all-butter pie crust dough
Although the first day of autumn this year is officially Thursday, September 23rd – still a few days away – yesterday marked the first day that it felt like fall. It wasn’t cool outside, so that wasn’t it. No, with temperatures of 91 degrees in north Florida on Saturday, the weather definitely didn’t contribute to the autumnal feel.
I believe it was the baking I did. I set yesterday aside to make pie crusts, in anticipation of a chess pie that I’ve had on my to-do list for some time now. We don’t have pie often, and I certainly don’t bake a lot of pies, so making pie crust dough is really something I only do around the holidays – first for Thanksgiving and then for Christmas.
So, I think it was that. The pie crusts. Well, that and the CBS college football theme song that played during the Florida versus Tennessee game. That song just screams IT’S FINALLY FALL!
I used to be the type of baker that bought Pillsbury refrigerated pie crust dough, unrolled it, then rolled it back out and put it in my own pie dish. I might have even crimped the edges a bit so that the crust looked more homemade. I might have done that. Now, there’s certainly nothing wrong with using refrigerated pie crust dough, but now that I’ve tasted what a pie baked in a flaky homemade pie crust tastes like, I have a hard time using the pre-made variety.
The recipe I’ve written here is the one that I’ve used after trying a host of variations, from using different proportions of butter and shortening (which freaks me out a little, if I’m being honest – I mean, what is shortening, really?), to all-butter (which I prefer), to using more or less sugar, to adding vodka (something the folks at Cooks Illustrated have done with success).
This is the pie crust recipe that I’ve gone back to as my standby for sweet pies. So long, Pillsbury.
Yield: 2 9-inch deep dish pie crusts
all-butter pie crust dough
The butter should be very cold, and to ensure this, I keep mine in the freezer. After cutting it into cubes, I often put it back into the freezer so it will stay as cold as possible until I'm ready to work with it.
2 1/2 cups (312 grams) all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons sugar
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter, chilled, cubed
8 tablespoons ice water*
In a food processor, mix the flour, sugar, and salt until blended. Add cubed butter and pulse just until a coarse meal is formed. Sprinkle water into the food processor by the tablespoonful and pulse until the dough begins to form moist clumps. Pour the dough out onto a work surface and form into 2 balls. Flatten ball gently into a thick disk and wrap each tightly in plastic wrap. Chill for at least an hour before rolling. Make ahead: Dough can be kept in refrigerator up to one week. You can keep it in the freezer for up to 1 month; double wrap in plastic prior to freezing.
*Note: You may need a little more or a little less water than 8 tablespoons. I keep a bowl of ice water on the counter right next to my food processor and measure the water out by the tablespoon as I go.