I can’t believe I don’t have this recipe up on the blog. This is my go-to crust for almost everything, from Cornish Pasties to fruit pies, to grilled tarts. It is super-flaky, yet strong enough to be used in hand pies.
I also find it quicker and easier than either true puff pastry or traditional pie crust. It is forgiving, so it makes a good beginner crust, if you’re just starting making pies.
- 2-1/2 cups all purpose flour
- 1 tsp salt
- 16 tbsp unsalted butter (or 8 tbsp butter and 8 tbsp leaf lard, if you can find it)
- 1 cup cold water
Measure the flour into a large bowl, stir in the salt Cut the butter into cubes and add it to the flour, tossing it so the butter gets well coated. Add the water all at once and stir until a lumpy, shaggy dough forms.
dust a work surface with flour and flour a rolling pin. Turn the dough out onto the surface. Gently start rolling it until you have roughly a 9″ by 12″ rectangle. The first time you do this it will be lumpy and pieces will fall off. Don’t worry. Letter fold the dough: Fold it in thirds, overlapping the ends in the middle, as if you were folding a letter to put in an envelope.
Turn the dough seam side down and repeat the process, adding additional flour if necessary (don’t add too much). After 5 or so letter folds, you should have a supple dough with large, flat, thin smears of butter visible. Letter fold it one last time, then wrap it securely in plastic wrap and put it in the fridge for at least an hour. The rest will both relax the gluten and firm up the butter.
If you are making a fruit pie or something else sweet, toss a tablespoon of sugar in with the flour and salt.
For savory pies (or, for that matter, apple pie), reduce the butter by 4 tbsp and toss in 1/4 cup of grated Gruyere or cheddar cheese.
The dough freezes well, too. Put it in a freezer bag and toss it in the freezer. Thaw overnight in the fridge before starting your pie the next day.
Brushing the dough with a bit of beaten egg before cooking will give it a nice shine. It will also let you stick something to the top: sesame seeds, sunflower seeds or somesuch.