For novice bakers, a light, flaky pie crust can seem like an elusive grail, but following a few simple principles can make that goal a whole lot easier to achieve. Foremost among those is keeping the ingredients cold. Doing so not only makes the dough easier to handle; it helps ensure a toothsome crust. Of prime importance is the use of cold, hardened butter because it disperses into the flour more evenly, promoting the creation of tiny pockets of steam during baking, which, in turn, create layers in the crust. It's not enough to start with chilled butter, though; you have to keep it cold as you work the dough. Using ice-cold water and working quickly on a cool marble work surface help accomplish this; so does chilling the dough once it's made (this also has the advantage of relaxing the gluten that makes a dough tough). Below are our instructions for a flaky pie crust.