Use this delicious crust with pecan, pumpkin, or apple pies – it has a delicate texture and browns nicely. Most cookbooks recommend a pastry blender for cutting shortening and/or butter into the flour mixture. Maybe because it's what Mother did – but I prefer to use my fingers to cut in the shortening. I usually remember the "proper method" and pick up a pastry blender to cut in the chunks of butter, but always go back to my fingers to make sure the mixture feels just right.
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup finely ground or sifted stone-ground cornmeal
1 tablespoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup cold shortening
1/4 cup cold butter, cut into pieces
4 to 5 tablespoons buttermilk
How to Make It
Combine first 4 ingredients in a bowl; cut in shortening and butter with a pastry blender or fingertips until mixture is about the size of small peas. Sprinkle buttermilk evenly over surface; stir with a fork just until dry ingredients are moistened. Cover and chill 1 hour, if desired. Roll pastry to 1/8-inch thickness on a lightly floured surface (about 12-inch diameter). Place in a 9-inch pie plate; fold edges under, and crimp.
Susan McEwen McIntosh, Glorious Grits – America's Favorite Comfort Food