ALL-BUTTER PASTRY CRUST FOR SWEET AND SAVORY PIES (PÂTE BRISÉE) (ENOUGH FOR BOTTOM AND TOP CRUST)
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus extra for rolling
1 cup (2 sticks or 8 ounces) unsalted butter, very-cold, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sugar
6 to 8 tablespoons ice water
Variation: Swap out 1/2 a cup of the flour with ground blanched almonds or almond flour
1 Mix flour, sugar, and salt: Put flour, sugar, and salt into the bowl of a food processor and pulse a couple times to mix.
2 Add butter, half at a time, pulsing several times after each addition: Add about half of the butter to the food processor and pulse several times. Then add the rest of the butter and pulse 6 to 8 times until the largest pieces of butter are about the size of large peas
3 Slowly add ice water: Sprinkle the mixture with about 1/4 cup of ice water (make sure there are no ice cubes in the water!) and pulse again. Then add more ice water, a tablespoon at a time, pulsing once or twice after each addition until the dough just barely begins to hold together.
You know that the mixture is ready if when you pinch some of the crumbly dough together with your fingers, it holds together. Be cautious with the amount of water you add, too much and the crust will be tough.
3 Make two dough disks: Carefully empty the crumbly dough mixture from the food processor on to a clean, dry, flat surface. Gather the mixture in a mound.
Divide the dough mixture into two even-sized mounds. Use your hands and knead each mound just enough to form each one into a disk. Do not over-knead! Kneading develops gluten which will toughen the dough, not something you want in a pastry crust. You should just knead enough so that the dough holds together without cracks.
If you started with cold butter you should be able to see small chunks of butter speckling the dough. This is a good thing. These small bits of butter will spread out into layers as the crust cooks so you have a flaky crust!
Sprinkle each disk with a little flour, wrap each one in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for one hour or up to 2 days.
4 Remove dough from refrigerator and let sit for a few minutes: Remove one crust disk from the refrigerator. Let sit at room temperature for 5-10 minutes in order to soften just enough to make rolling out a bit easier.
5 Roll out dough, place in pie dish: Roll out with a rolling pin on a lightly floured surface to a 12-inch circle; about 1/8 of an inch thick. As you roll out the dough, check if the dough is sticking to the surface below. If necessary, add a few sprinkles of flour under the dough to keep the dough from sticking.
Carefully place onto a 9-inch pie plate. Gently press the pie dough down so that it lines the bottom and sides of the pie plate.
Use a pair of kitchen scissors to trim the dough to within 1/2 inch of the edge of the pie dish.
6 Add filling to the pie.
7 Roll out second disk, place on top of filling: Roll out second disk of dough, as before. Gently place onto the top of the filling in the pie.
Trim excess dough with kitchen shears, leaving a 3/4 inch overhang. Fold the edge of the top piece of dough over and under the edge of the bottom piece of dough, pressing together.
Flute edges using thumb and forefinger or press with a fork.
Score the top of the pie with four 2-inch long cuts, so that steam from the cooking pie can escape.
HOW TO PRE-BAKE A PIE CRUST
If your recipe calls for a pre-baked crust, as many custard pie recipes do, follow all the steps above for a single, bottom crust only, without filling.
1 Freeze the crust it for at least a half hour, until chilled. This is an important step in pre-baking. Otherwise the crust will slip down the sides.
Preheat your oven to 350°F.
2 Line pie crust with aluminum foil: When the pie crust is sufficiently chilled, line the pie crust with aluminum foil. Let the foil extend over by a few inches on two sides to make it easier to lift to remove the pie weights when the baking is done.
3 Fill with pie weights: Fill the crust to the top with pie weights - dry beans, rice, or sugar. (Sugar works best.)
4 Bake: Bake at 350°F for 45-50 minutes if making a crust for a pie that will require further cooking, for example a quiche. Bake for 60 to 75 minutes if making a crust for a pie that you don't need to bake further.
5 Cool completely before filling. You may need to tent the edges of the pie with aluminum foil when you bake your pie, to keep the edges from getting too dried out and burnt.
This is the perfect pie crust for my Butternut Squash Quiche. Take a look.