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Flaky Pie or Tart Dough

Serves: Makes 1 (9-or 10-inch) pie shell


  • 1-¼ (6-¼ ounces) cups all-purpose flour
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 stick (4 ounces) unsalted butter, cold, cut into ½-inch cubes
  • ¼ to ⅓ cup ice water


This recipe can be used to make both sweet and savory pies and tarts. You can make the dough ahead of time, wrap in plastic and refrigerate up to 2 days or freeze for 1 month. You can also save more time by making the dough in the food processor. Place the flour and cold butter in the processor bowl and pulse to cut the butter into the flour, then transfer to a large mixing bowl and proceed with the recipe. Make sure to weigh your ingredients for best results.

To make the dough, place the flour and salt in a large mixing bowl. Using a pastry blender, two knives or your fingers, cut or rub the butter into the flour mixture until the butter pieces are the size of peas. Sprinkle ice water, 1 tablespoon at a time, over the flour mixture. Stir and fluff the flour mixture with a fork until shaggy clumps form. Pick up the large clumps and squeeze to test for moisture. If clumps hold together, transfer them to a work surface and continue adding tablespoons of ice water and stirring with the fork.

Gather the clumps of dough together on the work surface. If the butter feels soft, cover the dough with plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 30 minutes before proceeding. If the butter still feels cold, knead the dough gently 4 or 5 times. If dough falls apart, return it to the mixing bowl and sprinkle teaspoons of ice water and mix with a fork until dough holds together when squeezed.

Flatten the dough into a disk about 6 inches wide, cover in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes before rolling.

Cindy Mushet and Sur La Table, The Art & Soul of Baking (Andrews McMeel)

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