This is a good basic pie crust recipe from Lindsey Shere at Chez Panisse. It is flaky and has a good butter flavor. MIX THE FLOUR, SALT AND SUGAR in a bowl.
Cut the salted butter in pieces 1/3-inch thick and quickly cut them into the flour mixture until it is the texture of cornmeal. You can do this with a pastry blender, with your hands by rubbing quickly and lightly between your fingers, or in an electric mixer or food processor.
Cut in the unsalted butter and the vegetable shortening until they are in larger pieces, about 1/8- to 1/4-inch in diameter. This helps to make the dough flaky. Sprinkle in the 3 tablespoons ice water, tossing the dough lightly with a fork to moisten it evenly. Use another teaspoon of water if necessary to make the dough hold together.
Stir the dough with the fork until it has come together in small lumps and there is no dry flour left. Divide the dough in half and press it into two balls. Be careful not to knead it just squeeze it together. Kneading activates the gluten, which makes the dough tough. However, if the dough is crumbly, knead it together very briefly.
Wrap tightly in plastic and chill for at least 4 hours. During this time, the enzymes in the flour will mellow the gluten to permit the water to be absorbed completely; this conditioning will help to prevent shrinkage and toughness later.Servings: two 9-inch pie shells