Exact ingredient measurements aren't particularly important with pie crust, there's a lot of latitude. If you scale your flour to the nearest 1/2 oz, you're not really changing anything. But make yourself happy.
Use a pie crust recipe, not pate brisee. Pate brisee -- something I like to use for a lot of things -- is too wet and crumbly for an American style pie crust. 3,2,1 is very common but is also too wet if you use all the water. For a double crust: 3 cups flour, 1-1/2 - 2 sticks butter, 3/4 -1 cup lard, 2 tbs sugar, 1/2 tsp salt, a pinch of baking powder; and as little water as necessary. To prepare the water, mix a cup of water with 2 tbs white vinegar or the juice of half a lemon, and chill it down with a bunch of ice cubes. Don't stint on the ice, you want the liquid COLD.
"Keep it cold" is right. Keep everything cold. For that reason, I think a pastry cutter is better for most people than rubbing in with finger tips.
50/50 lard to butter is right. Or, you could do it the other way.
I go all lard, because I'm looking for max flakiness.
Cut the lard and butter into rough dice and put it in the freezer to firm up for 10 minutes before cutting in. When you do cut-in, don't break the fat down into pieces any smaller than a pea. Obviously some pieces are going to be larger than others -- larger than a pea is GOOD.
Mix the flour and fat with a fork until the pieces of fat are well coated.
In any case, you want to use an absolute minimum of liquid. That means use just enough ice water
to get about 10% of the dough to hold together in a ball -- the other 90% as crumbs is okay. You should be able to see chunks of fat sticking out of the dough.
Form as many balls as you'll need crusts. If you're using a double recipe, that means two balls. Wrap each ball and its share of crumbs in saran wrap. When you have it wrapped, press it down and form a disk. Refrigerate for at least
1/2 hour before rolling out. FYI, during the 1/2 hour rest, the moisture will equilibrate and the large dough mass will incorporate the crumbs.
If you're using a stone or plastic pin, refrigerate it while the dough rests.
Generously flour your board, keep some extra bench flour on hand. Generously flour your pin.
Unwrap the disc, and turn it out onto your board.
Before rolling, press the disc out with your pin. That is make two presses into the disc at right angles to one another forming the shape of a + . The ends of the + should run all the way across the disc. Then turn the disc over, rotate it, and do the same thing from the other side creating a new + offset by 45* from the first. The final shape should look like an X over a +.
Toss a little bench flour onto the surface of the crust.
Start rolling. Always roll from the inside out. That is, start your pin on the crust (don't roll onto an edge), and finish off of it. Don't press too hard. If you're using a simple, French pin don't expect the weight of the pin to do all or even most of the work.
Add more bench flour to the crust and the pin if you notice any sticking. Use your pie plate to measure your progress. For the bottom crust, you need enough for the bottom and side of the plate -- no more. Many people try and make their crusts thin and only end up making them tough by overworking the dough. At this point in the game, thicker is better. That won't always be true, but wait until you're confident about making a good crust before we tweak.
Rolling out will flatten the pieces of butter and lard. Big flat pieces of fat are one of several things which you must have to make a flaky crust. A lot of people confuse "tender" with "flaky." A pate brisee can be tender, but is crumbly and not flaky.
Hope this helps,
PS. Edits: Fat quantities corrected. "90%" typo corrected.Edited by boar_d_laze - 9/19/11 at 9:16am