Basic Pie Dough

Basic Pie Dough

This method and recipe is adapted from Best Recipes, by the editors of America's Test Kitchen.

The keys to the success of this recipe is that first, it uses two fats -- butter and shortening or butter and leaf lard.  If you're unfamiliar with leaf lard, it is a very pure fat made from rendered pork fat -- but it has no pork flavor so your pies won't taste like bacon!  Second, making the dough partly by machine reduces the amount of contact your hands have with the dough, thus reducing any contact the fats have with heat. 

You can use this dough to make a galette, turnovers or any other sweet pastry.  If you're making a savory tart, such as a quiche or tomato tart, just omit the sugar.

Makes enough dough for a two-crust 9-inch pie.  If you're only making a one-crust pie, freeze the leftovers for another pie on another day.



  1. Place the flour, sugar and salt in the basket of a food processor. Pulse once to combine.
  2. Sprinkle the diced cold butter over the flour mixture. Pulse 4 or 5 times, one second for each pulse. Add the shortening or leaf lard and repeat the pulsing, until the mixture resembles corn meal. Do not over-mix.
  3. Transfer this mixture to a large mixing bowl and add the ice water, adding 6 tablespoons to start, and with a fork combine until large clumps form and the dough starts to hold together. If you need more than 6 tablespoons, sprinkle additional ice water gradually, a tablespoon at a time, so that you don't get it too wet (although if this happens, don't panic; just gather up the finished dough and pat it with small amounts of extra flour until it achieves a tender, workable consistency). Adding the ice water by hand and not all at once in the food processor gives you vastly more control and thus, a better, flakier result.
  4. Gather the dough into a ball, cut it into two pieces of about equal size, flatten the pieces each into a disc, wrap in plastic wrap and chill in the refrigerator for about a half-hour.

You can make the dough up to a day in advance, keeping it in the refrigerator.






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