To achieve flaky baked items like pie crusts, it's all about how you mix the fat into the flour. The best crusts are baked with saturated fats which are solid at room temperature such as Vegan Butter, margarine or coconut oil. The fats are mixed into the flour so the mixture resembles gravel. In order to achieve this mixture, the fat pieces are about the size of peas. This allows the fat and water based ingredients to be layered in a grain-like structure when the dough is rolled. During baking, heat causes the water to expand into steam resulting in a flaky crust. A pastry blender is an essential tool for how you achieve this optimum mix of Vegan Butter to flour.
Recommended pastry blenders to look for are ones made of stainless steel and as little plastic as possible. To use a pastry blender, place the flour into a large mixing bowl according to your recipe. Cut your solid fat into ½ inch cubes and add them to the bowl. Press your pastry blender straight down into the flour and fat mixture as you work around the bowl. Keep going around the bowl until the mixture resembles gravel and proceed with your favorite pie crust recipe.
I used to use a food processor or a fork to cut fat into flour. There's a reason there is a tool designed especially for this purpose. Food processors usually over mix the ingredients after one blink. Using a fork is the opposite, resulting in an inconsistent mixture that is too time consuming. Spending the money on a pastry blender will make a direct result on the quality of your pie crusts.
Get a price on the Pastry Blender I Recommend at Amazon.