Foolproof pie dough
2 1/2 cups (12.5 ounces) unbleached all-purpose flour, divided
1 teaspoon table salt
2 tablespoons sugar
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12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/4-inch slices
1/2 cup cold vegetable shortening or good-quality lard, cut into 4 pieces
1/4 cup cold vodka
1/4 cup cold water
Makes 2 (9-inch) pie crusts.
Place 1-1/2 cups flour, salt and sugar in a food processor and process until combined, about 2 short pulses. Add butter and shortening or lard and process until it forms a dough in uneven clumps, about 15 seconds. (There should be no uncoated flour.)
Scrape bowl with rubber spatula to distribute dough around the blade. Add remaining 1 cup flour and pulse just until the mass of dough has been broken up.
Empty flour mixture into work bowl. Sprinkle water and vodka over the mixture. Use a rubber spatula to mix it, using a folding motion, pressing down on the dough until it's slightly tacky and sticks together.
Divide dough into two sections and shape into 4-inch flattened discs.
Wrap in plastic wrap or wax paper and refrigerate at least 45 minutes and up to 2 days.
Roll out on floured work surface with floured rolling pin, lifting and turning after several passes with rolling pin until it's as big as needed for pie recipe.