This Erin McDowell’s go-to pie dough. She learned to make pie dough using butter and shortening or lard, but when it came time to choose her one and only fat, it’s all buttah, all the time. The flavor and flakiness butter gives pie crust just can’t be beat. This recipe doubles (and even triples or quadruples) well if you’re making a double crust pie or want additional dough for decorative effects.
- 1¼ cups (151 grams) all-purpose flour
- ¼ teaspoon (1 gram) fine sea salt
- 8 tablespoons (113 grams) cold unsalted butter, cut into ½-inch cubes
- ¼ cup (57 grams) ice water, plus more as needed
- In a large bowl, whisk together the flour and salt. Add the cubed butter, tossing the cubes through the flour until each individual piece is well coated. ‘Cut’ the butter into the flour by pressing the pieces between your fingers, flattening the cubes into big shards. As you work, continue to toss the butter through the flour, recoating the shingled pieces.
- Continue cutting the butter into the flour just until the pieces of butter are about the size of walnut halves.
- Make a well in the center of the flour mixture. Add the amount of ice water listed in the recipe to the well, but have more on hand. Use a tossing motion with your hands to start to mix the two together (this begins to combine them without creating too much gluten). As it begins to become hydrated, you can start to use more of a kneading motion, but don’t overdo it, as this will make the dough tough. Add more water, about 1 tablespoon (14 grams) at a time, until the dough is properly hydrated. It should be uniformly combined and hold together easily, but it won’t look totally smooth. Dough that is too dry may have sort of a “dusty” appearance or pockets of un-hydrated flour. It will not hold together and will appear crumbly. Dough that is too wet will feel sticky or tacky to the touch and is often smoother and/or lighter in color.
- Form the dough into an even disk (or if you are multiplying the recipe to make multiple crusts, divide the dough appropriately). Wrap tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes or up to 2 days. (We suggest chilling overnight.)
- To Roll Out the Dough: Lightly dust a work surface with flour, and lightly dust a rolling pin, if desired. Roll out the dough to about ¼ inch thick, rotating it as you work to help prevent it from sticking. To transfer the dough to the pan, gently roll it up, wrapping it around the pin and then unfurl it into the pie plate.
- To Prepare the Edge for Crimping: On a single-crust pie, use scissors to trim away the excess dough, leaving about ½ inch excess all the way around the outside edge of the pie plate. Tuck this excess dough under, pressing gently to make it flush with the edge of the pie plate. On a double-crust pie, gently press the top and bottom crusts together to flatten the dough slightly and then trim the excess and tuck under as directed for a single-crust pie.
- To Par-Bake the Dough: Dock the crimped single-crust pie dough with a fork and chill well (at least 30 minutes). Cut a square of parchment paper slightly larger than the diameter of a pie plate, and press it into the base of the pie plate. Fill with pie weights to the top inner rim of the pie plate. Bake in a 425°F (220°C) oven until the edges begin to lightly brown, 15 to 17 minutes. Remove the parchment paper and pie weights, and return to the oven until the lower portion of the crust appears dry and set, 2 to 3 minutes more. Cool completely before filling.
- To Blind-Bake the Dough: Follow the instructions for par-baking, but bake until it is fully golden brown. After removing the pie weights, bake for 5 to 7 minutes. Cool completely before filling.
MAKE AHEAD AND STORAGE: The tightly wrapped disk of dough can be refrigerated for up to 3 days. Wrapped in a layer of plastic wrap and then a layer of foil, the dough can be frozen for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator before using.
Chocolate Pie Dough: Replace ¼ cup (30 grams) all-purpose flour with ⅓ cup (28 grams) unsweetened cocoa powder (any kind, but dark or black cocoa powder make particularly intense crusts). Take care not to overbake this crust—look for a dry, matte appearance all over as an indicator.
Cinnamon Pie Dough: Whisk 2 teaspoons (4 grams) ground cinnamon into the flour in step 1.
Toasted Coconut Pie Dough: Stir ⅓ cup (38 grams) toasted unsweetened flaked coconut into the mixture before making the well in step 3.
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