Food & Drink

Pie dough

Pie dough

1 1/2 cups (6 1/2 ounces) mellow pastry blend or King Arthur unbleached all-purpose flour

1 tablespoon (1/8 ounce) buttermilk powder (optional)

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 cup (1/2 stick, 2 ounces) butter

1/4 cup (11/2 ounces) lard or vegetable shortening

1 teaspoon white or cider vinegar

3 to 5 tablespoons (1 1/2 to 2 1/2 ounces) cold water

Whisk together all dry ingredients, reserving a few tablespoons of flour. Cut in half of the fat, working mixture until it's crumbly.

Place reserved flour on your work surface, and coat remaining fat with flour. Use a rolling pin orheel of your hand to flatten the fat till it's about 1/2-inch thick. Break this flour-coated fat into 1-inch pieces, and mix it into dough, just until it's evenly distributed; some of the pieces of flour-coated fat should break into smaller pieces.

Sprinkle liquid over dough while tossing with fork. Just as soon as dough becomes cohesive (You can squeeze it into ball easily), stop mixing; there still should be visible pieces of fat in dough. Flatten dough into disk, and wrap it in plastic wrap or waxed paper. Refrigerate for 30 minutes; this resting period allows the flour to absorb the water, making the dough easier to roll out.

Flour your work surface, and roll the dough into a 12-by 9-inch rectangle. If it isn't holding together well, sprinkle it lightly with a couple teaspoons of water. Fold the dough into thirds (like a letter), then fold it into thirds the opposite way, to form a rough square. Wrap it well, and refrigerate again.

When you're "ready to roll," remove dough from refrigerator. If dough is made with all lard and/or vegetable shortening, you'll be able to work with it directly from refrigerator. A dough made with all butter will need to warm slightly (10 to 15 minutes) before rolling, as butter becomes brittle when it's refrigerated. Dough made with combination of butter and shortening should rest for about 5 minutes at room temperature before rolling. Roll the dough to the size needed (about 13 inches for a 9-inch pie). Fill and bake as directed in your recipe.

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