Dear Pie Crust,
I had you at wax paper. I'm not afraid of making you from scratch, and I am going to tell everyone my secret.
I am not a fan of making food directly on my kitchen countertop, because I think it's a pain to clean up afterwards. This includes kneading dough or fondant, rolling out pie crusts or cookie dough, and anything else involving getting flour or butter all over my countertop. Because as you know, flour can space warp and you will find it 5 feet away from where you were kneading, and butter is just a pain in the arse to clean off. My flaky pie crust never even touches the countertop.
My secret? Wax paper.
The pie crust recipe I use is from Joy of Cooking. I make the dough in a large bowl. I use 2 forks to mash the cold pieces of butter and vegetable shortening into the flour. When the flour and butter is evenly mixed, then I do a quick knead of the dough right inside the bowl. Here are the next steps. Shape the dough into a flat disc. Tear out 2 square pieces of wax paper. Place one sheet on the countertop, put the pie crust dough on it, and place the other sheet on top. Roll out the pie crust while it is between the wax paper to the size and thickness desired. When finished, simply tear off the top layer of wax paper, handle the pie crust with the bottom sheet of wax paper, turn it upside down over the pie baking pan (it doesn't tear!), and tear off the wax paper. Voila. Pie crust in place. If you are making double pie crusts, repeat and place second pie crust on top of filled pie. Seal the pie edge by crimping or fluting, and slot the top crust to vent. Brush on an egg wash if you like the aesthetics of it.
After the first round of baking (and before turning down the temperature for more baking), I always cover the edge of the pie with tinfoil to prevent it from burning. This is a painful process (for me). It takes 3 strips of tinfoil to cover the entire circumference of the pie. And each strip falls off about 10 times before I can get them to all stay in their places while I burn my fingertips. One of these days I am going to buy myself that circular thing that serves that purpose, even if it costs me too much money.
Here's a bonus to my pie crust secret. Do the same for cookie dough that you will use cookie cutters to cut out. Instead of shaping your cookie dough into a flat disc and waiting for hours for it to harden in the fridge (and by the time you roll that out, your wrists hurt and it's no longer chilled), roll it out between 2 sheets of waxed paper to the thickness desired, and it takes 10 minutes for the dough to harden in the fridge. If you continue baking your cookies in batches, there is no wait time between making the cookie dough and baking the cookies. Peel off top wax paper layer, cut dough, transfer to cookie sheet, gather leftover dough, roll between used wax paper, repeat process.
I love my wax paper, which allows me to love making flaky pie crusts from scratch. It leaves your countertop free of dusting-with-flour or greasing-with-butter. Plain old wax paper and nothing else! It's been a while since I've made my apple pie. I told the kids I make a mean apple pie. They are waiting to see what a mean apple pie looks like.