This is a classic french pie and tart dough with a crumbly texture and buttery flavor. It can be made by hand or in a cuisinart or kitchen aid. You can also freeze it for later use which is a helpful time-saver.
* 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
* 3/4 stick (6 tablespoons) cold unsalted butter, cut into bits
* 2 tablespoons cold vegetable shortening (if you don't have this on hand, you can also just use an entire stick of butter, instead of mixing the two types of fat)
* 1/4 teaspoon salt
* pinch of sugar
* ice water
1. In a large bowl, blend the flour, the butter, the vegetable shortening, and the salt until the mixture resembles meal. You can do this with a pastry cutter or two knives or you can do this whole process in a food processor.
2. Add 3 tablespoons ice water, toss the mixture until the water is incorporated (or pulse if you're using a food processor), and form the dough into a ball.
3. Knead the dough lightly with the heel of your hand against a smooth surface for a few seconds to distribute the fat evenly and re-form it into a ball. Dust the dough with flour and chill it, wrapped in wax paper, for 1 hour or longer.
4. Once it's chilled, roll out and bake however the recipe you're using directs. Alternatively, you can freeze the dough in crust-sized portions so that you have it on hand for future baking projects.
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Thursday, March 26, 2009