This is a the first pie crust of the season here on Glen Road. Even though pies can be made any time of year, it seems we prefer pie more in the Fall and Winter seasons. Our first pie is always made around Halloween and this year is no exception. Making pie crust dough always brings about a little bit of anxiety for me. No matter how many times I’ve made a crust, I am always nervous about the part of picking up the rolled dough and placing it in the pie plate without tearing or ripping the dough. Even though I’ve made lots and lots of pies, I can’t ever seem to shake my crust anxiety. That’s why it is important to find a crust recipe out there that works for you. There are many….ones that use butter versus vegetable shortening, ones that use sugar versus salt, ones that use a pastry blender and ones that don’t. Experiment with the many recipes out there until you find one that works for you. Once you determine the right one, stick to it. The more you use it, the easier it will be to make a crust that is flaky and golden. Like they say, practice makes perfect.
My favorite recipe mixes everything up in the food processor. It’s pretty quick and pain-free. The crust always turns out flaky and browns very easy in the oven to golden without burning. I make sure everything is cold when I add it to the flour, sugar and salt. The butter is cut into cubes and then I place it back in the refrigerator to cool down again. The water I add to the mixture is ice-cold. After I form my crust into the pan, I place it back in the refrigerator for at least an hour. Popping a super cold crust into a super hot oven produces a flaky pie crust that does not pull away from the sides of the pan. Cold, cold, cold!! So here’s how I have been making pie crust dough for at least the last ten years:
- 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 8 ounces (2 sticks) cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
- 1/4 to 1/2 cup ice water
Pulse flour, salt and sugar in a food processor until combined. Add butter and process until mixture resembles coarse meal, about three pulses of the food processor (remember, your butter is already in small pieces so you don’t want to chop it up much more). With the machine running, add water in a slow, steady stream until mixture just begins to hold together.
Shape dough into 2 disks. Wrap each in plastic, and refrigerate at least 1 hour to 2 days (or freeze for up to 1 month; thaw in refrigerator before using).
Like I said earlier, everyone you know has a different technique for making pie crust dough. I like the easy technique the food processor provides. My friends over at Rufus’ Food and Spirits Guide make their pie crust dough with a pastry blender. The choice is yours. At the end of the day, you want a recipe that provides delicious, flaky and golden brown crust that you enjoy eating.
Also experiment with the edges of your pie crust. There is nothing more beautiful than a pie with a gorgeous finish on the edge of the crust…whether its a simple fluted edge or one decorated with cut-out dough shapes into forms like leaves, hearts or flowers, that attention to detail makes a good pie a great one. Have fun making your crust and don’t get nervous…like me. How do you make your pie crust dough?