A 3 – 2 – 1 Pie Pastry

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So you want to make a pie for Thanksgiving…

Here’s an exceptionally easy recipe that reaches back to French pastry technique, using just a fraction more butter than a typical American pie to achieve a more forgiving pastry and a classic tender-flaky result.

The recipe itself is a simple proportion: 3 parts flour, 2 parts cold butter, 1 part cold water (by weight).

And the idea is to sidestep a few basic problems of pastry that begin when you add water to flour by first ‘waterproofing’ the dough with a little bit of extra butter.

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A basic two crust 9-inch pie weighs out to

  • 12 oz. all-purpose white flour

  • 8 oz. cold butter (sugar-cube-sized pieces)

  • 4 oz. cold water

  • .25 oz. salt (about 1 teaspoon kosher salt)

The easiest method is in a food processor. Add the flour and salt to the mixer bowl. Add half of the butter to the flour. Process thoroughly to a cornmeal-like texture.

Add the rest of the butter and briefly process in quick bursts, until the butter is evenly, but not entirely incorporated, there should be visible bits of butter (20-30 seconds).

Lastly, add the water and quickly process in bursts until the dough partially comes together into a cohesive mass (10-15 seconds).

Remove the dough. Give a light knead or two on a floured surface to completely incorporate. Divide into two portions — one slightly larger than the other — and shape into flat round disks.

Wrap each in plastic and refrigerate for at least an hour.

  • For cold, stiff dough, let it warm slightly before working
  • With less fear of overworking a ‘waterproofed’ dough, you can even give the pastry a ‘turn’ or two as you would with puff pastry prior to chilling

  • Afraid you won’t have enough? Give yourself a little breathing room with

    • 15 oz. flour
    • 10 oz. butter
    • 5 oz. water

Roll out and fill.

Bake in a 425 F. oven.