Staff of life When most people hear the word pastry, they think of a sweet dessert. Here, I will refer to the dough, and the methods of working it, rather than the finished product. One can then use the dough in a multitude of recipes, not all of which involve dessert.
Table of Pastries

Large Double-crust Pie Shell

This shell will fit an 11½ to 12-inch pie plate. You can scale it down, if necessary.

Thoroughly combine the flour and salt in a large bowl. Cut in the lard, with a fork or pastry cutter, until crumbly. Add the water very gradually, tossing with a fork or (preferably) your fingers, until the dough forms a ball. This is the tricky part. Pie shells are incredibly sensitive to water. Even the relative humidity in the kitchen will make a difference. If your kitchen is hot, you might want to chill the dough for a few minutes at this point.

Divide the dough into two parts, one slightly larger than the other. Roll the larger part on a floured board, with a floured rolling pin, to fit the pie plate. Did I mention flouring the board and pin? If you don't, the dough will stick, and you'll have a mess rather than a pie crust. To transfer the crust to the plate, some people roll it on the pin and unroll it to the plate. I tend to fold the dough into quarters and unfold it in the plate. Yes, it's legal to tear off some excess to patch any tears. Let the remaining excess overhang for now, you'll take care of it later.

Pour your filling of choice into the lower crust. Roll out the second part of the dough, cut slits in it, and fit it to the filled lower crust. This is where the folding method of transfer comes in handy. You can cut a couple of slashes into the folds, and you have a cute design when you unfold the top crust. Pinch the edges to seal and flute, and trim the excess. Bake according to the recipe directions.

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