When I was little I read a book about a really precocious little girl somewhat like myself. She wanted to win a cooking competition with a lemon cream pie. While helping at a church function, she overheard the women complementing Mrs. _____ on her exquisite crust. "The secret is a pinch of baking powder." Mrs. ________ whispered. The little girl decided that if a pinch was good, more would be better so she added quite a bit. The crust was so light and fluffy, while baking with the filling inside, the crust rose to the top of the dessert. She was crushed about her ruined pie.
Though I can't remember the book, I was so impressed by this story and so like this little girl, that I started adding just a pinch of baking powder to my very basic crusts. Anyway, it's foolproof... and the lady was right, it makes an awfully flaky pie crust. So here is the version I created as a child and still use. I hope you have as much luck with it as I have.
Pie Crust (for a double 9" crust)
2 cups flour
1 level teaspoon salt
1 pinch baking powder
3/4 cup shortening
5 tablespoons ice cold water (may need a bit more)
Preheat oven to 425. Mix flour, baking powder and salt. Cut in shorting with pastry blender till consistency of small peas. Sprinkle water 1 T at a time. Toss with a fork till you form a ball. Press between your hands to form 2 5-6 inch pancakes. If time permits, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes. If not . . . proceed. I LOVE plastic wrap and use it instead of a floured cloth. I put one sheet on the bottom and one on the top and roll out my dough. I peel one sheet off and pick up the other and position it perfectly over the pan and peel off! Viola! Prick bottom and sides if not baking filling inside to prevent shrinking. Cook till light brown (about 10-15 minutes). If filled, bake 30 minutes.