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Category: Desserts

Flaky pie dough

Flaky pie dough
Kirk McKoy /Los Angels Times

When I tell people I grew up in a family of pie bakers, it’s easy to imagine I’m bragging. My mother’s pies are legendary — rich, velvety custard fillings or mounded fruit pies, each cradled in an ornately decorated crust, ... Read more

Total time: 20 minutes, plus chilling times | Makes enough for 1 (9-inch) single crust pie with extra dough for a decorative or lattice top
Note: The simple syrup step is inspired by Nicole Rucker.
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • ¼ cup water
  • 2 ¼ teaspoons cider vinegar
  • 2 ¼ cups (9.6 ounces) bleached all-purpose flour, chilled
  • Generous 1 teaspoon salt
  • 4 tablespoons cold shortening or lard
  • ½ cup (1 stick) cold butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • Ice water, if needed
  • Egg white, for brushing a par- or blind-baked shell

Step 1In a small bowl, combine the sugar with the water, stirring until the sugar is dissolved to form a simple syrup. Stir the cider vinegar in with the syrup. Cover and refrigerate until well-chilled.

Step 2To make the dough using a food processor, pulse together the flour and salt until thoroughly combined. Add the shortening and pulse until incorporated (the dough will resemble moist sand). Add the butter and pulse just until the butter is reduced to pea-sized pieces. Sprinkle the syrup over the mixture and pulse a few times until incorporated. Remove the crumbly mixture to a large bowl and very gently press or knead the mixture until it comes together to form a dough, adding additional ice water, a tablespoon at a time, if needed. Mold the dough into a disk roughly 6 inches in diameter. Cover the disk tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate for about 1 hour.

Step 3To make the dough by hand, whisk together the flour and salt in a large bowl. Add the shortening and incorporate using a pastry cutter or fork (the dough will resemble moist sand). Cut in the butter just until it is reduced to pea-sized pieces. Sprinkle the syrup over the mixture, and stir together just until incorporated. Gently press or knead the mixture until it comes together to form a dough, adding additional ice water, a tablespoon at a time, if needed. Mold the dough into a disk roughly 6 inches in diameter. Cover the disk tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate for about 1 hour.

Step 4On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough into a large round roughly 1/8-inch thick. Place in the baking dish or pan, trimming any excess that extends more than 1 inch from the sides of the dish and crimping the edges as desired. (One trick I use is to roll out the dough onto floured parchment or wax paper, invert and center the pie dish over the dough and then flip the dough into the dish.) Use any extra dough to make a decorative border (brush the edges of the unbaked crust with water or egg white before pressing any cutouts or other decorations) or save it for later use: Form the dough into a disk, cover tightly and refrigerate until needed. Freeze the formed shell for 20 to 30 minutes before filling and baking.

Step 5If par-baking (or blind-baking) the crust, line the frozen shell with parchment and fill with pie weights. Bake in a 400-degree oven for 15 to 20 minutes, then remove the weights and parchment, prick the sides and bottom a few times with a fork and bake until the crust bottom is dry and lightly colored, an additional 10 to 15 minutes (longer if fully baking the shell). To “waterproof” a par-baked crust, cool the crust for several minutes, then brush the bottom and sides of the crust with egg white before filling.

Each of 8 servings:
Calories 289; Protein 4 grams; Carbohydrates 28 grams; Fiber 1 gram; Fat 18 grams; Saturated fat 9 grams; Cholesterol 31 mg; Sugar 2 grams; Sodium 293 mg
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