Flaky pie shell

Yield: 4 servings

Measure Ingredient
1⅓ cup All-purpose flour
¾ teaspoon Salt
¾ teaspoon Sugar
4 tablespoons Cold unsalted butter, cut
\N \N Into 1/2-inch dice
4 tablespoons Cold vegetable shortening,
\N \N Cut into small pieces
3 \N To 4 tablespoons ice water

In a food processor, pulse the flour, salt and sugar until mixed. Add the butter and shortening and pulse until the mixture resembles coarse meal with particles the size of peas.

Drizzle the ice water evenly over the mixture and pulse 8 to 12 times, until the dough forms small clumps. Turn out the dough onto a work surface, scraping the bowl well. Using the heel of your hand, gently press the dough into the table with a few quick strokes. Gather the dough together and flatten it into a disk about 4 inches in diameter.

Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 4 hours or overnight.

Place the disk of chilled dough on a lightly floured surface and flour the top of the dough. Using your hands, press the dough into a 6-inch round. Smooth the cracking edges with your fingers. Roll the dough lightly with a floured rolling pin into a 9-inch round, rotating and flipping the dough over every few strokes to ensure even thickness. If the dough sticks to the table or rolling pin, use a dough scraper and dust both again with flour. If the edges crack again, pinch them together with your fingers. Now roll out the round of dough from the center until it reaches a diameter of about 12 inches or 1½ inches larger in circumference than a 9-inch pie pan placed face down on the dough. If the dough is sticking to the table, loosen it with a floured long metal spatula.

Fold the dough round in half. Center it over the pie pan and unfold it. Gently press the dough against the bottom and sides of the pan without stretching it. Patch any holes in the dough by pressing scraps onto the tear. If the edge of the dough is very uneven, trim it with scissors so that it overhangs the rim of the pan by 1-inch.

The dough should touch but not drag on the table. Fold the overhanging dough under and crimp decoratively. (If you are pre-baking the crust, prick a few holes in the bottom of the shell with a fork.) Refrigerate the pie shell for at least 30 minutes or wrap and refrigerate for up to 2 days. (The pie shell can also be frozen for up to 2 months. Defrost overnight in the refrigerator.) To bake the crust:

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Line the chilled pie shell with foil, making sure the foil completely covers the crimped edge (this may take an extra piece of foil) and weigh down with pie weights, dried beans or rice. Bake the shell in the center of the oven for 20 to 30 minutes, or until the edges are lightly golden. Take the pie out of the oven and remove the foil and weights. The dough will look raw in the center. Bake the empty shell for 12 to 15 minutes longer, until golden brown all over.

Yield: One 9-inch pie shell


All Recipes Courtesy of Peggy Cullen

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