Pie season is fast-approaching! Of course you can buy frozen piecrusts, but it's so easy and cheap to make from scratch, especially if you have a food processor. (Don't worry if you don't have a food processor — it's also pretty easy to do by hand. Easy as pie, you might say.)
- •Measure out 2 cups of flour.Nothing special. Just regular all-purpose flour. If you want to substitute whole wheat flour for 1/2 cup of the regular flour, that works well too and produces a nutty, slightly sweeter crust.
- •Cut two sticks of unsalted butter into small pieces. Put them in a bowl and then immediately put the bowl in the refrigerator until you are ready to use the butter.The colder the better, the flaky or the piecrust, so it's best to wait until the last possible second to use it.
- •Get a little salt.Preferably a finer grain. This isn't the time for coarse pretzel salt. You'll need one big pinch. Note: if you're using salted butter, skip this part.
- •Make a little bowl of ice water.You're only going to need a little bit and it's important that it's nice and cold:
- •Put the flour, butter, and salt in a bowl of a food processor.Alternately, just put them in a bowl.
- •Pulse until the mixture looks like coarse sand.If you're doing this by hand, use your hands to work the ingredients together until the mixture resembles coarse sand.
- •Stream in the water with the machine running, 1 tablespoon at a time, just until the mixture comes together. For me, this usually means 3 to 4 tablespoons.If you're doing this by hand, work in the water 1 tablespoon at a time, until the mixture starts to stick together.
- •The dough should look like this.When you press it, it should stick together.
- •Dump the dough onto a floured surface.
- •With floured hands, pat it into a circle about 6 inches in diameter.
- •Wrap the dough in plastic wrap.
- •Refrigerate the dough for at least an hour.Or, freeze it for up to 2 months. When you're ready to use it, defrost it in the fridge overnight.
- •When it's time to make a pie, roll your dough out into a large circle-ish shape.
- •To transfer it onto a pie plate, place a flowered rolling pin at one end, and gently roll up the dough, so it's entirely coiled around the rolling pin.
- •Pick it up carefully, and gently drape it over your prepared pie plate.
- •Press the dough gently into the pie plate so it starts to take shape.Use a knife or a pair of kitchen scissors to trim the excess dough. Save the dough scraps and use them to make a top for the pie, or bake pieces of it topped with sugar for a quick, delicious snack.
- •If you like, make a little decorative crimps in the side of the dough.The pie will be just as tasty without the crimps, so don't feel like you have to do it:
- •Now just fill, bake (I usually bake my pies at 375 for 35 to 40 minutes, depending on their filling), and serve!