So many people have a fear of making pastry, but it really isn’t that difficult, especially since the invention of food processors.
A couple of hints:
1. Cold. Pastry likes cold flour and really cold butter. It even helps if you put your rolling pin in the refrigerator for a while.
2. Don’t overprocess or over work your dough. Use a light hand.
2 cups all purpose flour
2/3 teaspoon salt
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, cut in chunks
2 egg yolks, cold
MAKING THE PASTRY
Put the chopping blade in your food processor and add the flour and salt.
Pulse for a second or two.
PHOTO 1: Add the chunks of butter and process for 5-10 seconds, until the butter and flour are incorporated and there aren’t any chunks of butter.
Add the egg yolks to a one-cup measure and mix with a fork.
Add enough ice water to the yolks to measure 1/2 cup.
PHOTO 2: Add the ice water/egg mixture to the flour/butter mixture in a steady stream through the top of the food processor while the processor is on. It should take five seconds or so to incorporate all of the ingredients. Do not overprocess.
PHOTO 3: Turn the dough out onto a floured board. Flour your hands and knead the dough four or five times. Form the dough into a ball, and cut the ball in half. Place half in the refrigerator while you roll out the other ball.
PHOTO 4: With a floured rolling pin, roll out the dough into a 12-inch circle. Fold in half.
PHOTO 5: Gently put the dough into a 9-inch pie plate, leaving an overhang of dough. Trim the dough with kitchen scissors, leaving a 1-inch overhang.
PHOTO 6: Fold the overhang under to create a thicker edge and crimp the dough.
At this point you can cover the pastry with waxed paper and plastic wrap and refrigerate or place in a freezer bag and freeze for up to one month.
If you are using the pastry for quiche or a pie without a top crust, I recommend partially pre-baking the pastry to prevent it from getting soggy once you put in the filling. Preheat the oven to 425F. Prick the pastry on the bottom and sides a number of times. Take a sheet of aluminum foil large enough to fit into the pie plate and cover the overhang. Spray the foil with cooking spray. Gently place the sprayed side of the foil down on the crust. Fill the top of the foil with dried beans or pastry beans to prevent shrinkage. Bake for 20 minutes. Gently remove the foil, add your pie filling, and continue baking according to your recipe’s directions.
Ellen Gutman Chenaux
the Lenox Broad