Shortcut pastry mixes are in pretty much every old cookbook I've found, including rationing cookbooks, so that's telling you how convenient mixes like this are to have around.
So, here's a recipe I've run into a lot over the years (originally the following recipe, I found was printed in a vegetable shortening ad) and makes a consistently good pie crust. It makes a flaky pie crust, but it is still tender enough to be good. And it's so darned easy to make a pie crust from this mix that you'll make pie more often, I promise.
Shortcrust Pastry Pantry Mix
- 7 Cups all purpose flour
- 1 tbs. sugar
- 1 tbs. salt
- 1 can vegetable shortening (1 lb or 16 oz)
Put all the dry ingredients in your food processor, along with 1/2 the shortening. Pulse until the mixture is the consistency of cornmeal (about 3 ten second pulses did it for me). Add the other 1/2 of the shortening and pulse until the size of green peas is formed (two or three pulses should do it). Store in a tightly closed (preferably air tight) container in a cooler part of your kitchen.
Note: You can also do this by hand by taking a pastry blender, a fork, or two knives and cutting the shortening into the flour, but it takes a lot longer and I'm supremely lazy when it comes to cutting in fat, I'll admit it.
To make pastry for a double crust pie: Measure 3 cups of mix into a medium sized mixing bowl along with 5 tbs. ice water. Use a fork to combine until a dough is formed. Split dough in half and then turn out onto a floured surface and roll dough out as needed.
To Make pastry for a single crust pie: Use 1 1/2 cups mix with 2 1/2 tbs. ice water. Follow other directions above as stated.
Makes 7, ten to eleven inch pastry rounds.