The Flakiest Fool-Proof Pie and Pastry Dough // Tutorial
I can’t believe Thanksgiving is nearly upon us!
Have you started prepping for the big day? What do you do in advance?
Right now, I have so many pie crusts ready to go in the freezer for all of the pies I’ll be delivering tomorrow evening. I roll them out and press into disposable metal pie tins, then fill and bake from frozen. This works perfectly for single-crust pies; just stick on the bottom rock atop a cookie sheet for easy transferring.
I’ve already posted The Best Pumpkin Pie recipe, but I also have a couple batches of this super FLAKY dough ready for pastries.
So, today, I have YET ANOTHER pie post! Who’s excited, wooohooo! It’s pie week here at The Carboholic.
This recipe is all about the crust. This is MY FAVORITE crust ever.
I know I’ve shared quite a few of my “absolute favorite” versions of things, but isn’t that the point of a food blog? People don’t browse the web for mediocre recipes. They want something special, something delicious, something to impress and satisfy the people they are serving.
So, why don’t I use this crust when I make my pumpkin pies?
Because this crust is so tender and flaky that it would positively collapse under the weight of all that pumpkin.
I use this dough exclusively for free-form galettes, hand pies, and non-yeasted pastries.
Now, could you use this dough to make pumpkin hand pies? Certainly! I did it last year, and they were a big hit.
I typically make Apple Hand Pies with this dough. They are requested CONSTANTLY by friends and family, probably more than anything else I make. I will do a post on that another day. Ooh, the suspense!!!
But let me tell you something about this dough. It’s the best thing ever. It’s got a few nifty tricks that’ll make you feel like a pro. You can do it in the food processor. It involves laaaaaayers of flakiness. And it tastes like butter.
The secret to this dough is two-fold: sour cream and the folding process, which I’ve outlined below. Do not be intimidated. Seriously. I’ll show you how bad you can be at rolling and still get perfect results. Okay?
You roll to make layers, which make flakes:
If you haven’t read anything else I’ve written thus far (HELLOOOO?), just know that you need to make this crust.
Because this is crust heaven.
So, let’s get started!
THE FLAKIEST FOOL-PROOF PIE AND PASTRY DOUGH TUTORIAL
(Click on any image to enlarge)
First: Get your ingredients ready. That’s flour, salt, baking powder, butter, and sour cream. I’m doing a half recipe tonight (12 hand pies or 1 galette), so you’ll have double this quantity for a full batch:
Break out your trusty food processor. Since we’re doing a small batch, I’m using my handy-dandy Cuisinart Mini-Prep Plus. Love this thing. Also, please notice the awesome jars my man friend gave me recently. They’re from Jonathan Adler and obviously totally me:
Add dry ingredients to the food processor and pulse a few times:
Now, add your cubed butter:
Pulse the machine 6-10 times, or until your butter is in pea-sized pieces. Dump into a mixing bowl:
Add your sour cream:
Mix just until you can pinch dough together:
Now, prepare a work surface. I always lay down parchment for easy cleanup and less sticking. Keep some flour handy for rolling:
Dump your dough out and use your hands to gather it into a disk, sprinkling with flour as you go to prevent sticking:
The easiest way to roll (in my opinion) is with another layer of parchment on top of your dough. This not only helps with sticking, but is also less cleanup, yaaaay! Now, just roll from the center out toward the edges until you’ve got an 8″ x 10″ rectangle:
Here, I was so distracted with taking photos that I didn’t to roll into a rectangle. Oh no, what to do!:
Now, take your imperfect rectangle and begin the folding process. Fold into thirds like a letter:
Cover with your parchment, and roll it out again into a rough rectangle:
Now you’re going to do the whole folding thing two more times. Fold into thirds, then roll out into a rectangle. Fold into thirds, and roll out into a rectangle. Now that you’ve done it 3 times total, fold it up one more time:
Wrap it in plastic wrap and stick it in the fridge for 30 minutes:
JUST SO YOU KNOW WHAT YOU JUST DID with all those folds, here’s the cross-section of your laminated pie dough:
See all of those layers? Those will be deliciousness once baked.
Now is the time to prep your filling. As I’ve said, normally I make these into apple hand pies, but I’ve also done pumpkin, peach, blueberry, s’mores, peanut butter/chocolate, and probably some others I can’t remember. Apple is my favorite.
