This is one of our staple crusts used at the shop. It's also featured in a variety of our pies included in The Four and Twenty Blackbirds Pie Book. —ElsenEM
Test Kitchen Notes
As we gear up for the holidays, there comes a point when everyone has to have their go-to, classic, can't-fail pie crust recipe. This version, which features cider vinegar and, obviously, lots of butter, is one of our favorites. Just keep in mind that it's best to work quickly, so the butter doesn't get too warmed when incorporating it, and make sure it's very cold before you get started. It's also recommended using your hands or bench scraper to mix instead of a food processor.
After our tester, Sarah Jampel, made this recipe, here are some helpful notes to keep in mind: "I loved making this dough, even though the recipe does call for dirtying a bench scraper and a pastry blender. While there is value in using your hands to feel the texture of the dough, I find it easier to keep the temperature under control when I'm not warming up the ingredients with my body heat. The dough rolled out easily, cracking in only a few areas. I was surprised by the impact of a small amount of an ingredient (here, it's vinegar, not shortening)—but this time, pleasantly so! The pie crust had a tang I was not expecting, and was one of the highest-rising doughs in the group: The discs look like biscuits in miniature! ... It might very well be myth that vinegar makes pie dough more tender, but based on these results, if I have vinegar in my pantry, I'll surely be adding it to my pie dough, if only for the very subtle zing it added." —The Editors
- Prep time 1 hour 15 minutes
- Makes Dough for 1 single-crust 9- to 10-inch pie or tart
1 1/4 cups
unbleached all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons
(1 stick) cold unsalted butter, cut into ½-inch pieces
- In a large bowl, stir the flour, sugar, and salt. Add the butter and coat with the flour mixture with a bench scraper or spatula.
- Using a pastry blender, cut the butter into the flour mixture, working quickly until mostly pea-size pieces of butter remain (a few larger pieces are okay; be careful not to overblend).
- In a large measuring cup or small bowl, combine the water, ice, and vinegar. Sprinkle 2 tablespoons of the ice water mixture over the flour mixture. Mix and cut it in with the bench scraper or spatula until fully incorporated.
- Add more of the ice water mixture, 1 to 2 tablespoons at a time, using the bench scraper or your hands (or both) to mix until the dough comes together in a ball, with some dry bits remaining.
- Squeeze and pinch with your fingertips to bring all the dough together, sprinkling the dry bits with small drops of the ice water mixture, if necessary, to combine.
- Shape the dough into a flat disc, wrap in plastic, and refrigerate for at least 1 hour or up to preferably overnight to give the crust time to mellow.
- If making the double-crust version, divide the dough in half before shaping each portion into flat discs.
- Do Ahead: The dough can be made 3 days ahead. Wrap tightly and keep chilled, or freeze for up to 1 month.