This easy-to-make dough produces a dandy, softly crisp crust similar to a cracker. Oil is used instead of shortening, making it a good choice for a low-fat, low-cholesterol diet.
1 cup flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon sugar
4 to 5 tablespoons oil (peanut, corn, or other vegetable, in that order of preference)
1 tablespoon milk
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees if you are baking the pie shell.
Combine the flour, salt, and sugar in a bowl and stir with a fork to mix. Stir together 3 tablespoons of the oil and milk, sprinkle them evenly over the flour mixture, and stir again. Add another tablespoon of oil, still stirring. Gently pat the dough into a ball, and if it holds together and feels moist (it will have a rather translucent, oily look to it), it is ready to roll out. If it crumbles rather than forms a ball, stir in the remaining tablespoon of oil.
Place a sheet of wax paper approximately 16 inches long on your rolling surface. Pat the dough into a cake about 5 inches in diameter, place it on the wax paper, and place another sheet of wax paper on top.
Roll the dough out between the sheets of wax paper to a circle about 1/8-inch thick and at least 2 inches larger in diameter than your pie pan. Gently peel off the top sheet of wax paper.
Invert the dough over the pie plate and gently ease it into the pan, peeling away the paper as you go. This dough breaks easily, so patch or piece wherever necessary. Trim the edges and make a decorative design with the tines of a fork.
The pie shell may now be filled and baked, or left unfilled and may be partially or fully baked.
To bake the unfilled pie shell; prick the dough with a fork all over at 1/2-inch intervals, and press a 12-inch square of heavy-duty foil firmly into the pie shell. Bake for 6 minutes. Remove the foil and continue baking for another 4 minutes for a partially baked shell.
For a fully baked shell, bake an additional 8 to 10 minutes after removing the foil, or until the crust seems dry, crisp, and lightly browned. If the dough swells during baking, press it down gently with a fork.
Makes one 8-inch pie shell