What I'm after: The kind of crust that's substantial enough that it doesn't sog-out from a juicy filling but tender enough that it flakes in your mouth into buttery shards. A crust with substance, but not chew. A crust that divides along deep faults into many distinct layers separated by tiny air spaces and that cracks when bent. A crust that is never leathery or pliant, but not so tender or crisp that it crumbles instead of flakes. And of course, it should have a deep butteriness coupled with a balanced sweet and salty flavor.
Easier said that done, right? For many people, making pie crust is a crap shoot. Sometimes it comes out perfectly flaky, other times tough. Sometimes you need just a couple tablespoons of water, sometimes a full 1/2 cup. What gives?
Turns out that the science of pie crust is really not all that complex, and once you get a grasp of what's really going on in between those flaky layers, then making a perfect crust becomes a matter of smarts, not luck.