Tips & Techniques Baking & Desserts Summer Pie Primer: Making Pie Dough

The rich flavor and flake-making quality of butter produce a pie pastry that is both versatile and delicious. The butter should be very cold so that it will form layers in the crust that will contribute to overall flakiness. Do not overwork the dough or it will be tough.

Process the dry ingredients

Fit a food processor with the metal blade. Add the flour, sugar and salt to the processor’s work bowl. Pulse the machine 2 or 3 times to mix the ingredients evenly.

Add the butter and shortening

Using a sharp knife, cut the butter into 3/4-inch cubes and add them to the work bowl. 

Pulse to create coarse crumbs

Pulse the food processor 8 to 10 times. At this point, some of the butter pieces should be blended into the flour, but bits the size of peas should still be visible.

Add the ice water

Add the ice water and pulse the machine 10 to 12 times. To test the pie dough, stop the food processor and squeeze a piece of dough. If the dough crumbles, add more ice water, a tablespoon at a time, and pulse just until the dough holds together when pinched.

Check the consistency

When the dough is done, it should come together in a rough mass in the food processor bowl but not form a ball. Do not overmix or the crust will be tough.

Shape and chill the dough

Transfer the dough to a floured work surface. Shape the dough into a 6-inch disk. Wrap well in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour or up to overnight.