Adding liquid: Be careful not to add to the dough too much water, which will create a dense crust. On the other hand, if the dough is too dry it will be difficult to roll. Only add as much (or as little) liquid as necessary to create a dough that is moist, but not wet and that holds together when gently pressed between two fingers. Test several areas of the dough before adding more liquid since one part of the dough may be a little too wet which could make up for any dry pockets.
Mixing dough: Once you add the water, the mixture should be combined rapidly, with every toss of a fork or pulse with the food processor being deliberate and focused. Overworking results in pastry that is flat, tough and chewy. If the dough should break while rolling, place a piece of waxed paper over the surface and roll over the crack once or twice to mend it.
Rolling out dough: If very chilled, allow dough to sit out of the refrigerator for 5 minutes before rolling. You can use a pastry cloth, but I prefer to roll pie pastry on a cool surface such as marble or granite, or a cool counter (not wood which is warm and requires more flour to prevent sticking). The best way to obtain the proper shape is to roll once, then turn dough 1/4 clockwise. Roll once more using firm, even pressure on the rolling pin. To keep dough an even thickness, don’t roll over the ends, but only right up to them. Keep turning dough 1/4 clockwise, rolling only once until it softens slightly and the round shape is apparent. At this point, you may roll more than once in each direction until dough is the proper size. Occasionally lift dough to prevent it from sticking and lightly flour work surface only if necessary. To thin and “round” the sides, position the center of your tapered rolling pin on the desired area and gently roll back and forth once or twice.
Baking shells: For a consistently crisp bottom crust, always partially pre-bake your pastry shell. If using a tart pan, remember to lift from the sides when removing from the oven or the pastry will pop out leaving the hot tart ring around your arm and causing the sides of the crust to fall—not to mention causing a bad burn.