Basic Pie Dough
The name of the pastry game is cold, cold cold! The runner up is have a gentle hand. Nothing but practice will tell you when your pastry has had enough water or enough handling. But if you’re unsure, it is better to use a tiny bit extra water than less (imho). There’s been a debate whether adding acid (e.g. lemon juice) helps prevent the starch in the dough from becoming too developed i.e. helps keeps your crust flaky. Jury’s still out but I add it and my dough comes out nice!
Enough for one 8-inch deep dish or 9-inch regular pie/tart pan
2 cups all-purpose flour
¾ tsp salt
12 tablespoons unsalted butter, cold OR 8 tablespoons unsalted butter plus 4 tablespoons shortening, cold
5 to 6 tablespoons ice cold water
1 teaspoon lime or lemon juice
In a large bowl or food processor mix together the flour and salt.
Using a knife, cut the cold butter/shortening into small pieces. Sprinkle the pieces over the flour.
If making the pastry by hand: use a pastry cutter and cut the butter/shortening into the flour until a breadcrumb-looking mixture develops. If using a food processor: pulse on high several times until a breadcrumb-looking mixture develops, then empty the mixture into a large bowl.
Add the lemon/lime juice to the water. Then, add the cold acid-water to the flour, 1 tablespoon at a time, stirring well with a fork after each addition. By the end, the mixture should start to cling together but not completely.
Empty the dough onto a clean, cool countertop. Briefly knead the dough until a rough ball develop. Flatten into a 1-inch disk then wrap well in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour before using or up to overnight. You can also label and date your dough and freeze for up to 6 months. Let the dough sit at room temperature to rest before rolling – you want it to be still slightly chilled but not hard and cold.