Monday, October 02, 2006

Perfect Pie Crust

Perfect Pie Crust (Source)

1 cup unsalted butter (about 2 sticks),plus more for pie plate
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for rolling out dough
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sugar

Cut each stick of butter into eight pieces, and refrigerate until needed.

Place the flour, salt, and sugar in a large mixing bowl, and mix to combine. Add the chilled butter. Using a pastry blender**, incorporate the butter into the flour mixture; the mixture should resemble coarse meal with small pieces of butter, the size of small peas, remaining visible.

Drizzle 2 tablespoons ice water over the flour-butter mixture, and blend. Repeat with an additional 2 tablespoons water. At this point, you may have to add more water: When a handful of dough squeezed together just holds its shape, you’ve added enough; if the dough crumbles, continue incorporating water, 1 tablespoon at a time, checking the consistency after each additional tablespoon. (The dough can hold its shape and still crumble, so be very careful that the dough is moist enough. -- LR)

Turn the dough out onto a clean work surface. Divide into two equal pieces, and place on two separate sheets of plastic wrap. Flatten, and form two disks. Wrap, and refrigerate at least 1 hour. Lightly dust a clean, dry work surface with flour. Place the chilled dough in the center of the work surface, and dust the dough as well as the rolling pin with flour. Position the rolling pin on the center of the disk, and begin rolling the dough away from you. Give the disk a quarter turn, and roll again. Continue turning and rolling until you have an even 1/8-inch thickness. Turning the dough as you roll will prevent it from sticking to the work surface. A dry pastry brush is handy to remove any excess flour during and after the rolling process.

Lightly butter the pie plate. To minimize stretching when moving the dough, roll it around the pin, lift up, and unroll over the buttered pie plate. Using your fingers, gently pat the dough into place. Trim any excess dough with a paring knife or kitchen shears, leaving a 1-inch overhang. If using a single pie crust, fold dough under to reinforce the edge. If using a double pie crust, roll out the other piece of dough as directed above. Fill the pie bottom pie dough with filling. Transfer top pie crust to the pie plate as directed above, and trim. Roll the edges of the top and bottom pie crust to form a seal.

**You can also use a food processor; pulse in the butter 8 to 10 seconds. Add 1/4 to 1/2 cup ice water through the feed tube with the machine running.

Grade: A

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