The holidays call for pie. And what is a pie unless it has a perfectly flaky buttery crust? Just not worth serving at the holiday dinner table if you ask me. If you have “piedoughfromscratchaphobia” aka the fear of making pie dough from scratch then let me pass on a few of my learned wisdoms from making pie dough. First off, cold is key. Cold butter, cold shortening, cold water. Now, I have heard Martha Stewart goes to the lengths of even chilling her flour. I haven’t gone that far, but hey the colder the better right? The reason being? Cold keeps the butter and shortening from melting. Wait, don’t you want them to melt? Yes. Just not in your hands as your mixing the dough. You want them melting in the oven creating pockets of steam that then creates flaky layers. If you find as your are rolling out your dough to be getting sticky, take a break and chill your dough again. After your rolled out and placed it in your pie pan, chill it again. Getting the hint? Cold. Is. Key! Secondly, shortening creates flakiness. Butter imparts flavor. If shortening gives you the heeby jeebies, you can use all butter in your dough. I simply recommend making it by hand if you do. You are less likely to overdo it by hand then in your food processor and therefore still getting the flakiness one desires. I’ve made this pie dough before and had great results.
This pie dough however I decided to use shortening and my food processor. I had quite the list of pies to make for Thanksgiving and I knew the food processor was speed things along. If you do use your food processor, just be very carefully to NOT OVERDO IT. Less is more people. Less is more. If you are not sure, then STOP. You can always bring it all together with your hands before letting it chill and relax in your refrigerator.
I do have to say this pie dough from Cook’s Illustrated lived up to its name of being flaky and buttery. It was fairly easy recipe to work with (unlike this recipe that has been all over the food world but I have “heard” can be quite hard to work with). I know the “piedoughfromscratchaphobia” can be real. But the cliché saying, all you have to fear is fear itself is true in this case. Well that and humidity.
Classic Double Crust Pie Dough
- * 2 1/2 cups 12.5 ounces all-purpose flour
- * 2 tablespoons sugar
- * 1 teaspoon salt
- * 8 tablespoons vegetable shortening cut into 1/2-inch pieces and chilled
- * 6-8 tablespoons ice water
1. Process flour, sugar, and salt together in food processor until combined, about 5 seconds. Scatter shortening over top and process until mixture resembles coarse cornmeal, about 10 seconds. Scatter butter over top and pulse mixture until it resembles coarse crumbs, about 10 pulses.
2. Transfer mixture to large bowl. Sprinkle 6 tablespoons of the ice water over the mixture. Stir and press dough together, using a stiff rubber spatula, until dough sticks together. If dough does not stick together, stir in remaining ice water 1 tablespoon at a time.
3. Divide dough into 2 even pieces. Turn each piece of dough onto sheet of plastic wrap and flatten each into a 4-inch disk. Wrap each piece tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour. Before rolling the dough out, let it sit on the counter to soften slightly, about 10 minutes. (If you are getting a jump on the holidays, you can refrigerate it for up to two days or freeze it for up to a month). If frozen, let the dough thaw completely on the counter before rolling it out.
Adapted from Cook's Illustrated
Get My Buttercream Cheatsheet!
Join the community to get the tips, tricks, and simple from scratch recipes so you can start baking delicious desserts today. PLUS I will send you my Buttercream Cheatsheet with 13 ways to flavor your buttercream!