Stand Mixer Pie Dough

January 16, 2019

Test Kitchen-Approved

Author Notes: This easy-breezy method lets the stand mixer do all the work. (Just like cookie dough or cake batter, but way quicker.) The big advantages: Using the paddle attachment instead of your hands means the butter is less likely to melt, and you’re more likely to get a flaky crust. And using the open mixer instead of a lidded food processor means you can see everything super clearly.

A few notes about ingredients: I’ve taken to using Gold Medal bleached all-purpose, a la Stella Parks, because of its protein content (about 10 percent, just right for pie dough). I developed this with Diamond Crystal kosher salt (if you have Morton’s, use half the amount). And for the very cold water—if you keep a pitcher of water in the fridge like me, that works, or add a couple ice cubes to a glass of cold tap water and let sit for a few minutes.

If photos of each step helpful sound helpful to you, please click here.
Emma Laperruque

Makes: 1 9-inch single-crust
Prep time: 1 hrs 15 min

Ingredients

  • 12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, refrigerated until right before you use it
  • 1 1/2 cups (192 grams) all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 cup very cold water (see headnote), plus more as needed
In This Recipe

Directions

  1. Cut the butter into pieces—aim for 10 from the full-stick and 5 from the half-stick (so each one is slightly smaller than 1 tablespoon). Put the cut-up butter in the freezer for a few minutes, while you work on the dry ingredients.
  2. Combine the flour, sugar, and salt in the bowl of a standing mixer, fitted with a paddle attachment. Mix for a few seconds, just to combine, then turn off.
  3. Add the butter pieces to the dry ingredients. Mix on the lowest setting possible for 5 to 10 seconds—pulsing on/off if necessary, so the flour doesn’t fly out of the bowl—then turn off. Err on the side of undermixing at this step. You want each butter piece to be coated in flour and slightly bashed by the paddle, but most of the pieces should be barely smaller than when you started.
  4. Turn on the mixer to the lowest setting possible, slowly pour in the 1/4 cup very cold water. Once it’s all in, let the mixer run for a couple more seconds, then turn off and check in with the dough. The end goal is a very shaggy dough that holds together when squeezed, with some dough starting to grab onto the paddle attachment, and a few flour streaks on the side of the bowl. If the dough is still quite powdery and dry in some places and the sides of the bowl are still flour-coated, continue to mix while adding another tablespoon of water, and letting that incorporate for a couple seconds. (Repeat with more water—but only a very small amount!—if needed.)
  5. Use your hands to gather the dough into a mass and dump onto a piece of plastic wrap. Use the plastic wrap to form the dough into a ball, then smush into a disc with your hands, so the plastic wrap is extremely snug. (You can wrap with another piece of plastic wrap for extra insurance, which I always like to.)
  6. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour before using, or for up to 2 days. This can also be frozen for up to 1 month.

More Great Recipes:
Pastry|Pie|American|Butter|5 Ingredients or Fewer|Dessert

Reviews (17) Questions (1)

17 Reviews

Mark March 14, 2019
Why kosher salt? Presumably you want the salt to dissolve, in which case it seems like table salt would be better. (It's also cheaper, and it's available non-iodized, if you don't like the flavor of iodized salt.)
 
Author Comment
Emma L. March 18, 2019
Hi Mark! All the professional kitchens that I worked in use kosher salt, so it became a staple in my own kitchen, too.
 
Mark March 18, 2019
It certainly has its place! I stock both in my pantry, but I've always thought it weird when a baking recipe calls for kosher salt. So I thought I'd ask if there was a reason. May I suggest, please provide equivalents for table salt when appropriate? Thanks!
 
Caroljay86 January 22, 2019
This method is very close to the one I use for pastry and for biscuit and scones. I use some shortening in my pastry recipe, and I use a stand mixer for the entire process. Where I differ is that, at the point where you add the cubed butter, I do mix on the lowest speed, just until the butter cubes are somewhat smaller and misshapen. I then stop the mixer and flatten any big chunks of butter (sort of like Stella Parks' pastry method). When all the butter pieces are flattened, I mix again a few seconds, and then proceed with the ice water.
 
April January 21, 2019
Good morning. I made this crust yesterday for the bottom of an apple crumb pie. It was crispy and delicious! As other commenters, I also have used the quick method in the food processor successfully, but this one is even easier. Plus, my stand mixer already sits out, so I didn't have to lug out another machine. I did need to add extra water. Well done, thank you!
 
Author Comment
Emma L. January 21, 2019
Thanks, April—so glad it turned out well for you!
 
BerryBaby January 20, 2019
Haven't tried using the stand mixer. My food processor does a fabulous job as well. Next time I'll give the mixer a try.
 
Natasha January 19, 2019
I freeze unsalted butter we buy and pull it from the freezer, as needed, for baking and cooking. Frozen butter, chopped into chunks by hand with a large blade knife or cleaver, then whirled in food processor with flour + salt, followed by adding a few soup-sized spoonfuls of water to bring it all together, also makes an easy, excellent crust. Form dough into a disk, wrap in wax paper, and let rest in the fridge 45 minutes to 1 hour before rolling out.
 
Ella Q. January 19, 2019
Emma, just tried this and have never had flakier pie dough! Such a wonderful, easy, foolproof method.
 
Author Comment
Emma L. January 20, 2019
Thank you, Ella! That means a lot :)
 
SusanInLondon January 19, 2019
Lovely! The best pastry I’ve made for months.
I did have to manually break down some bigger bulbs of butter still, and it also shrank quite a bit. But FLAKY and CRISPY! Wow!
 
SusanInLondon January 19, 2019
Blobs! (Autocorrect 🙀)
 
Author Comment
Emma L. January 20, 2019
Thanks, Susan—so glad you enjoyed! (P.S. chilling or freezing pie pastry before baking helps get ahead of any shrinkage.)
 
Joyce D. January 17, 2019
In instruction #4, you say add a tablespoon of flour to an already floury mix. Did you mean to add a tablespoon of cold water?
Plus, we live and travel in our Motorhome, so with limited space, I don’t carry my stand mixer. How can I use my hand mixer, or just do the mixing by hand?
I’m new to your articles and newsletter, and look forward to learning better and new cooking habits.
 
Author Comment
Emma L. January 17, 2019
Hi Joyce—yes, that should be water, and it's been updated! I wouldn't recommend a hand mixer for this, since the beaters are different than a paddle attachment. But here's a great recipe for an all-butter pie dough, mixed by hand: https://food52.com/recipes/72570-stella-parks-no-stress-super-flaky-pie-crust
 
Isabel January 17, 2019
Just a note-there is an error at the end of step 4, you should add a tablepoon of ice water not flour, according to the description in the article. Looking forward to trying it!
 
Author Comment
Emma L. January 17, 2019
Thanks so much for that catch, Isabel! All fixed.