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.

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27 Responses to “pumpkin soup with gruyère”

  1. HeatherChristo — October 28, 2010 @ 4:06 pm

    this looks so good! beautiful pictures 🙂

    • mj (merry gourmet)

      mj (merry gourmet) replied: — October 28th, 2010 @ 4:31 pm

      Thank you, Heather.

  2. Liz the Chef — October 28, 2010 @ 4:20 pm

    You are so brave! I have yet to tackle a “real” pumpkin…Your photos are lovely. Where did you learn to take such great shots? I need a class for certain.

    • mj (merry gourmet)

      mj (merry gourmet) replied: — October 28th, 2010 @ 4:33 pm

      This was actually my first go at a real pumpkin – and it was fun! As for the photos – I’ve been learning as I go. I’ve never taken a course, but I’d love to!

  3. kateiscooking — October 28, 2010 @ 4:41 pm

    Beautiful photos! I hope I escape work in time to make this tonight. We’re supposed to have the first freeze of the year and this sounds like a perfect antidote!! Kate@kateiscooking

  4. Kare — October 28, 2010 @ 4:55 pm

    Man, there is nothing like the process of cooking and baking to just put you into that near-nirvana-like zone, eh? I LOVE that. And this soup looks scrumptious – I love a good pumpkin soup, and love the idea of the gruyere (and the hearty splash of white wine).

    Good luck on your two-week work project – ugh, I’d be feeling the blahs too. Hope it goes by quickly for you.

    • mj (merry gourmet)

      mj (merry gourmet) replied: — October 28th, 2010 @ 8:02 pm

      Kare – Ah, yes – you noticed the wine. Wine and gruyere – what could be better?

  5. bunkycooks — October 28, 2010 @ 5:44 pm

    I am feeling the funk, too. I think it is the coming of cold weather combined with personal/work stuff. Cooking does make things better and gets the other stuff off your mind.

    • mj (merry gourmet)

      mj (merry gourmet) replied: — October 28th, 2010 @ 8:02 pm

      Gwen – Cooking is such a blessing. I’m just hoping to squeeze in some time for it in the upcoming weeks. I think I’m going to need it.

  6. Kristina @ spabettie — October 28, 2010 @ 5:49 pm

    I know exactly what you mean… I get to feeling antsy or upset or frustrated… and I want to be in the kitchen… kneading or chopping or stirring… creating.

    gruyere is one of my favorites… and this looks so good…

    I also love your photos – the sage leaves especially… so pretty!

    • mj (merry gourmet)

      mj (merry gourmet) replied: — October 28th, 2010 @ 8:01 pm

      Kristina – I just love gruyere too. In fact, it was all I could do to stop myself from eating the wedge of cheese before it went in the soup. 🙂

  7. Susi — October 28, 2010 @ 6:39 pm

    That looks like a wonderful and comforting bowl of soup! Love the addition of gruyere (one of my favorites) and your pictures are spectacular!

    • mj (merry gourmet)

      mj (merry gourmet) replied: — October 28th, 2010 @ 8:00 pm

      Susi – Thank you so much for the photography compliment. I was playing with a new lens (my birthday present), so these photos were a lot of fun for me.

  8. Jennie — October 28, 2010 @ 6:43 pm

    What you said about wanting to make the soup more than wanting to eat it—that’s what I love most about being in the kitchen. The one place where you can control the chaos swirling around. I totally get your October funk, but think about November, right around the corner, and all the fun that follows.

    • mj (merry gourmet)

      mj (merry gourmet) replied: — October 28th, 2010 @ 7:58 pm

      Controlling the chaos is the key. Being in the kitchen, controlling that ingredient in my hand or in the pot – that is the key for me. And I cannot even begin to describe the excitement I have about November. Well, after November 16th, that is. Until then, it’s nothing but hospital for me.

  9. Jen @ My Kitchen Addiction — October 28, 2010 @ 7:40 pm

    Great post! I know exactly what you mean about craving the cooking process. Sometimes just getting out my big wooden cutting board and chopping some veggies starts to melt away my stress.

    Love this soup, too… Pumpkin and gruyere sounds like a perfect combo.

    • mj (merry gourmet)

      mj (merry gourmet) replied: — October 28th, 2010 @ 7:59 pm

      Jen – Yes! Chopping board and knife, and the stresses of the day melt away. I just wish I had more time for it. And anything with gruyere is fabulous. 🙂

  10. Kim - Liv Life — October 28, 2010 @ 11:26 pm

    I DO know what you mean!! I actually skipped our homecoming game too, though I didn’t cook at thing. The soup looks wonderful. Hang in there!

  11. Liren — October 29, 2010 @ 2:38 am

    “I just wanted to make it.”

    Boy, do I understand what you mean. However, I’m sure it tasted lovely – pumpkin and gruyere make sense together! In our family chaos, we haven’t been to the pumpkin patch yet, but if we make it this weekend, I would love to tackle this soup.

  12. Barbara @ VinoLuciStyle — October 29, 2010 @ 10:35 am

    I can certainly identify with your state of mind. Eight months into an injury that has limited most aspects of my life; long work days and dealing with a difficult daughter…sometimes the kitchen is my refuge from all of it…even if I’m not hungry!

    Something about soup is so soul satisfying…the results of your efforts look beautiful and sound perfect for that.

  13. Mardi@eatlivetravelwrite — October 30, 2010 @ 7:37 am

    MJ I absolutely can relate to this post. Sometimes when I have SO MUCH on my plate that I don’t know where to start, I find myself in the kitchen making something that, you know, could wait. Cooking and baking are exactly the release we need from time to time and if it results in this type of delicious soup, well it’s totally worth missing a game for, right?

  14. Renee (Kudos Kitchen) — October 30, 2010 @ 12:34 pm

    This soup looks great and I totally LOVE the gruyere and pumpkin combo. Don’t you just love that soup is comforting to eat AND make? Sounds like you had a wonderful afternoon in the kitchen!

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  16. Jennifer — October 30, 2010 @ 2:46 pm

    This sounds awesome. It’s been cold and rainy here and would be perfect. I have those blah days and there’s absolutely nothing better than comfort food.

  17. Belinda — October 30, 2010 @ 11:57 pm

    We had a blast with your kids and can’t wait to have them again in November. So glad you had a quiet afternoon and evening to do something fun and relaxing for yourself!

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