Making pie crust from scratch can discourage even the most confident home baker. A dough needs whole flecks of butter incorporated throughout it to achieve flakiness, so temperature makes all the difference—if the dough is too cold, it's impossible to roll; too warm and the butter melts, causing the whole thing to fall apart. In a recipe shared by Martha Stewart Living, the home baking master herself lays out how to get it just right.
Start by combining 2.5 cups of all-purpose flour and 1 teaspoon each of salt and sugar into a bowl. Next, take two sticks of chilled, unsalted butter and cut them into the mixture using a pastry blender. Once you've mixed your ingredients into a coarse meal, it's time to work the dough by hand.
Before getting your hands greasy, set aside a bowl of ice water and add 4 tablespoons of it to the mixture—this will keep the dough from becoming too warm as you handle it. Work the dough until it starts to come together, adding a tablespoon of ice water (up to 4 additional tablespoons) whenever it starts to crumble apart.
When your dough finally looks like dough, divide it into two parts, wrap them separately in plastic wrap, and refrigerate them for at least an hour. Once they've been sufficiently chilled, roll each portion into a 14-inch circle, and using your rolling pin, carefully them to 9-inch pie pans. With your hands and a pair of kitchen scissors, shape and trim the pie dough so it fits the vessels neatly.
You can load your pie crusts with filling and start baking right away, or cover them with plastic wrap and pop in them in the freezer so they'll be ready for the holidays. Your future self will be grateful.
[h/t Martha Stewart]