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Perfect Pie Dough
Over the last couple of years, I have shared some of my favorite pie recipes such as Minny’s Chocolate Pie and Salted Caramel Pie. For the sake of keeping things simple, I have suggested using a store bought pie crust for the simple reason of saving you time in the kitchen.
Having a delicious homemade pie crust dough stowed away in any home baker should have in their freezer.
Throughout the last decade, I’ve tried dozens of pastry recipes in search of the right one. Some were made entirely of butter, others entirely of shortening. Each one produced a completely different pastry dough.
Crusts that are made entirely of butter are crispy and flavorful (think buttery), but they’re not flaky: ideal for tarts but not pies.
The best pie crusts use butter and shortening. Fat is the key to both texture and flavor. The recipe below is what I consider to be the perfect pie dough, and it yields enough for a 9” double crust. In the weeks leading up to the holidays, I typically make six batches of the dough, hidden away in the freezer ready to use.
You Will Need
A Few Bits of Advice
All of the fat needs to be very cold, almost frozen. Same goes for the water used in the recipe.
Using a food processor will help the ingredients stay as cold as possible. It’s very easy to step away for a minute and overwork the dough, resulting in a tough crust.
Moist is better. Dry dough can crack while it bakes and can be tough.
While you’re rolling the dough, if it feels soft, stick it in the refrigerator to firm it back up. The dough should be refrigerated for at least an hour after being mixed, and another 20 minutes after being popped into the pan you’re using.
Invest in a silicon mat, it’s great for rolling out the dough.
Roll the dough from the center of the round, rotating the dough just slightly after each roll to keep it round and an even thickness. Start in the middle of each disc, never rolling all the way through.
Treat the dough with kindness. Try not to pull or stretch the dough to fit into the pan because shrinkage is real. Any extra scraps of dough can be used to patch holes or cracks, simply flatten the dough, lightly moisten it, and place it over the wounded area.
Crinckle up a sheet of parchment paper, it'll fit into the crevasses of the dough better than foil. You can use rice, pie weights or beans to dry bake the shell.
Storing & Using The Dough
If you’ve stumbled upon this recipe ahead of the great Thanksgiving or Christmas bakeoff, this dough can be kept in the freezer for two months or tightly wrapped in the fridge for up to five days.
3 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup granulated sugar
2 1/2 sticks very cold unsalted butter, cut into chunks
1/3 cup very cold vegetable shortening, cut into chunks
Around 1/2 cup ice water
Put the flour, salt, and sugar into a food processor fitted with the blade attachment. Pulse once or twice to combine the ingredients. Add the butter and shortening, pulsing only until the butter and shortening are cut into the size of peas. Gradually pulse while adding a tablespoon of water at a time until you’ve added six tablespoons of ice cold water. Then, pulse a little longer to get the water melted into the four. If the dough doesn’t look moist, add more water.
Divide the dough in half, rounding each half into a ball, flatten into a disk and wrap each half in plastic wrap. Each disc of dough should be approximately 15.5 ounces. Place the dough in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour before rolling.
To bake a crust, preheat the oven to 400º
Roll out dough and fit it into pie plate. Either freeze for later use, or place in the refrigerator while the oven is heating.
Use a wrinkled sheet of parchment paper, pressing it into the crust, and fill it with either beans, pie weights, or rice. Bake for about 25 minutes. Check the crust, remove the foil along with the pie weights. If the crust has puffed up, use the back of a spoon to press it back down. To partially cook it, return the crust to the oven and cook for another couple of minutes, until light golden brown. To fully cook the crust, continue baking for another 10 minutes.
Transfer the crust to a rack and cool completely before filling.