Basic Pie Pastry

Advocate-tested recipe

Basic Pie Pastry

Makes 2 (8- to 10-inch) pie crusts or 1 double crust shell. Recipe is from “Savory Pies — Delicious Recipes for Seasoned Meats, Vegetables and Cheeses Baked in Perfectly Flaky Crusts” by Greg Henry. His Note: “High fat, European-style butter is essential for a perfect pie crust. Along with the chilling. It’s what makes the dough flaky and minimizes shrinking. Many people swear that adding 1 tablespoon white vinegar or lemon juice guarantees a flaky crust, I’m on the fence, but you can add these if you want, adjusting the water accordingly.”

2¾ cups all-purpose flour, scooped and leveled, plus more as needed

1 tsp. kosher salt

2 sticks (1 cup) butter plus 2 tbls. very cold European-style (high-fat), unsalted butter, cut into ½-inch dice

2 to 3 ice cubes

1⁄3 cup cold water (plus 2 tbls., if needed)

1. In the bowl of food processor, pulse the 23/4 cups flour with the salt 5 or 6 times until well combined. If a specific recipe calls for additional spices, herbs, cheese, vinegar or lemon juice, this is the time to add them.

2. Add the butter and pulse 10-12 more times until the mixture is crumbly and coarse with various size chunks visible throughout. Wedge 2 or 3 ice cubes, broken up, if necessary, in the processor feed tube. With the machine running, pour up to 1⁄3 cup cold water over the ice in the ice-filled feed tube a tablespoon at a time, until the dough just comes together and begins to pull cleanly away from the sides of the bowl in jagged clumps. Don’t let the machine run too long and don’t worry if you don’t use all the water. Overworked dough and/or too much water are the main culprits in making pastry tough or dense. However, in warm weather or dry climates you may need up to 2 tablespoons more water. You’ll learn to recognize the right balance of wet and dry.

3. Move the dough to a lightly floured work surface and gently knead it 2 or 3 times. If it seems quite sticky or at all wet, sprinkle in few teaspoons flour. Give it a couple more quick, gently kneads. Divide the dough in half and shape into 2 discs about 5 inches in diameter and ¾-inch thick or as indicated in the individual recipe. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate at least 1 hour (or up to 2 days) to distribute the moisture, or freeze for up to 1 month.