Basic Pie Dough
1 1/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 Tbs. sugar
1/4 tsp. salt
8 Tbs. (1 stick) cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/4-inch cubes
3 Tbs. very cold water
To make the dough by hand, in a large bowl, stir together the flour, sugar and salt. Using a pastry cutter or 2 knives, cut the butter into the flour mixture until the texture resembles coarse cornmeal, with butter pieces no larger than small peas. Add the water and mix with a fork just until the dough pulls together.
To make the dough in a stand mixer, fit the mixer with the flat beater, and stir together the flour, sugar and salt in the mixer bowl. Add the butter and toss with a fork to coat with the flour mixture. Mix on medium-low speed until the texture resembles coarse cornmeal, with the butter pieces no larger than small peas. Add the water and mix on low speed just until the dough pulls together.
Transfer the dough to a work surface, pat into a ball and flatten into a disk. (Although many dough recipes call for chilling the dough at this point, this dough should be rolled out immediately for the best results.) Lightly flour the work surface, then flatten the disk with 6 to 8 gentle taps of the rolling pin. Lift the dough and give it a quarter turn. Lightly dust the top of the dough or the rolling pin with flour as needed, then roll out into a round at least 12 inches in diameter and about 1/8 inch thick. Makes enough dough for one 9-inch single-crust pie or one 10-inch galette.
To make a double-crust pie: Double the recipe, cut the dough in half and pat each half into a round, flat disk. Roll out one disk into a 12-inch round as directed and line the pan or dish. Press any scraps trimmed from the first round into the bottom of the second disk. Roll out the second dough disk into a round at least 12 inches in diameter and about 1/8 inch thick and refrigerate until ready to use.
To make a lattice top: Double the recipe, cut the dough in half and pat one half into a round, flat disk. Roll out the disk into a 12-inch round as directed and line the pan or dish. Trim the edge of the dough, leaving a 1/2-inch overhang. Press any scraps trimmed from the first round into the bottom of the remaining dough half. Pat the dough into a rectangle and roll out into a rectangular shape about 1/8 inch thick. Trim to cut out a 14-by-11-inch rectangle and refrigerate until ready to use.
Nut Dough Variation: Add 2 Tbs. ground toasted pecans, walnuts, almonds or hazelnuts to the flour mixture and proceed as directed.
Make-Ahead Tip: Pie dough may be made ahead and frozen for up to 2 months. To freeze, place the dough round on a 12-inch cardboard circle and wrap it well with plastic wrap. Alternatively, use the round to line a pie pan or dish, flute the edge and wrap well.
When a recipe calls for citrus zest and juice, always begin by zesting the rind. First, scrub the fruit well to remove any wax or chemicals. If possible, buy organic fruit to use for zesting. Use a zester, vegetable peeler or fine Microplane grater to remove just the thin, colored portion of the rind, being careful not to include the bitter white pith underneath. To juice, slice the fruit in half crosswise. Working over a bowl, use a reamer to extract the juice or use a citrus juicer. Strain the juice before using to remove any seeds and pulp.
2 rolled-out rounds of basic pie dough (see
related recipe at left)
4 cups blueberries
1 Tbs. fresh lemon juice, strained
3⁄4 cup sugar
3 Tbs. cornstarch
1⁄2 tsp. finely grated lemon zest
1⁄4 tsp. salt
1⁄4 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 Tbs. cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
Fold 1 dough round in half and carefully transfer to a 9-inch pie dish. Unfold and ease the round into the pan, without stretching it, and pat it firmly into the bottom and up the sides of the pan. Using kitchen scissors, trim the edge of the dough, leaving 3¿4 inch of overhang. Set the dough-lined pan aside, along with the other dough round, in a cool place until ready to use.
Place the blueberries in a large bowl, sprinkle with the lemon juice and toss to coat evenly. In a small bowl, stir together the sugar, cornstarch, lemon zest, salt and cinnamon. Sprinkle the sugar mixture over the berries and toss to distribute evenly. Immediately transfer to the dough-lined pan. Dot with the butter.
Fold the reserved dough round in half and carefully position it over half of the filled pie. Unfold and trim the edge neatly, leaving 1 inch of overhang, then fold the edge of the top round under the edge of the bottom round and crimp the edges to seal. Using a small, sharp knife, cut an asterisk 4 to 5 inches across in the center of the top to allow steam to escape during baking.