Pie crust, flaky

 

I’ve adapted an Alton Brown recipe here. The biggest part of the adaptation is using vodka and water instead of straight water, which makes a flakier crust.

For two pie crusts, you will need:

  • 6 ounces (yes, weigh it) butter, chilled
  • 2 ounces shortening or lard, chilled
  • 12 ounces all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 to 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup ice water
  • 1/4 cup chilled vodka

At least an hour, or even the night before (my preference) you plan to make the pie, cube the butter (1/2 inch or finer) and shortening, then weigh them out and put them, in separate containers, the butter in the fridge and the shortening in the freezer. Also weigh and put the flour in the fridge or freezer. If you think the kitchen will be really warm when you’re making the dough, chill the container and blade for your food processor, too.

Put in the flour and salt, plus the butter cubes. Pulse about six to seven times in the bowl of your food processor. Add the shortening and pulse about four more times. The mixture should have a generally mealy texture and no large chunks. Pulse a time or two more to reach this state, if necessary. Be conservative with your pulsing, but get the fat blobs smaller than a dried pea.

To add moisture, remove the lid and sprinkle or pour liquids carefully all over the surface of the flour/fat mixture. Take care with this step. Pulse perhaps four to five times. Use the minimum for a pinch of the mixture to hold together in your fingers.

Dump the dough into a good-sized zippee bag, and with your fingers outside, divide it in two, and press the dough together to make large dough-pucks. Put the bag into the fridge to chill again.

After chilling, put one dough-puck on floured surface and roll out crust, then press into an eight- or nine-inch pie pan. Use the second crust for another pie or for a top-crust. If your filling isn’t ready or your oven hasn’t reached baking temperature (typically 425°F), put the pie pan into the fridge to stay cool.