My preferred method for a flaky piecrust is to tip a barely-mixed glob of flour, butter, egg yolks, and milk onto the counter, gather it into a hill, and mash the heel of my hand down through the dough.
Then I shape it into two one-inch thick disks, wrap them tightly in plastic and refrigerate them for at least two hours, before rolling and baking.
The result is dough with streaks of smashed butter sandwiched between layers of flour. Once it’s rolled out and baked, the resulting crust is delicate and buttery, and very flaky.
It’s a terrific top crust for a savory pot pie for some of that leftover turkey, or as the base for sweet pies such as this apple pie.
Rich and flaky pie crust
Adapted from Joanne Chang’s recipe, Pastry Love, 2019
Makes two 9-inch piecrusts; or enough for a 10-inch apple pie and lattice top.
- 1 and 3/4 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup (2 sticks) cold, unsalted butter, cut into 12 pieces
- 2 egg yolks
- 3 tablespoons cold milk
- Mix the flour, sugar, and salt in the bowl of a stand-mixer.
- Add the 12 pieces of butter all at once, and use the paddle attachment to slowly combine until the mixture just holds together when you grab a handful. There will be visible lumps of butter.
- Mix the yolks and milk and add all at once to the butter/flour mixture. Mix very briefly, just until it comes together into a shaggy mess.
- Dump the mixture out onto the table and gather it into a tight mound. Using the palm of your hand, smear the dough from the top down the side of the mound to the table piece by piece, until the butter chunks are smeared into the dough, and the whole thing comes together. Press the dough into two flattened disks about 8 inches in diameter and an inch thick, and cover tightly in plastic wrap.
- Refrigerate for at least two hours.
- Roll each dough package out into a 10-inch circle, to line a 9-inch pie pan, or to drape over the top of your pot pie.
- If you are going to blind bake the crust, refrigerate it in the pie pan for at least 30 minutes.
- To blind bake, line the crust with a coffee filter or parchment, held down with dried beans or pie weights. Bake for 30 minutes at 350 degrees, until the edges are pale brown.
- Remove the crust from the oven, and remove the pie weights and coffee filter.
Fruit Farm Apple Pie
Makes 8 servings
- One 9-inch piecrust, plus another crust for the lattice top.
- 8 cups of peeled, cored and sliced apples, preferably a mixture of tart (Granny Smith) and sweet (Gala), crispy (Honeycrisp) and soft (Macoun) varieties.
- ¾ cup brown sugar
- ¼ cup flour
- ½ teaspoon of cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- An egg mixed with ½ teaspoon of water for a wash.
- Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Roll one of the unbaked piecrusts into a 10-inch circle, line a 9-inch pie pan, leaving a ¼ inch lip of crust all around, and blind-bake until light brown, about 30 minutes.
- Roll the second (unbaked) pie crust into a rectangle ¼ inch thick, and 11 inches long. Refrigerate it until ready to use.
- While the crust is baking, combine the apples, sugar, flour cinnamon, and salt. Mound it into the still warm, baked crust.
- Cut the refrigerated dough into eight 11-inch strips. Drape four strips parallel to each other across the pie. Drape the four remaining strips perpendicular to the first four to make a lattice top over the apples, and press the strips into the lip of the crust with your fingers.
- Brush the lattice and crust with the egg wash.
- Place the pie on a sheet pan, and bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour and 30 minutes. The lattice will be golden brown and puffy, and the apples will soften and collapse. Remove from the oven and serve warm.