Flaky Piecrust Recipe
Use a food process to pulse together the flour, sugar, and salt to combine. Add the butter and pulse until it is just barely blended with the flour and the butter is broken down to the size of peas. If you prefer to make the dough by hand, combine all the dry ingredients and butter in a large bowl. With your fingertips, 2 knives or forks, or a pastry cutter, work the butter pieces into the flour, being sure to incorporate all of the butter evenly, until the mixtures has the texture of small peas.
Add 6 tablespoons ice water (not just cold water) to the flour mixtures. Process for about 5 seconds or mix by hand with a wooden spoon, just until the dough begins to clump together, adding 1 or 2 tablespoons more ice water if necessary (or a little more flour if you add too much water).
Divide the dough in half and put each half into a quart-size plastic zipper bag. Press the dough into a disk by mushing along the outside of the bag until you have a thick disk shape. It’s important not to overheat, overwork, or knead the dough together. Freeze the disks of dough for 10 minutes or refrigerate for at least 30 minutes before rolling. If you’re making a single-crust pie, freeze one disk for another time.
Dust a large pinch of flour over a clean work surface. Sprinkle a little more flour on top of the dough and dust the rolling pin with flour. Too much flour will dry out your dough; you can always sprinkle on a little more if the dough starts to stick. Using firm but not too hard pressure on the pin, start rolling the dough from the center and outward to form a circle. If the dough feels too hard or is cracking a lot, let it rest for a few minutes. As you roll, add flour as needed and rotate and turn the dough with a spatula to form an even circle. When the dough circle is about 2 inches larger than the pie plate and less than 1/8-inch thick, it’s ready. Roll the dough up halfway onto the pin so it’s easy to move, then center it over the pie plate and unroll it into place. Press the dough into the contours of the dish without squishing or stretching it; patch any tears with a small scrap of dough, sealed with a drop of water. Trim any excess dough to about ½ inch all around.
If you’re making a single-crust pie, tuck the edges under themselves so the dough is thicker on the rim than it is inside; if you’re making a double-crust pie, leave the edges untucked for now. Put the pie plate in the fridge until the crust feels cool to the touch before filling or prebaking. For a top crust or embellished crust, roll the second disk into a circle on a flat baking sheet (dusted with flour) and put that in the fridge until you’re ready to assemble.