Basic Pie Crust
Since a pie is only as good as its crust, the perfect pie dough must be part of any cook's core curriculum. Martha Stewart's favorite pie dough, known as pÃ¢te brisee in French, is a short pastry, a nonyeast dough containing a high proportion of fat to flour. The best crusts are made from the coolest pastry, made in a chilly kitchen with ice water, chilled flour, and cold butter. The amount of water used will vary between 1/4 and 1/2 cup, depending on the moisture in the atmosphere and ingredients. Subtle changes in the recipe naturally affects the dough.
Use bread flour instead of all-purpose flour, and your crust becomes tougher. Add lard and shortening instead of butter or margarine, and your pastry will be somewhat flakier. Sprinkle in some sugar, and the dough becomes more tender-- funny how sugar can have that effect on people, too!
Maintaining consistent standards doesn't prevent you from adding a twist to the taste. Try personalizing your pastry by adding some ground cinnamon, cardamom, or ginger. Enhance savory pies with a sprinkle of basil, cumin, or tarragon. Pie dough can be stored in the freezer for up to a month. Just wrap it in cellophane and place it in a resealable plastic bag, and make homemade pies at a moment's notice.
- 1/4 to 1/2 cup water
- 1 cup (2 sticks) cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1. Combine the flour, salt, and sugar in food processor. Add butter; process until mixture resembles coarse meal, about 8 to 10 seconds. For hand method, place dry ingredients in large bowl. Add butter; blend with pastry cutter until mixture resembles coarse meal.
2. Add ice water in a slow steady stream through feed tube of food processor with machine running, until the dough holds together for no longer than 30 seconds. For hand method, mix dough with a wooden spoon, adding water until dough just holds together.
3. Turn dough onto piece of plastic wrap. Press into flat circle, or rectangle depending on what shape you intend to roll out pastry to. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 1 hour. May be frozen, double wrapped in plastic, for several months.