Pie Crust PerfectionThe ability to prepare a pristine pie crust is a premier skill to possess, yet few people can. This ability is almost irrelevant nowadays. The use of pre-made pie crusts is so prevalent, I can’t think of one person who prepares their own from scratch. That’s a shame. It’s extremely easy—it requires little culinary competence—and the time you sacrifice will be made up tenfold in flavor and potentially, flakiness. Sure the store-bought versions are acceptable, but they are just that and since everyone uses them, using one puts a limit on the greatness that a pie made with said crust can achieve.
So now that we have established that you should make your own crust, we may talk method. Pie Crust is very versatile and varieties range from bacon fat pie crust for quiche, to graham cracker crust for cheesecake but for now I’d like to focus on an all butter pie crust perfect for fruit pies. Shortening increases flakiness in crusts, but butter provides more flavor, and an all-butter crust can be flaky if prepared correctly. The trick is keeping everything cold—I freeze the pie plate before adding the crust—and though you can use the crust immediately, I like to refrigerate it while I prepare the filling. This recipe is easiest to make with a KitchenAid mixer, but it can also be prepared by pinching together the butter and the flour and then stirring in the ice water. This recipe makes enough for a double-crust pie. Before baking I like to brush the top crust with a beaten egg and sprinkle it with sugar. Also, if you plan to make apple pie with this crust, use apple juice rather than water.
All-Butter Pie Crust
2 Cups Flour
2 sticks butter (cut into cubes and frozen)
¼ cup sugar
Ice Water (have at least two cups)
Pinch of salt
1. In a KitchenAid mixer with the paddle attachment, beat together salt, sugar and flour.
2. Add butter gradually, and beat on low speed until the butter cubes are slightly larger than peas.
3. Gradually pour in the ice water until the dough just comes together. Don’t add too much.
4. Push together the dough and use immediately, refrigerate for up to three days, or freeze indefinitely.
5. Roll out.
6. And you’re done. Really. That’s it.