Of all French desserts recipes, pate brisee (pie crust) is probably the most important to master, as it is found in so many recipes. Pate brisee is, of course, used in pies, but also quiche, tarts and variety of other French appetizer recipes and French desserts recipes.
Personally, I spent about five years, trying to master the art of pie crust. How could it take so long to master pie crust? My mother set the benchmark pretty high.
She has always made the best pie crust in the world (until now)!
I tried many recipes with various results; some days I would try 3 different recipes in attempt for perfection.
The recipe you'll find here produces exceptional pie crust every time. And it is EASY!
When selecting a pie crust recipe. It is important to note the properties of butter versus shortening. Butter produces tiny pellets in the dough, while shortening integrates with the dough.
The tiny butter pellets melt when the dough is cooked producing air pockets. This is what makes a flaky crust and eliminates the toughness sometimes apparent in shortening crusts.
Cold ingredients and minimal time spent touching the dough is essential to the success.
Pate Brisee (pastry dough)
Place the flour in a food processor, and distribute salt and butter pieces over the flour. Pulse until the butter is integrated into the flour. It will look sandy at this point.
Remove the top from the food processor and while pulsing. Slowly pour in half the water. Add only enough water for the dough to ball up while being processed.
Place the ball on piece of cellophane. Wrap it tightly and refrigerate it for 20 minutes. (Do not skip this step).
Remove the dough from the refrigerator and dust a piece of parchment paper with a little flour. Dust a rolling pin, and roll the dough to approximately 1/8 inch thickness. The dough will easily transfer from the parchment paper to the pie plate.
This makes one pie crust for an 8 to 9 inch pastry dish. For a double-sided pie, make two separate batches of dough.
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