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Flaky Pie Dough (Pate Brisee)


submitted by sarahjane on Oct-24-04
(this recipe is good for lunch/dessert)
(this recipe is suitable for vegetarians)
servings: (not specified)

I learned to make this at the Peter Kump Cooking School. The recipe is from Nick Malghieri.  Good for apple pie, butter tarts and quiche but not for more European sweet baking like custard or lemon tarts.  If using for quiche, use all butter instead of a combination of butter and shortening.

This recipe actually provides enough for four crusts (or two tops and two bottoms).  It freezes nicely, and the next time you're making a pie, you'll have a crust all ready.


5 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup unsalted butter
1 cup vegetable shortening
8-12 tablespoons cold water

Combine flour in a large mixing bowl and stir well

Cut fat into 1 tablespoon size pieces and add to dry ingredients

Using your hands, rub the butter into the dry ingredients by breaking it into tiny pieces, continuously pinching and squeezing it into the dry ingredients (there are a couple of tricks to this: 1. Use only the very tips of your fingers to handle the fat.  You don't want it to get too warm.  2.  Keep scooping up from the very bottom of the bowl to ensure you're getting at ALL the flour AND fat. 3. When you've scooped up some flour and fat, pinch it from fairly high above the mixture. 4. Pinch HARD. 5. Do it fast.)

Continue rubbing the fat into the dry ingredients until the mixture has all become pea-sized lumps and no butter remains visible.  The pieces don't have to be completely uniform in size (in fact it's good if they're not), but none of them should be bigger than the tip of your baby finger.

Scatter the smaller amount of water on the mixture and stir gently with a fork - the dough should begin to hold together.  If the mixture still appears extremely crumbly and unlikely to cohere, add the remaining water, 1 tablespoon at a time, until it holds together when you press it.

Scrape the dough onto a lightly floured surface.  At this point it will probably still be a bit crumbly, so you will have to mould it a bit until it appears truly dough-like.  Then form into a ball or disk.  Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate until firm or until you are ready to use it, at least one hour.



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