People tend to have notable reactions when you mention pie dough. Some people love pie dough, one of them being a best friend of mine for whom I make pie dough cookies whenever I have time. Other people detest pie dough, and avoid it at all costs. Still others like pie dough, but have yet to ever try making it. Some people love making pie dough and have successfully used the same recipe for years. And then, there are people who try to make it, struggle, get frustrated, and end up in some form of pie dough hell.
My feelings about pie dough also change from time to time. Making a small batch of pie dough is blissful. I can pay attention to the details and the results are dependable, flaky and delicious. However, the reality of my job is that I never ever make a small batch of anything these days unless I’m procrastinating and avoiding taking inventory. Making a huge batch of pie dough is a challenge. It’s easy to over-work the dough (not good) and hard to assess how much moisture to add to the 80qt bowl.
Here’s the good news. Most of you don’t have to worry about how to make an 80qt batch of pie dough. I have some other good news: pie dough is not just for sweet pies. Chicken Pot Pie would be just Chicken Pot without the pie dough. And, with that said, I am happy to share with you my go-to pie dough recipe for when I make pies at home. It’s an all-butter crust, it tastes great, and it really does work. I have tweaked a recipe for pie dough from Rose Levy Beranbaum‘s recipe in her Pie and Pastry Bible cook book. There are a couple of key factors that I wouldn’t skip: only use pastry flour & make sure the butter is cold.
Pie Dough for a double crust pie
Unsalted Butter – 14 Tbs
Pastry Flour – 2 1/4 cups
Salt – 1/4 tsp
Baking Powder – 1/4 tsp
Sugar – 2 tsp
Ice Water – 5-6 Tbs
Cider Vinegar – 1 Tbs
- Cube the butter into small pieces and refrigerate. It’s so much easier cutting cold butter, so make sure it’s refrigerated before you cube it.
- Place pastry flour, salt, baking powder and sugar into a food processor or mixer. If you don’t have either of these, place these ingredients in a bowl.
- Add the cubed butter to the flour mixture and pulse or mix until the butter is the size of small beads. The flour mixture will be slightly yellow-ish in color. If you’re using your hands, you will want to break down the cubes of butter and incorporate them into the flour.
- Add 5 Tbs of water and 1 Tbs of cider vinegar. Pulse or mix very gently until the dough comes together and looks shaggy. Be careful not to over mix the dough at this point. Good pie dough at this point will feel dry & you’ll want to add more water. If possible, resist. If you can squeeze together a chunk of dough and it stays together, you have enough water. If it’s really dry and you can’t form a chunk of dough, add 1-2 Tbs of water and re-work the dough.
- If you hate getting your kitchen messy, do this next step directly over the bowl in which you mixed the dough. Eye-ball two equal parts of dough and shape them into flat discs. Wrap each disc with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator for at least an hour or over-night. This time in the refrigerator lets the dough relax and makes it much easier to roll out for the pie. If you like to make a small mess, lightly dust your counter top with flour and pour the dough onto your counter. Split the dough into two piles and gently work the dough until it comes together. Form two discs, wrap with plastic, place dough in fridge and everyone clean up the mess.
To roll out pie dough
Now, you don’t have any choice but to make a small mess. While this may deter some of you, trust me…it’s worth it.
- Remove chilled dough from the refrigerator and let sit at room temperature for around 20 minutes, or until you can work the dough without it cracking.
- Dust your counter top with flour, then dust both flat sides of the pie dough
- Using your hands, gently flatten the disc.
- Find your rolling pin, and start rolling. Make sure you keep dusting the dough with flour so that it doesn’t stick to your counter top or to the rolling pin. I like to roll from the center out to the edges. I also like to pick up the disc and rotate it frequently to help roll the dough into a circle. Before you beat yourself up at this step because your dough looks more like Texas than a circle, please relax and be nice to yourself. This is not easy, but it’s all fixable. Do the best you can. When your dough is thin (1/8″), carefully lift it and place it into the pie pan. Press the dough into the pan, and if possible, push the dough down toward the bottom/center of the pie pan. Doing this helps prevent excessive shrinkage when you bake your pie.
- Repeat step #4 with the second disc, except when you’re finished rolling out a circle, place the dough on a tray lined with parchment and place in the refrigerator.
With these discs of dough, you can do the following:
- Press the circle of dough into the bottom of your pie pan. Try to gently smush (key baking terminology) the dough toward the bottom center point. This will reduce shrinkage.
- Cut out shapes with a cookie cutter, sprinkle with sanding sugar or cinnamon sugar and bake at 400 for 7-8 minutes to make pie dough cookies.
- Use as a lid for a double crust pie
- Place on a sheetpan lined with parchment paper, fill the center with fruit and fold the edges of the pie dough up and over the fruit to make a gallette. Check out this amazing savory gallette recipe from Smitten Kitchen.