Tonight, I want chocolate. I’ve heated a bit of heavy cream in the microwave until bubbling, then added in a chopped bar of Ghirardelli dark chocolate, stirred in some toasted walnuts, vanilla, and a pinch of salt. Doesn’t look pretty, but it’s delicious. And yeah, that’s really a paper bowl. My dishwasher is on the fritz, so sue me:
When you’re ready to fill your pies, prepare your work surface again with plenty of flour, then add your chilled dough rectangle:
Roll it out to 1/8″ thick:
If you are making a galette, you are almost done. Just place your filling in the center of your dough, leaving about 1″ around the perimeter, and then fold your edges over it like this. You can pinch them together a bit to help them stay up:
If your crusts are sticking at all, add more flour to both sides of the dough. Re-roll your scraps and cut out as many circles as you can (I usually get 12 with a half-batch of dough, however tonight I dropped one. Shh! Place on parchment paper:
Time to fill! Depending on your circles’ size, place a decent-sized pinch of your filling in the center of each one. Tonight I got all hot and bothered and used too much chocolate and it resulted in a bit of leakage. With apples it’s easier, just make sure they aren’t too wet or it will be hard to seal your dough.
Fold your dough circles in half to encase the filling, and press a fork around the edges to seal them tight. Poke holes in the tops so they don’t explode while baking:
Brush with an egg wash and stick on a baking sheet. Please note here if your dough feels very soft or warm. If it does, stick the pies back in the fridge for 20 minutes:
BAKE THEM SUCKERS:
They’re done when they’re golden brown and hold together (if you skip the egg wash, they won’t darken as much, so keep an eye on them). Like I’ve said, this dough is REALLY tender, so be gentle with the little guys or they’ll fall apart if you squeeze them while still hot:
Sometimes they open up a bit like clams. They’re saying “EAAAAAAAT MEEEEEEEE!!!”
Do you see those layers you made? They got all puffy in the oven. You are a pro!
It’s impossible to eat one of these without dropping a few buttery crumbs, so eat it over a plate. Or the sink. Or outside, if you’re particularly messy.
The Flakiest Pastry and Pie Dough
Method adapted from Just a Taste
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 cup (2 sticks) COLD unsalted butter, cut into 1/2″ cubes
- 1/2 cup sour cream
- egg wash, for baking (1 egg beaten with 1 teaspoon of water)
1. Add the flour, salt, and baking powder to the bowl of a food processor and pulse a few times to mix. Scatter in the butter cubes and pulse again, about 1 second each time, until butter is distributed and about the size of small peas. Do not over mix. This should only take 6-10 pulses.
2. Dump mixture into a large bowl and stir in sour cream until incorporated. Dough should hold together if you pinch it with your fingers.
3. Transfer dough to a work surface sprinkled liberally with flour and roll out into a rough 8″ x 10″ rectangle. *Please note that depending on the weather/humidity, sometimes my dough is very dry, but will come together if I just continue to roll it. Other times, the dough will seem wet, in which case, continue to use flour liberally so it does not stick. Most of the time, it will be a good consistency though*
4. Fold dough into thirds, like you would fold a letter before sticking it into an envelope. Roll again into an 8″ x 10″ rectangle.
5. Repeat step 4–fold dough into thirds, then roll back out into a large rectangle.
6. Fold into thirds one more time (but do not roll out), then wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 20 minutes (or up to a day).
7. When ready to bake, preheat your oven to 425 F. Remove dough from refrigerator and sprinkle a work surface liberally with flour.
8. Roll dough out to desired thickness–1/8″ is good for most recipes.
9. If making a free-form galette, roll into a rough circle. Top with your filling, then gently fold edges over and pinch to enclose.
If making hand-pies, roll dough out 1/8″ thick, and use a 3″ or 4″ biscuit cutter (or large drinking glass opening) to cut out as many circles as you can. Re-roll your scraps and cut out circles again. Use about 1 tablespoon of your preferred pie filling in each, then fold into a half-moon shape and seal edges with fork tines.
Place galette or hand pies on a parchment-lined baking sheet.
10. Brush crust with egg wash and bake until golden brown on top (about 15 minutes for hand pies, and 20-30 minutes for the galette). Cool on wire racks.