In a bowl combine the flour and salt. Add the butter or shortening and work it through with your hands until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs.
Using the tines of a fork, stir in the water 1 tablespoon at a time and work it in with your hands just until you have a smooth ball of dough. (Don’t overhandle the dough.) Wrap in plastic and refrigerate for 20 minutes.
Remove the dough from the refrigerator, and place on a floured surface. If you’re making 2 crusts, cut the dough in half and put the second half back in the refrigerator.
For each crust, roll out the dough on a floured surface into a circle about 14 inches in diameter and 1/8 inch thick. Gently fold the circle of dough in half and then in half again so that you can lift it without tearing it, and unfold it into a 9-inch pie pan. Crimp the edges, or pinch in a decorative border. Fill and bake as directed in the recipe.
Yield: two 9-inch crusts
Note: For a baked pie crust, preheat the oven to 425ºF. Prick the bottom of the pie all over with a fork, and bake for 18 to 20 minutes, or until lightly browned. Remove, cool thoroughly, and then fill as directed in the recipe.