Baking & Dessert

By Lindsay Hunt | May 27, 2011

Photographer: Lindsay Hunt

I may not have a go-to lasagna recipe yet, or even a favorite pudding recipe, but at last, I have a favorite basic pie crust recipe. Despite my confidence rolling the dough out now, I used to be afraid of making pie dough. I loved the idea of a hot apple pie cooling on the windowsill with a picturesque scene outside, but the entire fantasy stopped when I contemplated turning flour, butter, and a few more ingredients into dough. After trying various recipes, I found the pie crust to end all fears, the Basic Flaky Pie Crust from Rose Levy Beranbaum’s The Pie and Pastry Bible.

There are a lot of instructions, but that is to ensure that you have a foolproof product that can encase fillings from pumpkin to rhubarb and that tastes great whether it’s for a savory quiche or a dessert.

If dough-making scares you, then this recipe is for you. I have conquered pecan pies, peach pies and more within it’s flaky confines, and you can too.

Adapted from Rose Levy Beranbaum’s The Pie and Pastry Bible

  • 8 tbsp unsalted butter, cold
  • 1 1/3 cups pastry flour or all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/8 tsp baking powder
  • 2 1/2-3 1/2 tbsp ice water
  • 1 1/2 tsp cider vinegar

Directions

1. Lay out a sheet of plastic wrap.

2. Divide the butter into two parts, about two thirds to one third. Cut the butter into 3/4-inch cubes. Wrap each portion of butter with plastic wrap. Refrigerate the larger amount and freeze the smaller for at least 30 minutes.

3.Place the flour, salt, and optional baking powder in a medium size bowl.

4. Using a pastry cutter or your thumb and forefingers, blend the larger portion of the butter into the flour until it resembles coarse meal. (The movement is almost as though you are snapping the butter into the flour.)

5. Add the rest of the butter from the freezer, and rub in with your fingers.

6. Sprinkle the ice water and vinegar over the flour and butter mixture, and bring together with a fork. Knead with your hands into a ball, taking care not to work the dough too much.

7. Transfer the dough to the plastic wrap, and flatten into a disc about six-inches wide. Chill in the refrigerator for at least 45 minutes, preferably overnight before using.

8. Roll out according to recipe instructions.

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