from Baking: From My Home to Yours, p. 442-3.

Dorrie Greenspan is an example of how small a circle really good cookbook authors form. For almost ten years, my favorite baking cookbook has been Baking with Julia. I can’t count the number of times I’ve made the rich cake in it. As soon as the review for Greenspan’s Baking started to appear, I kept my eye on it for about a year before I finally bought it. It was only after using Greenspan’s boca negraBaking for about the fourth time that I realized Greenspan is co-author of Baking with Julia. Well, that makes sense, I thought. And you will think so, too, if you work with these two books.

The investment in the new book has already paid off many times over. The only time I was unhappy with something I’ve made from it involved the pairing of a ganache tort with her all-butter sweet crust, when I think I would have preferred using the crust I present here. But I don’t anticipate needing any other dessert cookbook for another decade.

I will post her Fruit Gallette separately.

Here’s Dorrie’s recipe for a 9-inch single crust:

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 T sugar
3/4 tsp salt
1 1/4 sticks (10 T) very cold (frozen is fine) unsalted butter, cut into tablespoon-size pieces
2 1/2 T very cold (frozen is even better) vegetable shortening, cut into 2 pieces
About 1/4 cup ice water

Put the flour, sugar and salt in a food processor fitted with a metal blade; pulse just to combine the ingredients. Drop in the butter and shortening and pulse only until the butter and shortening care cut into the flour. Don’t overdo the mixing — what you’re aiming for is to have some pieces the size of fat green peas and others the size of barley. Pulsing the machine on and off, gradually add about 3 tablespoons of the water — add a little water and pulse once, add some more water, pulse again and keep going that way. then use a few long pulses to get the water into the flour. If, after a dozen or so pulses, the dough doesn’t look evenly moistened or form soft curds, pulse in as much of the remaining water as necessary, or even a few drops more, to get a dough that will stick together when pinched. Big pieces of butter are fine. Scrape the dough out of the work bowl and onto a work surface.

Shape the dough into a disk and wrap in plastic. Refrigerate the dough for at least 1 hour before rolling. (If your ingredients were very cold and you worked quickly, though, you might be able to roll the dough immediately: the dough should be as cold as if it had just come out of the fridge.)

To roll out the dough: Have a buttered 9-inch pie plate at hand.
You can roll the dough out on a floured surface or between sheets of wax paper or plastic wrap or in a rolling slipcover. (I usually roll this dough out on the floured counter.) If you’re working on a counter, turn the dough over frequently and keep the counter floured. If you are rolling between paper, plastic or in a slipcover, make sure to turn the dough over often and to life the paper, plastic or cover frequently so that it doesn’t roll into the dough and form creases.

If you’ve got time, slide the rolled-out dough into the fridge for about 20 mins to rest and firm up.

Fit the dough into the pie plate and, using a pair of scissors, cut the excess dough to a 1/4- to 1/2-inch overhang. Fold the dough under itself, so that it hangs over the edge just a tad, and flute or pinch the crust to make a decorative edge. Alternatively, you can finish the crust by pressing it with the tines of a fork.

To partially or fully bake: Refrigerate the crust while you preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

Better the shiny side of a piece of aluminum foil, fit the foil, buttered side down, tightly against the crust and fill with dried beans or rice or pie weights. Put the pie plate on a baking sheet and bake for 25 mins. Carefully remove the foil and weights and, if the crust has puffed, press it down gently with the back of a spoon. For a partially baked crust, return the pie plate to the oven and bake for about 8 minutes more, or until the crust is very lightly colored. To fully bake the crust, bake until golden brown, about another 10 minutes. Transfer the pie plate to a rack and cool to room temperature before filling.

My experience with this crust:

First of all, because I only use Diamond Crystal kosher salt, I up the amount to 1 3/4 tsps to compensate for its low salinity. And I use organic vegetable shortening, not Crisco. I know, I know, what’s the difference? I’m supporting the corn lobby, but I promise I’ll drive less.

Dorrie warns against overpulsing the ingredients in the food processor. I take this to mean really only process until it just begins to form a ball and then pour it out and press it together yourself.

As for the question of whether you should chill the dough before baking, count on doing it. She says if you work quickly the dough will still cold, but I don’t see how this is possible. So, I always factor in at least an hour for the ball of dough to sit in the fridge.

The dough rolls out very easily. I’ve rolled out it as she recommends, on a floured counter, but I’ve also found it very easy to roll out between two sheets of parchment paper. The paper , too, makes it easy to transfer to the pie tin.

Baking the shell is essential. I use pie weights. Pull the foil off the baked crust very slowly. In spite of the buttered side of the foil, it still adheres to the crust.

If you’re making something that calls for a double crust, doubling the ingredients is easy enough. As her introductory remarks indicate, you need a large-capacity food processor to make a double-crust in one batch. Otherwise, just make two batches.

Last thoughts:

I love this crust. I think I’ll make an apple galette with custard for dessert at Thanksgiving.

A Second Visit:

Sherry’s daughter Rachel was exasperated by this posting, because I didn’t stress two points. First, it’s essential that the dough be very cold before baking. For instance, today, when I made a second French Meyer Lemon Cream Tart, I put the rolled out dough fitted into the tart pan in the freezer for 20 minutes. And then, second, I put pie weights on the crust and arranged them so that many of them were right up against the side of the pan. I don’t know how much this helps, but it seems to prop up the side crust and prevents it from sliding down. Moreover, I left a generous amount at the top so that it wouldn’t shrink while baking below the level of the rim.

11 thoughts on “Dorrie Greenspan’s Good-for-Almost-Everything Pie Dough

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