Making your own pastry is one of the most satisfying baking projects imaginable, yet it draws the most reluctance. While most agree that homemade is tastier than the commercial frozen options, there’s still trepidation. For those who insist their pastry never turns out or they have the time, this recipe is for you!
Follow the step-by-step images below and you, too, will enjoy the simple satisfaction of whipping up a pie.
For the flakiest crust, you’ll want to use lard. You can, of course, use vegetable shortening or refined coconut oil. Or half butter and half lard (or vegetable shortening). Each produces a slightly different result; I’ve used all these variations at one time or another with good results.
Whatever fat you use, the key to flaky pastry is a light touch and the minimal use of flour. If you roll the dough between a sheet of parchment (or waxed) paper and a sheet of plastic wrap, the dough won’t stick to your work surface or rolling pin, thereby eliminating the need for excessive flour.
I use a pastry blender to cut the lard (or shortening) into the flour but you can use two knives to achieve the same results. I don’t recommend using your hands to work the lard into the dough because hands are warm and can melt the lard.
You can easily double the recipe but if you’re not accustomed to making pastry, it’s best to start with smaller, more manageable-sized ingredients.
Makes 1 Double Crust Pie
■ 2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
■ 1 teaspoon table salt
■ 1/2 pound lard, vegetable shortening or butter cut into 1” pieces
■ 1 whole egg
■ 1 Tbsp white vinegar
■ Ice cold water
■ Parchment or waxed paper
■ Plastic wrap
Place the flour and salt in a large bowl and mix to combine. Add the lard, shortening or butter and cut into the flour with a pastry blender or two knives until the mixture is crumbly with some larger, bean size pieces along with the (mostly) finer particles.
In a spouted measuring jug, combine the egg, vinegar and enough ice cold water to equal 1 cup; mix with a fork. Gradually pour about half the liquid into the flour and mix with a fork, adding only enough additional liquid to make the dough cling together. You’ll know you’ve added enough liquid when you can grab a portion of dough with your hands and it sticks together, and there are very few crumbs at the bottom of your bowl.
Transfer the dough, a shaggy mass at this stage, to a sheet of parchment paper lightly dusted with flour. Cover the dough with plastic wrap and using your hands or a rolling pin, shape into a disk about 1” thick. Wrap tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate at least an hour.
Roll out the dough according to the recipe instructions.