I searched high and low for a trusty basic pie crust recipe for a long while, I am a self-confessed pastry addict, so Im pretty darn picky I have to say! A year or so back I stumbled upon this recipe at the wonderful blog Smitten Kitchen and it's been my fool proof delicious go-to recipe ever since. It was love at first bite :) If you are still on the hunt for a pie crust recipe that will not let you down - please try this one. I honestly put my baking dignity on the line and say that I guarantee you will be happy with the outcome if you follow all the steps
It's an all-butter crust, and although some people swear by the use of lard/shortening or more recently vodka (Cooks Illustrated's invention I think), this one yields the divinely flakey crisp crust that we all yearn for and it never lets me down. So all butter it is!
In this little tutorial I used my food processor to help things along, but Ive used a pastry cutter before (and have to do it by hand if I do a double crust as my machine is too mini!) I would recommend doing it by hand but it works fine either way :) If using the processor then be very careful not to over process, do not wait until the butter is pea sized before adding in the water - by the time it starts to clump you will have completely obliterated those bits of butter and you WANT to be able to see little smudges of butter when its rolled. It's this that aids your quest for flakey perfection. Head on over to Smitten Kitchen to read more in depth about how to create the perfect pie crust, but if you want the quick n dirty version to robotically follow, then just stick with me and I will take you through it! The Key = Cold. Remember this, the colder ingredients are, the flakier your crust. And that is the aim of the game
It is ready when crumbles hold together if pinched
I realise my board is too small, sorry about this! It's the only one I have so must make do :) Where there's a will there's a way!
A bit rough 'n ready is this one, my first crimping attempt! :)
You can use this crust for sweet or savoury pies - for sweet use the larger sugar quantity
The Perfect All-Butter Pie Crust
1 9 inch double pie crust with halved quantities for a single pie crust in blue
2 1/2 cups plain flour (1 1/4 cups)
1 tsp or 1 Tbsp sugar (1/2 tsp or 1 1/2 tsp)
1 tsp salt (1/2 tsp)
1 cup/2sticks/8oz cold unsalted butter, cubed (4oz / 1stick)
1/2 - 3/4 cup ice water (4 - 6 Tbsp)
Combine the flour, sugar and salt by pulsing a few times in a processor or whisking in a bowl
Add the very cold, cubed butter and pulse about 6/7 times, or cut it in using a pastry blender until pea-sized
Add the smaller quantity of water (ie 1/2 cup for a double, or 4 Tbsp for a single crust) and pulse a few times/gather the mix using a spatula. Continue adding water 1 Tbsp at a time until mixture begins to clump and holds together if you pinch the crumbles
Work the dough with your hands in a large bowl to form a smooth disc. Be careful not to over-knead it
Wrap the disk in plastic wrap. If doing a double crust, halve the dough and wrap each half separately
Place in the refrigerator for at least an hour or up to 1 week (can also freeze)
Remove from refrigerator, put the dough on a lightly floured surface, sprinkle with more flour and roll in one direction a few times, lift to free the dough, turn it 90 degrees, roll, and continue doing this until you get a circle 12 inches in diameter, re-flouring as needed to stop sticking
To transfer the crust, lightly fold in half. Pick up the dough and put it in the pie pan so the fold lines up with the middle. Unfold the dough, gently press in to mould it to the pan, and crimp/trim the edges
For the butter - you can freeze the cubes first if you wish, and some people freeze the block of butter then grate it in. Anything for cold butter!