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A really good pie dough recipe is something that everyone should have access to. I was used to be intimidated by pie dough. Peoples expectations of this kitchen basic were wild! Everyone seemed to have a story about this terrible chewy dough that ruined some family gathering. Whoa. Chill. It’s pie.
When I finally learned to make pie, I realized that it was simply science, and suddenly things didn’t seem so scary! These two doughs (which are essentially the same dough, except one is sweet and one isn’t) are what I use for all my pies and quiche now. I’ve tried out other recipes, and never enjoyed them as much as this one.
To get that beautiful flaky and crispy dough texture all you need to do is keep your butter and dough cold. Seriously. That’s all. Always use butter straight out of the fridge for pie dough. It’s tempting if you’re used to cookie baking to have your butter pulled out of the fridge in advance. Don’t give in! You want it cold, cold, cold. I use my food processor these days to make my dough, so fridge temp butter is great. But when I used to make it in a bowl by hand I would freeze my butter in a few chunks, then use a cheese grater to grate it into my flour. (I’ll go through both methods below) So no joke gang. Keep. It. Chill.
Don’t get too Kneady!
The other thing that seems to drive people to arguments and fowl moods is chewy or hard pie crusts. That’s also science! When you’re working with flour, you always need to remember our little friend, gluten. In bread making you knead and knead your dough so that the gluten is strong and tight. This gives you great bread, but not so nice pie dough. In my recipe, I barely pull the dough together. Only a minimal amount of folding and pressing is necessary to bring the dough together. It will actually be very delicate to work with, and you can’t always do fancy patterns in it. But you will for sure win a new friend every time you serve it.
Sweet or Savoury?
The only difference between the sweet and savoury dough here is the sugar. But you’ll notice that I don’t actually add that much sugar. For my sweet pies, I don’t want an ultra sweet crust. I like it flaky and just a hint sweet. Like a croissant. That way, the filling can really shine, and be the star of the show. Occasionally I will add orange or lemon zest to the dough if the pie I’m making would be complimented by that.
In the savoury crust, I tend to add herbs and a touch of heat. This is simply because I love the added depth it gives to the dough. If you want to add herbs and spices, just consider what you’re going to be filling the dough with, and choose your herbs to match!
Sweet Or Savoury Pie Dough
- 2 cups AP Flour Plus extra for dusting
- 1 cup unsalted butter
- 2 eggs
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/3 cup sugar Omit for Savoury Dough
- 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar Omit for Sweet Dough
- 1 tsp Each, Basil, Thyme & Chili Powder Optional. Omit for Sweet Dough
For Hand Mixing:
- If you are mixing up your dough by hand, cut your butter into 2-3 chunks and put into the freezer until very hard.
- Sift together your flour and salt in a large bowl. If adding herbs, add them now.
- For Sweet Dough:Combine the eggs and sugar in a measuring cup. Mix thoroughly.
- For Savoury Dough:Combine the eggs and cider vinegar in a measuring cup. Mix thoroughly.
- Once your butter is pretty solid, remove one chunk at a time and grate on the large side of a cheese grater into your flour/salt mix. Do this will all your butter. If it gets soft, put it back in the freezer for a few minutes.
- When all your butter is in, using clean hands, gently and quickly mix the butter shavings into your flour. While you’re mixing, gently rub the flour and butter together between your hands. This whole process takes a few minutes. You’re done when the flour and butter mix resembles coarse wet sand.
- Next, Pour your egg mixture over the flour butter mixture. Stir quickly, then begin to knead the dough together. You’ll need to press it a bit to get it together. Once it forms into a clump, it’s done. Press it into a disc shape, cover with plastic wrap and pop in the fridge until you’re ready to roll it out.
For Food Processor Mixing:
- Place flour and salt (and herbs or zest if using) into the bowl of your food processor.
- Remove your butter from the fridge and cut into small chunks. Add these into the food processor and secure the lid.
- Pulse the flour and butter, until the texture resembles coarse wet sand. This will only take a 5-6 good pulses.
- For Sweet Dough:Combine the eggs and sugar in a measuring cup, mix thoroughly.
- For Savoury Dough:Combine the eggs and cider vinegar in a measuring cup, mix thoroughly.
- Pour your egg mixture into your food processor. Pulse a few times quickly, followed by a few times for a bit longer. Once the dough begins to clump together, stop.
- Flip the crumbly dough out onto a lightly floured counter. Give it a few folds and kneads (like, 2-3) and form into a disc. Wrap in plastic wrap, and store in the fridge until you’re ready to roll it out.