Basic Pie Crust

Makes 3 single 8-9 inch crusts (use two single crusts for a double crust pie, such as Apple Pie)

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour

  • 1 teaspoon granulated sugar

  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

  • 2 1/2 sticks unsalted butter

  • 1/4 to 1/2 cup ice water

Place all ingredients in a large bowl. Cut the cold butter into small pieces, tabespoon-size or less. Using a hand-held pastry blender with bowed metal blades, cut the butter into the flour mixture or rub the butter into it by hand. Mix until it resembles coarse meal.

Add the ice water, two tablespoons at a time, until the pie dough just holds together. You probably won't need all the water. Remember, the pie dough should not be wet and sticky. If it appears crumbly, add a little more water.

If using a food processor: Put all the ingredients, except the water, into the bowl of the machine and process until a coarse meal forms. Add the water, a little at a time, until a ball forms.

Now, gather the pie dough into a ball and place on a large piece of plastic wrap. Fold one edge of the wrap over the dough and flatten it out with the heel of your hand. Wrap the pie dough with the plastic wrap and refrigerate it for about 45 minutes to an hour.

After the pastry has chilled, divide it into three equal-size pieces. For a double-crust pie, let two of the pieces of dough sit at room temperature a few minutes before rolling each out. Flour the work surface and rolling pin as needed to keep the dough from sticking. Roll out the pie dough. Wrap and chill any unused dough.