I have pie dough on my mind. You see, I've sold 4 pies this week... three lemon meringue pies and one pumpkin pie. I'm pretty comfortable with those fillings (we all know I pride myself on the lemon curd filling) - but have been playing around with my pie crust recipe all summer. I tried one that required an egg yolk - didn't win over any new fans. I tried one that didn't require rolling or chilling... again, no new fans. So I decided to quit changing what I already knew worked - flour, sugar, salt, butter and a bit of water.
The experiment then became the method of making my crust. I'd always used my food processor. Which was fine until it got time to roll out the dough - and then I keep feeling like I was over working the dough because it required too much rolling and extra flour...
I started making it by hand - cutting the butter into the dough. Which worked well, but I started to worry that I would overwork the dough just trying to get the butter to that "pebble-like consistency". And then I bought my KitchenAid. I have to admit, I was wary of being able to use it to create the sort of dough that would roll out easily and bake into a flakey crust.
I'm so happy that I decided to give it a try. I also finally decided to grate the butter into the flour mixture. Absolute genius. The result is a dough that just sticks together, chills well... and rolls out brilliantly. Oh - and when baked it holds firm without being dry. I'm so happy I decided to keep experimenting with this - especially since I don't want to disappoint my clients :0)
My new Classic Pie Dough
1 1/4 c. pastry flour
1 tbsp brown sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 c. COLD butter (I leave mine in the freezer until ready to grate)
1/4 c. COLD water (I leave the water in the freezer until I'm ready to use it)
Measure your dry ingredients and place in your mixing bowl. Set aside.
Now grate your stick of cold butter. Set aside.
If you're using your stand mixer, use the flat attachment. Combine the dry mixture at low speed for 15 seconds. Turn off the machine, add the butter. Again at low speed, combine the grated butter for about 45 seconds. You'll notice that the dough starts to resemble pebbles. With the mixer still going, slowly add the cold water - 1 tbsp at a time. You're dough will start to come together. You'll know that it is ready when you can pinch the dough together and it sticks. This is normally about a 10 second thing - the time it takes to incorporate the water.
Use your hand to bring the mixture together into a little disk. Wrap the disk in plastic wrap and cool in the fridge for between 30 minutes and 3 days - or freeze for up to 3 months.
When you're ready to roll it out, take the dough out of the fridge, let it warm up for about 5 minutes and then on a lightly floured surface, roll it out.
This dough was the easiest I have ever rolled out. And it blind baked beautifully. Practice does make perfect!