This recipe, excerpted from Cheryl Day’s Treasury of Southern Baking (Artisan Books 2021), produces a flavorful, super-tender flaky crust. Look for European-style butter, which has more butterfat and less water than other brands and yields a shatteringly flaky crust. Great for all fillings.
Photo by: James Smith
Makes 2 (9-inch) pie crusts
2½ cups flour
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon fine sea salt
½ cup ice water
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
1 cup cold unsalted butter, cut into 1-inch cubes
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Set aside. In a large measuring cup or small bowl, combine water and vinegar. Set aside.
- Toss pieces of butter in flour mixture to coat, then use a pastry blender to cut butter into flour. You should have various-sized pieces of butter ranging from coarse sandy patches to flat shaggy pieces to pea-sized chunks, with some larger bits as well. Drizzle in about half of the ice water mixture and stir lightly with a fork until the flour is evenly moistened and the dough starts to come together. If the dough seems dry, add more ice water, 1 to 2 tablespoons at a time. The dough will still look a bit shaggy at this point. If you grab a small piece of dough and press it lightly with your hand, it should mostly hold together.
- Dump dough out onto an unfloured work surface and gather it together into a tight mound. Using the heel of your hand, smear dough a littler at a time, pushing it away from you and working your way down the mass of dough to create flat layers of flour and butter. Then gather the dough back together with a bench scraper, layering the clumps of dough on top of one another. Repeat the process once or twice more; the dough should still have some big pieces of butter visible.
- Cut dough in half and shape each piece into a flattened disk. Wrap each in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour, or overnight. The dough can be stored for up to 3 days in the refrigerator or up to 1 month in the freezer. If frozen, thaw in the refrigerator overnight.
- To parbake: Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Dock the bottom of the crust with a fork. Line the crust with parchment paper an fill with dried beans, rice, or pie weights. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, then remove parchment and weights.
- Excerpted from Cheryl Day's Treasury of Southern Baking by Cheryl Day (Artisan Books). Copyright © 2021