Flaky Butter Pie Crust

The key to a flaky crust is very cold butter and ice water, which keeps the butter separate from the flour. When the crust bakes, the butter melts and the steam released causes air pockets, which gives the crust its flaky texture.
  • 1 c. all-purpose flour
  • 2 tbsp. cake flour
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/8 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 stick cold butter, cut into 8 pieces
  • 3 - 4 tbsp. ice water

Stir or pulse together the dry ingredients. Pulse (food processor), paddle (mixer), or cut (by hand) in the butter pieces until the mixture has a sandy appearance, but there are still small chunks of butter throughout. If you're mixing by hand, work fast, because the mixture needs to stay cold -- if the butter starts to melt, refrigerate it for a half an hour to re-chill the butter.

Sprinkle 3 tablespoons of ice water over the dough and combine it well with a fork. The dough is ready when it holds together when you squeeze it. If it crumbles, sprinkle in a bit more water until it holds.

If the dough's still cold, you can roll it right away. Otherwise, roll it into a ball and chill it for a few hours first.

To form the crust, pat the ball into a patty, and then roll it out on a clean, floured dishcloth. Sprinkle flour on the rolling pin and the dough if the pin sticks. You should change rolling directions to keep the dough in a uniform circle. Drape into a pie dish and crimp the edges. Fill and bake according to your pie recipe.

  • Yields: Enough dough for a 2-crust pie
  • Preparation Time: 15 minutes plus chilling time, if required
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