Making pie crust, or pâte brisée, from scratch is easy as pie. Seriously. It’s not rocket science. OK, some store bought pies may be good, but once you make your own, you will never look back. It’s all about the crust. A good crust makes a pie perfect!
All you need is to arm yourself with a foolproof pie crust recipe and you will do wonders. I do encourage you to try your hands at making your own pie crust. Once you’ve mastered the technique, we will move on to making a pie together. I have a recipe already. Stay tuned.
Pie Crust, or Pâte Brisée
Adapted from “Martha Stewart’s Cooking School”
Makes enough for two 9- or 10-inch (23- or 25-cm) single-crust pies or one 9- or 10-inch (23- or 25-cm) double crust pie
Note 1: Martha Stewart’s all butter crust recipe is great perfect for sweet and savory pies and tarts! I’ve only adjusted the amount of salt and woven my own directions and observations into the recipe. The original recipes lets you decide if you want to make your dough in a food processor or use your hands for it. I choose hands. First, because my food processor is not fancy and big, second, my hands take less time and effort to wash. Third, I like to feel the dough with my hands at all times.
Note 2: One crucial moment–make sure your butter is cold!
2+ 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons (2+1/4 sticks; 1 cup = 8 ounces / 225 g) COLD (very cold! if your butter is not cold, the recipe won’t work) unsalted butter, cut into 3/4-inch (1.9 cm) pieces
7 to 9 tablespoons ice water
Combine the dry ingredients: In a large bowl, whisk together flour, sugar and salt by hand.
Cut in butter: Add butter and quickly cut in with a pastry blender or your fingertips. The mixture should have pieces ranging from coarse crumbs to the size of small peas.
Add water: Drizzle 7 tablespoons of ice-cold water over flour mixture, and mix with a fork until dough just holds together when pinched. If it doesn’t hold together, drizzle a little more water (take care not to overdo with water!) and mix. The mixture should retain a crumbly texture at this point. It should not be sticky.
Shape and chill dough: Turn out dough onto a clean work surface. Knead once or twice to incorporate loose bits. Divide in half. Pat each half into a thick disk, then place on a piece of plastic wrap and gather wrap to flatten disk. Wrap tightly in plastic and refrigerate at least 1 hour (or overnight). Dough can be frozen up to 1 month; thaw in refrigerator overnight before using.
How to Roll out Pâte Brisée
Important: Cool temperature is extremely important in keeping butter from melting, so don’t roll the dough in a hot room; it will soften and will be difficult to work with. Remember – the dough must be well chilled (after chilling, let sit out for 10 minutes before you start rolling, or it may crack). Work on a cool work surface (I work on a granite countertop). So, remember – cold cold cold all the way. If the dough gets soft as you roll it, put it in the refrigerator for some more then roll. Also, work quickly while the dough is still cold.
Not let’s roll out the dough. Sprinkle some flour onto your work surface. Spread with your hand. Place the one dough disk on and using a rolling pin, start rolling – from the center of the disk out to the edges. You should see specks of butter in the disk – they should be there as they will make the dough flaky. To preserve the shape of the disk, turn down the (move clockwise) 90 decrees every time you roll. Don’t roll the dough directly on the edges as this may cause them to stick to the work surface. Use a pastry brush or your hand to remove excess dough from the dough.
If making a double crust pie, roll out one disk until 1/8-inch (33 mm) thick and at least 13 inches (32 cm) in diameter. Roll the dough around the rolling pin and unroll it over a 9-inch (22 cm) pie plate, pressing gently to fit into pan.
Fill with the pie mixture (refer to a particular recipe). Roll the second disk in the same manner and drape over the filling. Using kitchen shears, trim off the overhand of both crusts to 1 inch (2.5 cm). Press edges to seal.
Proceed crimping, decorating and baking as directed in a particular recipe.