Pancake mixes can be divided into two broad categories -- the original style, which contains only the dry ingredients, and the complete mix, which contains everything but the liquid. The ingredients for a basic pie shell are very similar to those used in a dry pancake mix, so all you need to do to make a pie shell with it is to add shortening and water.
Stick With Dry
Complete pancake mixes generally contain ingredients not typically called for in pie crusts, like sugar, baking soda, nonfat dry milk, corn syrup solids and soybean oil. The corn syrup solids and soybean oil are activated once liquid is added to the mix, and they may produce a thin, oilier dough that doesn't hold together as well during shaping and rolling. For making pie crust, be sure to use the original type of pancake mix, which doesn't contain any leavening agents such as baking powder or baking soda.
For your pie crust, use the same proportions of pancake mix as you would plain flour, along with the same amount of shortening and water. Measure out the pancake mix and use two knives or a pastry blender to cut the shortening in until it resembles small peas. Make a well in the center and pour in the ice water. Using a fork, blend the water in until the dough starts to come together in a loose ball. If the dough still seems too dry and isn't holding together, add more ice water in small amounts until it does. Wrap the dough in cling wrap and chill it until you are ready to roll it out.
When you're ready to roll the crust out, you can use either more of the pancake mix or plain flour to dust your counter or board and the rolling pin. If you're making one crust, place the ball of dough in the middle of the floured board and start rolling from the center in an outward motion. Give the dough a quarter turn, keeping the board floured so the dough doesn't stick, and keep rolling until it reaches the desired size and thickness. If you're making two crusts, repeat the procedure for the second one.
Chilling all your ingredients and equipment, including the bowl, beaters and spoon, before making the pie crust assures that the mixture will come together more easily and stay together during rolling and shaping. If your ingredients are too warm, the shortening will be more difficult to cut into the dry ingredients, resulting in a dough that is soft and difficult to manage. If you're not going to use the pie crust right away, refrigerate it for up to three days or up to six months in the freezer.
Rachel Lovejoy has been writing professionally since 1990 and currently writes a weekly column entitled "From the Urban Wilderness" for the Journal Tribune in Biddeford, Maine, as well as short novellas for Amazon Kindle. Lovejoy graduated from the University of Southern Maine in 1996 with a Bachelor of Arts in English.