This is a versatile crust appropriate for use with any pie recipe. For the best flavor and greater pliability when cold, use a high-fat, European-style butter. Adapted from The Grand Central Baking Book by Piper Davis and Ellen Jackson, Ten Speed Press, 2009.
- Prep Time :
- Ready Time :
- 2 sticks unsalted butter European-style, cold, cut into 1/4-1/2
- 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 2 teaspoons salt (or half this amount if your butter is salted)
- 1/3 cup ice water
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
This recipe can be doubled easily, to yield more than enough dough for a large double-crust pie, three single crust pies or three galettes. There’s nothing better than knowing you have flaky pastry dough ready in your freezer when you’re in the mood to bake a pie, tart or galette. Defrost the dough overnight in the refrigerator and the rest is easy.
Place the flour, sugar and salt in a metal or ceramic mixing bowl with high sides. Chill for at least 2 hours, and up to overnight. Blend the cold butter into the chilled ingredients using a pastry blender or by rubbing the chunks of butter with the flour using your fingers. Stop mixing when the texture of the flour changes from silky to mealy; this should only take a few minutes. Don’t worry if a few larger chunks of butter remain.
Make a well in the flour mixture and drizzle the lemon juice and 3/4 of the total amount of ice water in while gently mixing with a fork. Check the hydration of the dough by gathering a small fistful; if it holds together, it’s ready. If it is dry or crumbly, slowly add the remaining water, testing the dough by pinching it occasionally.
Be careful to add only as much water as it takes to combine the dough into a ball or disk. The exact amount of water can vary depending upon the moisture content of the flour, the quality of the butter, and the weather. When it has the proper amount of water, the dough will come together without much effort or deliberate packing. If you need to add more water, make sure the ingredients are still cold.
Form the dough into a disk, wrap in plastic and chill for at least 2 hours before rolling and forming.