This pie pastry is used frequently throughout this collection because it yields excellent results. I sometimes call it a half-and-half pastry, referring to the equal amounts of vegetable shortening and butter—the former for flakiness, the latter for flavor. It can be made in a food processor if you have a large-capacity machine. But I’ll repeat my usual advice, which is to make it by hand or with an electric mixer if you don’t. Both methods are quite easy. If you could have only one pastry to work with, this would probably be it.
Game plan: I use this pastry so often that I tend to make it in large batches. More than half of the time required to make pastry is spent getting out the ingredients, putting them away, and washing the utensils. That said, I may make a double batch of crust, 3 or 4 times over, then freeze it for up to a month. I wrap each dish in plastic, then in aluminum foil. I take the dough out of the freezer the day before I plan to use it and let it thaw in the fridge. It works like a charm.
To make by hand:
To make with an electric mixer:
Whole Wheat Pie Pastry
Follow the basic recipe above, substituting 1 cup whole wheat flour for 1 cup of the all-purpose flour for a double crust, 1/2 cup whole wheat flour for a single crust. Proceed as directed.
Cheddar Cheese Pie Pastry
Reduce the flour to 2 3/4 cups in the double-crust recipe. (Do not reduce the flour for a single crust.) When using a food processor, after you’ve added the shortening, pulse 3 or 4 times. Add 1 cup (1/2 cup for single crust) finely shredded sharp cheddar cheese and pulse 3 or 4 times more. Add the water and proceed as directed above. When making the dough by hand or with an electric mixer, add the cheese after you have cut or mixed in all of the fat. Toss with your hands to mix, then add the water as instructed for each method.
Excerpted from Pie, by Ken Haedrich. © 2004, used by permission from The Harvard Common Press.
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