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Recipe: Flaky pie crust

July 22, 2010
  •  
  (Gary Friedman / Los Angeles…)

Flaky pie crust

Total time: 20 minutes, plus chilling time

Servings: This makes enough crust for 1 (9- to 10-inch) pie

Note: The cider vinegar is used to help "shorten" the crust, improving the texture. Though you might smell the vinegar as you roll out the crust, you should not taste or smell it in the finished pie.

Single crust

11/2 cups (6.4 ounces) flour

3/4 teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons sugar

3 tablespoons cold shortening

5 tablespoons cold butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes

11/2 teaspoons cider vinegar

3 to 4 tablespoons ice water, more if needed

1 egg or egg white, for an egg wash, if desired

1. To make the dough using a food processor, pulse together the flour, salt and sugar until thoroughly combined. Add the shortening and pulse until incorporated (the dough will look like moist sand). Add the butter and pulse just until the butter is reduced to small, pea-sized pieces. Sprinkle the vinegar and water over the mixture, and pulse once or twice until incorporated. Remove the crumbly mixture to a large bowl and gently press the mixture together with a large spoon, rubber spatula or the palm of your hand just until it comes together to form a dough. Mold the dough into a disc roughly 6 inches in diameter. Cover the disc tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 2 hours, preferably overnight.

To make the dough by hand, whisk together the flour, salt and sugar in a large bowl. Add the shortening and incorporate using a pastry cutter or fork (the dough will look like moist sand). Cut in the butter just until it is reduced to small, pea-sized pieces. Sprinkle the vinegar and water over the mixture, and stir together just until incorporated. Gently press the crumbly mixture together with a large spoon, rubber spatula or the palm of your hand just until it comes together to form a dough. Mold the dough into a disc roughly 6 inches in diameter. Cover the disc tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 2 hours, preferably overnight.

2. On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough into a round roughly 13 to 14 inches in diameter. Place in a 9- to 10-inch baking dish, trimming any excess and crimping the edges as desired. (One trick I use is to roll out the dough onto well-floured parchment or wax paper, invert and center the pie dish over the dough and then flip the dough into the dish.) Brush the outer edge of the shell with the egg wash, then freeze the formed shell for 20 to 30 minutes before filling and baking.

3. If prebaking (or blind-baking) the crust, line the shell with foil and fill with pie weights. Bake in a 400-degree oven for 20 minutes, then remove the weights and foil, prick the sides and bottom several times with a fork and continue baking until the bottom of the crust is dry and lightly colored, 5 to 10 minutes more.

Each of 8 servings, without egg wash: 193 calories; 2 grams protein; 18 grams carbohydrates; 1 gram fiber; 12 grams fat; 6 grams saturated fat; 19 mg. cholesterol; 1 gram sugar; 220 mg. sodium.

Double crust

3 cups (12.75 ounces) flour

11/2 teaspoons salt

1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon sugar

1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons cold shortening, cut into 1/2-inch cubes

1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons (1 1/4 sticks) cold butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes

1 tablespoon cider vinegar

6 to 8 tablespoons ice water, more if needed

Filling

1 egg or egg white, for an egg wash, as desired

Sugar, for sprinkling, if desired

1. To make the dough using a food processor, pulse together the flour, salt and sugar until thoroughly combined. Add the shortening and pulse until incorporated (the dough will look like moist sand). Add the butter and pulse just until the butter is reduced to small, pea-sized pieces. Sprinkle the vinegar and water over the mixture, and pulse once or twice until incorporated. Remove the crumbly mixture to a large bowl and gently press the mixture together with a large spoon, rubber spatula or the palm of your hand just until it comes together to form a dough. Mold the dough into a disc roughly 6 inches in diameter. Cover the disc tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 2 hours, preferably overnight.

To make the dough by hand, whisk together the flour, salt and sugar in a large bowl. Add the shortening and incorporate using a pastry cutter or fork (the dough will look like moist sand). Cut in the butter just until it is reduced to small, pea-sized pieces. Sprinkle the vinegar and water over the mixture, and stir together just until incorporated. Gently press the crumbly mixture together with a large spoon, rubber spatula or the palm of your hand just until it comes together to form a dough. Mold the dough into a disc roughly 6 inches in diameter. Cover the disc tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 2 hours, preferably overnight.

2. Halve the dough, keeping the second half refrigerated as you work on the first half.

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