Extra-Flaky Pie Crust
This easy, sturdy all-butter crust has one unorthodox ingredient in it: baking powder. Cheryl Day of Back in the Day Bakery in Savannah, Ga., learned to add a splash of apple cider vinegar to the dough from her grandmother; it helps the crust stay tender by preventing gluten from forming. But the baking powder gives it “a little lift,” she said, which helps the butter and flour form flaky layers — like a biscuit.
- Serves: 2 persons
- 2 ½cups/320 grams unbleached all-purpose flour
- 1tablespoon granulated sugar
- 1teaspoon baking powder, preferably aluminum-free
- 1teaspoon fine sea salt
- ½cup/120 milliliters ice water
- 1tablespoon cider vinegar
- 1cup/225 grams cold unsalted butter (2 sticks), cut into 1-inch cubes
Step 1In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt; set aside.
Step 2In a measuring cup or a small bowl, combine the water and vinegar; set aside.
Step 3Gently toss the butter in the flour mixture until coated, then use a pastry blender to cut the butter into the flour. (You should have pieces of butter that range from sandy patches to pea-size chunks, with some larger bits as well.)
Step 4Drizzle 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 a little 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 slightly with your hand, it should mostly hold together.
Step 5Dump the dough out onto an unfloured work surface and gather it together into a tight mound. Using the heel of your hand, smear the dough a little 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. Gather the dough back together with a bench scraper, layering the clumps of dough on top of one another.
Step 6Repeat the process once or twice more; the dough should still have some big pieces of butter visible.
Step 7Cut the dough in half. Shape each piece into a disk and flatten it. Wrap the disks in plastic and put in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour, or overnight, to rest.
Step 8The dough can be stored for 3 days in the refrigerator or up to 1 month in the freezer. If making the dough in advance to freeze: Roll out the dough on a piece of parchment paper, then carefully roll it up in the parchment. Write the date on the parchment and pop into the freezer to firm up, about 30 minutes. Then wrap the crust securely in plastic wrap. Defrost the dough in the refrigerator overnight or thaw it on the kitchen counter for about 30 minutes before using.)
Step 9Use the dough for double-crust pie recipes or cut it into disks to prepare Berry Hand Pies.