I strongly believe that if you have some extra time, you should make your pie dough from scratch. It is relatively easy and can be made up to 2 months in advance. If you have a food processor, it is a complete cinch – if not, you just have to sweat a little more.
This first recipe is for my favorite all butter recipe – Martha Stewart’s Pate Brisee. I have also adapted it to make a vegan equivalent. No matter which one you choose, THE KEY to a flaky crust is keeping it cold and not overworking it. The reason you cut the fat (butter or shortening) into small pieces it to leave small clumps of fat that can burst in the oven and create layers (or flakes) in the crust.
Both crusts make enough for two 9″ pies or 1 two-crust pie. They can also both be used for savory or sweet pies. Yum!
Ingredients for all butter crust:
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sugar
2 sticks unsalted butter, chilled, cut into small 1/2 inch cubes, then frozen until ready to use
1/4 to 1/2 cup ice water
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon sugar
2 sticks Earth Balance, chilled, cut into small 1/2 inch cubes, then frozen until ready to use
4 tablespoons ice water
Directions (for both types of crust):
In the food processor, combine flour, salt, and sugar.
Add butter (or butter substitute), and process until the mixture resembles coarse meal, 8 to 10 seconds.
While the machine is running, add ice water in a slow, steady stream through feed tube. Pulse until dough holds together – it shouldn’t be wet or sticky. Try not to pulse for very long, as the longer your work it, the warmer the butter gets. To test, squeeze a small amount together: If it is too crumbly, add more ice water, 1 tablespoon at a time.
Divide dough into two equal balls.
Flatten each ball into a disc and wrap in plastic. Transfer to the refrigerator and chill at least 1 hour. Dough may be stored, frozen, up to 2 months.
When you are ready to use the dough, roll out between two sheets of plastic wrap, flipping occasionally as needed. Roll until the dough is roundish (can fit into bottom of pan) and is evenly 1/4 ” thin.
Combine dry ingredients using a fork. Add butter and mix using a pastry knife or two knives to blend in butter/butter substiute. Stop when it resembles small peas in the flour. Try not to overwork, as you want the butter to stay COLD. Add the water a tablespoon at a time, using the pastry knife. Then, follow the rest of the food processor steps…