Basic Pie Crust | 1
1 The first step is to incorporate the fat (butter) into the flour. There are a whole slew of ways to do so, with the food processor method being the easiest. If you should be so lucky as to possess a food processor, simply dump the flour, salt and sugar in the food processor container and pulse a few times to combine. Add the butter and process for another 8-10 seconds, just until the flour and butter are loosely blended and the mixture looks like coarse cornmeal. Do not overprocess, unless, of course, you actually want a dense pie crust.
Low- tech methods can also yield perfectly fine results. You can buy a pastry blender, a handy little device specifically created for cutting fat into flour. But personally, I prefer to just work with my hands. Cut the butter slices into quarters. After combining the flour, salt and sugar in a bowl, sprinkle the butter bits over the dry mixture. Using your fingers, pick up the butter bits and rub them quickly but firmly into the flour, working your way through the entire mixture. If the mixture starts to feel greasy, toss the bowl back into the fridge to let the butter firm up. Again, youíll know youíre done when you have a bowl of stuff that resembles coarse cornmeal.
2 Working in the mixing bowl, sprinkle 3 Tbsp. of ice water over the cornmeal-like mixture and use a spatula or wooden spoon to sort of squash and turn the contents, squash and turn, until the mixture starts to get cohesive. If the mixture seems too dry, add up to another tablespoon of water. When the mixture starts to come together, dive in with your hands and form it into a ball. Wrap the ball in plastic, flatten it into a disk, and toss it into the freezer for 10 minutes to firm up (alternatively, you can also stick it in the refrigerator for 30 min to a couple of days, or freeze it for much later use).
3 After the dough has been chilled, youíre ready to roll it out. Place the dough between two large sheets of plastic wrap that have been dusted with flour (thisíll keep the dough from sticking). On a nice flat surface, roll out the dough from the center out until you have a big, flat, round circle thatís more than large enough to cover your pie plate (remember, the dough will need to be able to extend almost an inch or so over the edges all around.) If the dough is very sticky from the get-go, add more flour; if it doesnít get gooey until after youíve been working with it for awhile, toss it back into the fridge to stiffen up. The dough should be firm, but not too hard so as to make it a struggle to roll it out.