First of all, let’s start with a picture
Right? That thing was delicious. The filling wasn’t perfect…something about the flavor combo that just wasn’t the best ever. Which is why this is post is called “the very best pie crust ever” instead of “the very best pie ever.” Still, I was happy to serve it and even happier to eat it up. See?
The genius of the recipe, courtesy of the genius that is Cooks Illustrated, is that it replaces some of the water with vodka. This allows you to make the dough wetter and easier to roll out, while still maintaining a tender, flaky crust. Basically, water + flour = gluten, but vodka + flour = magic. That’s just one of the awesome tricks that CI came up with.
|2 1/2||cups unbleached all-purpose flour (12 1/2 ounces)|
|1||teaspoon table salt|
|12||tablespoons cold unsalted butter (1 1/2 sticks), cut into 1/4-inch slices|
|1/2||cup chilled solid vegetable shortening , cut into 4 pieces|
|1/4||cup vodka , cold|
|1/4||cup cold water|
- Process 1 1/2 cups flour, salt, and sugar in food processor until combined, about 2 one-second pulses. Add butter and shortening and process until homogenous dough just starts to collect in uneven clumps, about 15 seconds (dough will resemble cottage cheese curds and there should be no uncoated flour). Scrape bowl with rubber spatula and redistribute dough evenly around processor blade. Add remaining cup flour and pulse until mixture is evenly distributed around bowl and mass of dough has been broken up, 4 to 6 quick pulses. Empty mixture into medium bowl.
- Sprinkle vodka and water over mixture. With rubber spatula, use folding motion to mix, pressing down on dough until dough is slightly tacky and sticks together. Divide dough into two even balls and flatten each into 4-inch disk. Wrap each in plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 45 minutes or up to 2 days.
- Bake your pie as directed in whatever recipe!
See how you can sort of see the little chunks of butter and shortening in the picture? You want that because it creates layers of yummy flaky crust