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Author Notes: This pie crust is a combination of my Grandma Nancy's amazing pies, my mom, my own ideas developed through trial and error, and a dash of inspiration from the Cook's Illustrated pie crust. —Rachel
Makes: 1 9" double crusted pie
cup butter (frozen)
tablespoons each vodka and water
pinches salt (if using unsalted butter)
cups flour (plus more for rolling
- Heap ice into a cocktail shaker until it is full. Pour the vodka over with water. Shake vigorously for 20 seconds or until the outside of the container is frosty. Set aside a cube of ice on a small plate near your rolling surface for the crust.
- Add the flour, salt, sugar to a large bowl and whisk to aerate. Add the lard and retrieve your butter from the freezer. Grate the butter on a coarse grater over the lard and flour. Using a pastry blender, combine the ingredients until just barely combined. The butter should not be mixed in all of the way, so that the crust will come out flaky.
- Take the cocktail shaker with the vodka and water and sprinkle over the butter and flour mixture. Mix in the vodka with your hands in the bowl until a ball forms. You may have to add a little more water to the ice in the shaker, and sprinkle the chilled water over the dough to get the mixture to come together.
- Once a soft dough has formed, divide it in two and turn it out onto a well-floured rolling surface. If the dough is too soft, put it in the freezer for a few minutes. If not using right away, pat it into two rounds and freeze.
- If you're using it right away, roll out one of the dough portions, rotating it a quarter turn after every couple of passes with the rolling pin (alternatively, you can use a wine bottle that has been washed). Fold gently into quarters and place in a 9 " pie pan. If you tear the dough somewhere along the way (something I always do without fail), take the ice cube that has been melting away on the plate, and rub it gently over the tear, then spackle it back together. Trim off any excess edges and crimp them decoratively. Remember to save your trimmings! My mom and grandma used to bake leftover pieces alongside the pie for a few minutes with a sprinkle of cinnamon and sugar.
- If you're making a fruit pie, crack the egg into the finished crust and swirl it around to coat the bottom. The egg white tends to help keep the moisture of the fruit pie from soaking into the bottom crust. Tip the egg out into a bowl and reserve it for an egg wash for the top crust.