I’ve read Rose Levy Beranhaum’s book the Pie and Pastry Bible, numerous other cookbooks, and perused the Cooks Illustrated website. All gave me pointers on the use of various fats, flours, and mixing techniques but the Cooks Illustrated recipe was the most intriguing in it’s technique.
I’ve also never understood though why recipes for pie or tart dough call for forming the dough into a ball and then into a disk. Why isn’t the beginning and end result just a disk? Unless it’s bread dough, I skip the formation into a ball and go right to forming the dough into a disk and the final pie or tart shape determines whether the shape of the “disk” is round, square or rectangular.
Also, when using liquid to make a dough I generally do not us it in all at once. Sometimes the dough takes less liquid than called for in the recipe. I believe this has to do with the amount of water in the butter. Which brings me to my next point, which is making it a habit of using the same brand of butter for the sake of water content consistency.
This recipe makes enough dough for a 9-inch double crusted pie. If not making a double crust by all means divide the dough in half and freeze half for another time.
2 3/4 cups (12.5 oz / 350 g) unbleached all-purpose flour, divided
2 tablespoons (25 g) granulated sugar
1 teaspoon (5 g) kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon double-acting baking powder
1 1/4 cups (10 oz / 280 g) unsalted butter, cut into 1/4-inch pieces
6 tablespoons (2 oz / 85 ml) cold water
Combine two thirds (scant 2 cups or about 235 g) of flour with sugar and salt in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse a couple of times to incorporate. Place the butter chunks evenly over surface. Pulse until no dry flour remains and dough just begins to collect in clumps, about 30 short and long pulses followed by running the processor until the clumps form.
Use a rubber spatula to spread the dough evenly around the bowl of the food processor. Sprinkle in remaining flour and pulse until dough is just barely broken up, about 5 short pulses give or take one. Transfer dough to a large bowl.
Sprinkle about half the water over the dough. Using a stiff rubber spatula, fold and press dough until it comes together into a disk. Add a little more water and continue to fold the dough over itself. (I switched to using my hands to incorporate the dough into a homogeneous mass.) Divide disk approximately in half. Form each half into a 5-inch disk. Wrap tightly in plastic and refrigerate for at least 2 hours as long as overnight before rolling and baking.