge; pinch with fingers to form desired edge. Prick several times with fork.

3. Bake in preheated oven for 10 to 12 minutes or until light golden brown. Cool.

One 9-inch baked pastry shell

TIPS > Pie shell can be baked several days before filling with desired cooked filling.
> For unbaked pastry shell, omit pricking with fork and baking.
> Pastry shell keeps for several days at room temperature or can be frozen for longer storage.