This all-purpose pie crust lets the stand mixer do all the job. The biggest advantage of using a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment instead of using your hands is, it doesn't melt the butter. All you will get is the gold medal worth of melt in your mouth's crust. Another advantage of an open stand mixer instead of an enclosed food processor is the luxury to watch clearly what's happening while mixing.
A few notes about the ingredients
- Butter must be very cold.
- Water must be icy cold
- All ingredients must be measured first before starting anything else.
- The mixing bowl and paddle attachment should be cold.
When it comes to pie dough, keeping the butter as cold as possible is necessary to achieve that superior tenderness and flakiness. it is not about working fast but it is all about the butter. But of course, don't be too precious with your time smashing your butter and flour. You have to act quickly and efficiently otherwise the butter will just go soft leading you to curse anyone near you. Using soft butter is not advisable as it incorporates too much with the flour, making it harder to work with, and the end result will be a tough crust or a bread-like crust.
To give you a tease, this strawberry-rhubarb pie crisp with flaky pie crust is the ultimate pie you will ever have.
What makes a flaky pie crust?
Pie crust is made of three primary ingredients:
Salt, sugar, and any additional flavors are just window dressings, according to Kenji Lopez. You might want to be like Alton brown who adopted Applejack in his pie dough in place of water, or maybe you want to be like Kenji Lopez who used Vodka in place of water. It looks so seemingly simple and easy, with just three ingredients you can make the best amazing dessert or break a perfect crust.
Flaky pie crust recipes from so many authors, chefs, bakers, and home cooks go through great pains to instruct you, to only partially work the fat into the flour in order to maintain pockets of pure fat throughout the dough to create layers of flakiness - This was the first lesson I learned when I first started making pies but it was never been consistent. Another problem was, it is notoriously difficult to roll the dough because of its big clump of fat and this clump makes the dough crumbly and prone to cracking while that clump of fat is sticking out to your working space as it melts.
One more thing, partially working the fat into the flour affects how much water your dough will absorb. This means you have to gauge by sight and touch to get a feel of how much water your dough needs, if you are not an expert, it will take you to inconsistency and breaking the most delectable pie crust.
THE SOLUTION, flakey pie actually consist of three phases: a water/flour, pure pockets of fat, and flour/fat paste at the interfece between the two.Kenji Lopez-alt, Serious Eats
Why does this solution work?
> Using all butter gives this pie dough extra flavor.
> Combining the flour and butter in two distinct phases creates a dough that is tender and flakey yet it is extremely easy to roll out.
> Adding water after combining butter and flour ensures tenderness and flakiness.
Instead of partially working the butter leaving big chunks into the flour (to create layers when it melts), add water and then squeeze into a ball; Using this solution is the reverse of this old-school technique.
Begin with combining part of flour, salt, sugar (if using), and butter, then make a fat/flour paste - which means the flour is coated with fat. Add the remaining plain flour and mix to distribute evenly.
Then followed by the normal way of making pie crust. Add water, combine until it creates a pliable and non-sticky soft dough. Chill for at least one hour, roll, fill and bake.
How about shortening and vinegar?
Some adore shortening as it gives you a truly flaky pie crust but in the end, there's no flavor at all other than the greasy mouthfeel after an excellent meal. Adding a small amount of acid will make the crust tougher in order to get the tenderizing effect, you will have to add far more acid than the crust can handle giving you a sour flavor.
To sum this up,
Creating an easy pie crust all comes with technique. This technique/recipe is adapted from the famous Chef Thomas Keller and Chef Sebastian Rouxel's cookbook "Bouchon bakery" where I learned so much.
Finally, let me offer you a quick tip for a perfect pie crust no matter what recipe you want to make.
- Weight the flour.
- keep everything really cold.
- Use a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment.
- Use a ruling pin for more control.
How is that for a flakey and mouth-watering pie crust??
HOW TO MAKE ALL-PURPOSE PIE CRUST?
- Standing mixer, Rolling pin
- 140 grams | 1 cup All-purpose flour
- 210 grams | 1 ½ cup All-purpose flour
- 3 grams | 1 teaspoon Kosher Salt
- 25 grams | 2 tablespoons Granulated sugar (optional, omit if using for savory pie)
- 255 grams | 1 cup + 2 tablespoon Unsalted butter, cold and cut into ¼ inch cubes
- 89 grams | 6 tablespoons Ice cold water
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine 140 grams (1 cup) of flour, salt, and sugar and beat on low speed. Add the butter in a small hand full at a time. When all the butter is added, increase the speed to medium-low and mix for 1 minute, until all the butter is well blended, turning like a paste. Lower the speed to low and add the remaining flour and mix just to combine. Drizzle the ice-cold water and mix until incorporated. The dough should feel smooth and tacky but not sticky to the touch.
- Check the dough making sure that there are no visible pieces of butter. Mix briefly if necessary.
- Divide the dough into half and flatten to 4-inch disc each if using as a double pie crust or pat into a 7-inch disk and wrap in a plastic wrap.
- Refrigerate for at least an hour or overnight before using.