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Rose Levy Beranbaum
Rose Knows Best

 

 

Basic Flaky Pie Crust
From The Pie and Pastry Bible by Rose Levy Beranbaum (Charles Scribners, 1998)
Adapted by StarChefs.com

Yield: One 9-inch pie crust

This pie crust is light, flaky, tender, and very crisp. It has a glorious butter flavor and is an ideal container for any pie or tart recipe. I strongly recommend commercial or homemade pastry flour, as it will result in a more tender crust than one made with all-purpose flour.

Ingredients:

  • 8 Tablespoons unsalted butter, cold
  • 1 1/3 cups plus 4 teaspoons pastry flour or bleached all-purpose flour
  • teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon baking powder (optional: if not using, double the salt)
  • 2 to 3 Tablespoons heavy cream
  • 1 teaspoons cider vinegar

Method:
Divide the butter into two parts, about two-thirds to one-third (5 tablespoons and 3 tablespoons). Cut the butter into 3/4 inch cubes. Wrap each portion of butter with plastic wrap. Refrigerate the larger amount and freeze the smaller for at least 30 minutes. Place the flour, salt, and optional baking powder in a reclosable gallon-size freezer bag and freeze for at least 30 minutes.

Food processor method:
Place the flour mixture in a food processor with the metal blade and process for a few seconds to combine. Set the bag aside.

Add the larger amount of butter cubes to the flour and process for about 20 seconds or until the mixture resembles coarse meal. Add the remaining frozen butter cubes and pulse until all of the frozen butter is the size of peas. (Toss with a fork to see it better.)

Add the lowest amount of the ice water and the vinegar and pulse 6 times. Pinch a small amount of the mixture together between your fingers. If it does not hold together, add half the remaining water and pulse 3 times. Try pinching the mixture again. If necessary, add the remaining water, pulsing 3 times to incorporate it. The mixture will be in particles and will not hold together without being pinched.

For tiny 1 inch tartlets, omit the baking powder and allow the processing to continue just until a ball forms. The additional mixing produces a dough that is slightly less flaky but ensures that it will not puff out of shape in the tiny molds.

Spoon the mixture into the plastic bag. (For a double-crust pie, it is easiest to divide the mixture in half at this point.)

Holding both ends of the bag opening with your fingers, knead the mixture by alternately pressing it, from the outside of the bag, with the knuckles and heels of your hands until the mixture holds together in one piece and feels slightly stretchy when pulled.

Wrap the dough with plastic wrap, flatten it into a disc (or discs) and refrigerate for at least 45 minutes, preferably overnight. (For a pie shell and lattice, divide it in a ratio of two thirds: one third-use about 9.5 ounces for the shell and the rest for the lattice, flattening the smaller part into a rectangle.)

Hand method:
Place a medium mixing bowl in the freezer to chill.

Place the flour, salt, and optional baking powder in another medium bowl and whisk to combine them. Use a pastry cutter or rub the mixture between your fingers to blend the larger portion of the butter into the flour until it resembles coarse meal.

Spoon the mixture, together with the cold butter, into a reclosable gallon-size freezer bag. Expel any air from the bag and close it. Use a rolling pin to flatten the butter into flakes. Place the bag in the freezer for at least 10 minutes or until the butter is very firm.

Transfer the mixture to the chilled bowl, scraping the sides of the bag. Set the bag aside. Sprinkle the ice water and vinegar onto the mixture, tossing it lightly with a rubber spatula. Spoon the loose mixture back into the plastic bag. (For a double-crust pie, it is easiest to divide the mixture in half at this point.)

Holding both ends of the bag opening with your fingers, knead the mixture by alternately pressing it, from the outside of the bag, with the knuckles and heels of your hands until the mixture holds together in one piece and feels slightly stretchy when pulled.

Wrap the dough with plastic wrap, flatten it into a disc and refrigerate for at least 45 minutes, preferably overnight.


 

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  •    Published: August 2005
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