In a large bowl, combine flour, salt and sugar, if using. Cut in shortening with a pastry blender or fork until it resembles coarse meal. Add cold water, stir to combine. With floured hands, divide dough in half and shape into 2 disks. (Use right away or wrap in plastic and refrigerate or freeze until ready to use.)
On a well floured surface, roll out one dough disk to fit the bottom and up the sides of your pie plate. Fold dough in half and then into a quarter to make it easier to transfer dough to the pie plate. Unfold and arrange to fit plate. Take a fork and pierce holes in the bottom and sides to prevent bubbling. Fill with desired filling.
Roll out second disk to cover the top. Cut away excess dough, seal and flute edges. Cut slits on top to allow steam to escape. Bake according to recipe directions.
Cook’s Note: Top crust can also be cut into strips to make a lattice top.