Magpie Dough for Flaky Piecrust

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Prep Time: 
35 minutes prep, 8 hours chill
Recipe Source: 

Reprinted with permission from Magpie © 2015 by Holly Ricciardi, Running Press, a member of the Perseus Books Group. Photo credit: Steve Legato

Ingredients

  • 2 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 Tbsp granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp fine salt
  • 3/4 cup cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/4 inch cubes and frozen
  • 1/4 cup vegetable shortening, preferably in baking stick form, frozen, cut into 1/4 inch pieces, and put back in freezer
  • 1/2 cup plus 1 Tbsp ice-cold water
     

Directions

  1. Combine flour, sugar, and salt in the bowl of a food processor and pulse machine 3 times to blend. Scatter frozen butter cubes over flour mixture. Pulse machine 5 to 7 times, holding each pulse for 5 full seconds, to cut all of butter into pea-size pieces. Scatter pieces of frozen shortening over flour-and-butter mixture. Pulse machine 4 more 1-second pulses to blend shortening with flour. Mix­ture will resemble coarse cornmeal, but will be a bit more floury and rid­dled with pale butter bits (no pure-white shortening should be visible).
  2. Turn mixture out into a large mixing bowl, and make a small well in center. If you find a few butter clumps that are closer to marble size than pea size (about 1/4 inch in diameter), carefully pick them out and give them a quick smoosh with your fingers. Pour cold water into well. Use a curved bowl scraper to lightly scoop flour mixture up and over water, covering water to help get absorption started. Continue mixing by scraping flour up from sides and bottom of bowl into center, rotating bowl as you mix, and occa­sionally pausing to clean off scraper with your finger or side of bowl, until mixture begins to gather into clumps but is still very crum­bly. (If you are working in very dry conditions and ingredients remain very floury and refuse to clump together at this stage, add another tablespoon of ice-cold water.)
  3. Lightly gather clumps with your fingers and use your palm to fold over and press dough a few times. Don’t knead! Just give dough a few quick squishes until it just begins to come together into a single large mass. It will be a raggedy wad (moist but not damp) that barely holds together; this is exactly as it should be—all it needs is a good night’s rest in the fridge.
  4. Divide dough into 2 equal portions (one for the pie shell and the other for the lattice top). Gently shape each portion into a flat disk 1 1/2 to 2 inches thick, and wrap each tightly with plastic wrap. At this stage, the wrapped dough can be put in a freezer bag and frozen for up to 2 months. Defrost overnight in the refrigerator before rolling.
  5. To roll out crust, lightly flour work surface and rolling pin. Remove chilled disk of dough from fridge, unwrap it and set it on floured work surface. Roll dough out to a 13-inch circle with an even thickness of 1/4 inch.
  6. Transfer dough to pie pan. If desired, flute edges of dough. Transfer crust to fridge to chill while you make pie filling. Follow instructions in pie recipe for making lattice top. Alternatively, at this point crust can be covered tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerated for up to 3 days or double-wrapped and frozen for up to 2 months (defrost overnight in fridge before filling and baking, or at room temperature for 30 minutes).
     

Notes

No ifs, ands, or buts, the dough must have its beauty sleep. That means 8 hours in the refrigerator, at the very least. Extra rest is just fine; feel free to let the wrapped dough sit in the fridge for up to 3 days before rolling. (The dough may discolor slightly. No worries. This is merely oxidization and will not affect the flavor or appearance of your finished piecrust.)