ASB Basics: Pâte Brisée (Pie Dough)
Please don't buy pie crust. The ingredients in store bought pie doughs are just gross. Anytime I see a hydrogenated oil or a chemical that I can't pronounce on an ingredient list---I am immediately turned off. Pie crust should not contain more than 5 ingredients. You can make this whenever you want and keep it in your freezer when you need an emergency pie (a surprisingly frequent occasion in my house). Additionally, what I have found with other pie dough recipes is that they don't make enough dough. With other recipes, I find myself struggling to patch up enough dough to cover my pie plate. I guarantee that this recipe yields enough dough for one double crust pie or two single crust pies. If you are lucky enough to have extra dough, sprinkle it with cinnamon sugar and bake it off as a delicious treat. When I make pie crust, I use half water/half vodka because the vodka hinders gluten development and gives the pie a better texture. The alcohol cooks out in the oven, but you can use all water if you prefer.
3 ¾ cups (485g) AP flour
1 tsp kosher salt
1 tbsp sugar
1 ½ cups/24 tbsp/3 sticks (339g) unsalted butter, frozen and cut into chunks (try to use a good quality butter)
1/2 cup (118ml) water + 1/2 cup (118ml) vodka, in a glass filled with ice cubes
Measure out the flour, salt, and sugar in a large bowl.
Using a pastry blender, cutter, or two forks, cut the butter into the flour mixture until it is mostly in small chunks, the size of peas.
Slowly add the ice water/vodka mixture (you will not need all of it) (I usually work it in with clean hands) and mix it into the flour and butter mixture. Add until the dough will hold its form when pressed together. Depending on the humidity in your kitchen, you'll probably need between around half a cup.
Divide the dough in two and place each half on a separate sheet of plastic wrap. Use the plastic wrap to press each half of the dough together.
Wrap each half and press the dough into a disk.
Refrigerate your dough for 1 hour or freeze 20 minutes before using according to your recipe's instructions. You can keep your well-wrapped dough in the freezer for up to a month (if you can wait that long) and use it as you would frozen store bought dough. When using dough from frozen, I let it sit out at room temperature to soften slightly before rolling out. I have the most success rolling out my dough between two sheets of wax paper.
If your recipe calls for an empty, baked pie crust, you need to blind bake your dough. This just means baking your crust by itself. You use blind baked crust for pies like lemon meringue or fruit tarts when the filling does not need to be cooked in the oven. Here is a tutorial on how to blind bake pie crust.