Yields 1 double-crust or 2 single-crust 9- to 10-inch pies
Pâte brisée is the French version of classic pie or tart pastry. Pressing
the dough into a disk rather than shaping it into a ball allows it to chill
faster. This will also make the dough easier to roll out, and if you freeze it,
it will thaw more quickly.
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sugar
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, chilled and cut into small pieces
1/4 to 1/2 cup ice water
In the bowl of a food
processor, combine flour, salt, and sugar. Add butter, and process until the
mixture resembles coarse meal, 8 to 10 seconds.
With machine running, add ice water in a slow, steady stream through feed
tube. Pulse until dough holds together without being wet or sticky; be careful
not to process more than 30 seconds. To test, squeeze a small amount together:
If it is crumbly, add more ice water, 1 tablespoon at a time.
Divide dough into two equal balls. Flatten each ball into a disk, and wrap in
plastic. Transfer to the refrigerator, and chill at least 1 hour. Dough may be
stored, frozen, up to 1 month.
When making the dough, make sure that the butter is very cold.
Handle the dough as little as possible. Both the stretching of the dough
and the warmth from your hands will further the development of gluten—long,
stringy protein molecules that form when flour is blended with liquid—resulting
in a tough dough that’s difficult to roll out.
Since our pie-dough recipe yields two single crusts, divide the dough in
half, and pat each half into a flat disk before wrapping it in plastic and
chilling. This will make it easier to roll out each crust into a perfect
Chill the dough thoroughly (at least 30 minutes) before rolling it out,
and use a minimum of flour to dust the rolling pin and work surface. Brush
excess flour from the rolled dough with a dry pastry brush before
transferring it to the pie plate.
For an extra-crispy piecrust with a golden color, brush the unbaked top
crust with water, and sprinkle it with sugar.
For a shiny piecrust, brush the unbaked top crust with an egg wash made
from 1 egg and 2 tablespoons cream.
Cut decorative vents in the top of a double-crusted fruit pie; vents allow
steam to escape and prevent the fruit juices from overflowing.