Butter makes a wonderful crust and I used it until we got a quantity of beef suet and rendered it into tallow. Now I prefer tallow because it makes a more supple dough that can be rolled a bit thinner. The dough does not have a “beefy” flavor, in fact it has no “fatty” flavor at all. Tallow is difficult to measure- I keep it in the fridge and chop bits off with a knife - and guess-timate the amount, and even so, the crust turns out perfectly every time.
Except for the salt, use all ingredients chilled. An important thing with making pie crust is the bits of fat that result from cutting through it with a pastry blender must be coated with flour. (The best pastry blender is one that consists of wires connected to a wooden handle. Wikipedia has a pic here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pastry_blender ) Keep tossing the mixture while cutting up the fat.
Recipe makes a double crust for a 9” pie. Use half the amounts for a single crust pie.
1-3/4 cups of whole wheat flour
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/2 cup of butter or tallow
1/2 cup of icy cold water
Place the flour and the salt into a large bowl. Stir with a fork to mix the salt in thoroughly. Place half of the butter or tallow into the bowl and use a pastry blender to cut it in until the pieces of fat resemble large peas. Add the remaining butter or tallow and cut it in until the fat pieces resemble small peas.
Put aside the pastry blender. Drizzle icy cold water over the flour mixture while tossing with a fork. Keep drizzling and tossing until the dough seems to be pulling together. Grab a handful of it and squeeze. If the lump holds together it is ready to roll out. If it crumbles, keep adding water and tossing. When the dough holds together gather the whole of it into a large ball.
Divide the dough in half by breaking it apart or cutting with a knife. Ball up each half. Take one of the halves and press it with your fingers to flatten it into a disk shape. Roll the dough on a floured countertop using a dough roller (sometimes called a rolling pin) shaping it into a circle. Sprinkle the dough with flour as needed to keep the roller from sticking. Pick up the dough and redust the countertop if the dough begins to stick to it. Follow the pie instructions for baking. -jmm