Makes:1 crust for 9- to 10-inch pie or 11-inch tart or galette |
Prep Time:15 minutes + 30 minutes chilling time
There are directions to do this by hand or in the processor, but if you’ve never used your hands before to make pie dough, try it. It’s very satisfying. The secret to successful pastry is to chill it before rolling it out, so don’t skip that step.
1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 stick (8 tablespoons) cold unsalted butter
3 or more tablespoons cold water
To make by hand: Stir the flour and salt together in a large bowl with a fork. Cut the butter into small pieces and scatter over flour. With a pastry blender or your fingers, work butter into flour until mixture resembles oatmeal. Drizzle 3 tablespoons of water over the surface and stir with a fork; squeeze a piece of dough with your hand. If it is too dry to hold together, stir in another tablespoon or two of water (the mixture should hold together when squeezed, but not be sticky; it will actually look somewhat dry). With the fork, press the mixture together in the bowl into a loose ball. Dump it on a sheet of plastic wrap spread on your counter and gather pastry into a ball, kneading once or twice so it holds together (don’t overwork it). Wrap in the plastic and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
To make in a food processor: Put flour and salt in processor bowl fitted with the metal blade and pulse once to blend. Cut butter into small pieces and scatter over the flour. Pulse until butter is finely chopped and mixture looks like oatmeal. Take off processor lid and drizzle 3 tablespoons of water over mixture, then put lid back on and pulse until it starts to form a ball, then stop the machine. If mixture looks dry, pulse in 1 additional tablespoon of water at a time, but do not process until it forms a tight ball or it will be tough. Remove lid and blade and dump mixture on a sheet of plastic wrap spread on your counter. Gather pastry into a ball, kneading once or twice so it holds together (don’t overwork it). Wrap in the plastic and refrigerate for 30 minutes or up to 1 day.
Remove from refrigerator and let stand until room temperature then unwrap. On a lightly floured surface, press the pastry with the heel of your hand into a flat disk, the roll into a circle 2 inches wider on each side than your pie pan or 1 inch wider on each side than your tart pan. Drape over the rolling pin and transfer it to pie pan or tart pan, crimping or trimming the edges as needed. Bake as directed in your recipe.