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Flaky Pie Dough

Flaky Pie Dough

Makes 2 x 23cm (9 inch) pie shells

Vodka is essential to the texture of the crust and imparts no flavour — do not substitute extra water. The alcohol is key to our recipe; if you don’t have vodka on hand, you can use another 80 proof (40% alcohol) liquor.

This recipe can be used to make both sweet and savoury pies and tarts. You can make the dough ahead of time, wrap in plastic and refrigerate up to 2 days or freeze for 1 month. You can also save time by making the dough in the food processor.

Ingredients:

  • 355g (2 ¾ cups + 2 tablespoons) plain (all-purpose) flour
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 12g (3 teaspoons) granulated sugar (omit for a savoury crust)
  • 225 grams (1 cup) unsalted butter or vegan alternative, very cold, cut into ½-inch cubes
  • 60ml (¼ cup) vodka
  • 60ml (¼ cup) ice water
  1. Place the flour and salt and sugar, if using, in a large mixing bowl. Using a pastry blender, two knives or your fingers, cut or rub the butter into the flour mixture until the butter pieces are the size of peas. Sprinkle vodka and ice water, alternating, one tablespoon at a time, over the flour mixture. Stir and fluff the flour mixture with a fork until shaggy clumps form.
  2. Pick up the large clumps and squeeze to test for moisture. If clumps hold together, transfer them to a work surface and continue adding tablespoons of vodka and ice water and stirring with the fork.
  3. Gather the clumps of dough together on the work surface and knead the dough gently 4 or 5 times. If dough falls apart, return it to the mixing bowl and sprinkle teaspoons of ice water and mix with a fork until dough holds together when squeezed.
  4. Divide the dough into two equal portions, flatten the dough into a disk, cover in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 60 minutes before rolling out.

For Food processor directions:

  1. Place the flour, salt and sugar, if using, in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the blade attachment. Process a couple of times to distribute the salt and sugar (if using). Add the cubed butter and pulse 5-10 times for no more than a couple of seconds each time, to break up the butter and make into pea sized lumps.
  2. Add all the vodka to the processor and pulse another 2-5 times, to distribute evenly. Add the water one tablespoon at a time, pulsing between each addition. After the second tablespoon of water has been incorporated, test the dough. If the dough clumps together then it is ready, if it is still dry and falls apart easily, add another tablespoon water, pulse a couple of times and test again. Once dough clumps together easily, remove from the food processor onto the work surface. Knead dough gently 4-5 times until it holds together.
  3. Divide the dough into two equal portions, flatten the dough into a disk, cover in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 60 minutes before rolling out.