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Perfect, Flaky Pie Crust

based on Smitten Kitchen
Course Dessert
Keyword butter, flaky
Prep Time 15 minutes
Rolling Time 10 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes
Makes 2 single crusts (or 1 double)

Ingredients

  • cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, cold
  • ½ cup water, cold or iced
  • egg wash (optional)**

Instructions

For the Dough

  • Whisk together the flour and salt in a large bowl.
  • Cut the cold butter into small cubes (about 40 cubes per stick of butter). This will make it easier to cut the butter into the flour!
  • Drop the butter pieces into the flour mixture, keeping them as separate as possible. Using a pastry cutter, cut the butter into the flour, aiming for bean-size pieces of butter. Larger pieces of butter will result in very flaky pie dough, so do not overwork the dough or aim for a fine, even texture.
  • Pour the water in, a few tablespoons at a time, and fluff the flour mixture using a fork, dragging the bottom of the mixture up through the water. Use all of the water*; there will still be a lot of dry flour and shaggy bits in the bowl, but do not be tempted to add more, or the dough will be too sticky to work later.
  • Turn the contents of the bowl out onto a clean counter. Knead together by hand. Press the mixture together, then begin folding it, scooping the remaining dry bits of flour onto the center of the dough before folding. Continue to fold and knead until no dry bits of flour are left and the dough comes together smoothly. The more times you fold, the more flaky layers you will end up with.
  • Divide the dough in half. Wrap tightly in plastic wrap and press down into 1″ thick discs. Chill in the fridge for 30 minutes, or up to 2 days. (Beyond 2 days, the dough will begin to turn gray; to avoid this, double-wrap the discs and store in the freezer until ready to bake.)

To Roll and Bake

  • When ready to roll the crust, remove a disc from the fridge. If the dough chilled longer than 30 minutes, it may need to thaw for 15-20 minutes, to return to a somewhat softer, rollable temperature.
  • Sprinkle a clean countertop with flour. Place a disc of dough on the flour, and sprinkle the top with more flour.
  • Roll the dough out, until it is about 10″ wide, then carefully lift and redistribute flour underneath so it won't stick to the counter. Continue rolling until the crust is very thin and at least 18″ wide all around.
  • Place the pie plate on top of the crust and cut a wide circle around it. Fold the circle into quarters and transfer to the pie plate, unfolding and tucking any excess crust down into the pie plate.
  • Fill and bake according to the filling instructions.

Notes

*If you are willing to sacrifice flaky texture, you can make do with less water, which will allow the crust to hold its crimped edges more distinctly during baking.
**Optional: mix 1 egg with 1 tbsp. water to make an egg wash. Brush the top crust or the crimped edges of the bottom crust with the egg wash. This will help the crust bake to a golden sheen, but it does not affect flavor or texture.

Any extra pieces of crust can be rolled together and baked into pie crust cookies.