Whether you’re filling a pie with spiced apples for Thanksgiving or making use of bountiful summer fruit, what better way to elevate this popular dessert than with homemade pastry dough? Our recipe for buttery pie dough is as easy as, well… pie! We make the dough in a food processor, which cuts down on both time and effort, but you can certainly mix the dough by hand. One thing is for sure — once you taste how tender and flaky it is, you’ll never go back to store-bought again.
Making homemade pastry dough can seem a little intimidating at first, but by following a few simple steps, your pie crusts will come out perfect every time:
For starters, don’t overmix the butter. The butter only needs about ten pulses in the food processor to achieve the ideal-sized pieces, which should resemble large peas. The butter pieces will form pockets of air in the dough. As they melt, steam will release and create a flaky texture.
Work with cold ingredients (especially the butter). You want the butter to remain firm as you mix the dough — the colder the butter, the flakier the pastry. Ditto for water. Use ice-cold water to prevent the butter from heating up any further. Be sure to strain out the ice cubes before drizzling the water into the dough, as the ice could compromise the structure and texture of the pie crust.
These crusts can be made a day ahead and kept in the refrigerator, or stored in the freezer for up to one month. That way, you can bake up a stunning pie, tart or galette any day of the week and get ahead on holiday prep while you’re at it.
- 2½ cups all-purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt or table salt
- 2 sticks (1 cup) cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
- 1/3 cup ice water, plus more as needed
In the bowl of food processor, combine the flour, sugar, and salt and pulse to blend. Add the butter and pulse about 10 times, or until the butter is in pea-size pieces; do not overprocess. While pulsing the processor, add 1/3 cup ice water, then pulse just until moist clumps of dough form, adding more water, 1 tablespoon at a time, if necessary.2.
Transfer the dough to a work surface and divide it in half. If making a double crusted pie (such as an apple pie with a lattice), make one half slightly larger and shape each piece into a thick disk. If making a single crusted pie (such as a pecan pie), divide the dough in half and shape into disks (freeze the second disk for another use). Wrap individually in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes before rolling out.