photo by the ever-magical
For those of you who don't know, my best friend Aaron is a pie crust savant.
No longer a professional cook, he worked with us at Eccolo for two years, and then for Mary at Ici for two years, but being one of the smartest, most curious people I've ever met, once he became obsessed with pie-making, he went out of his way to perfect his version, conducting trials and poring over Harold McGee until he was satisfied with his dough.
I must confess that I've never been much of a pie fan, but Aaron's is transcendent. So flaky and light, in some ways it's closer to puff pastry than any pie you've ever had. It's more than a pie, more than just the intersection of flour, butter, sugar and fruit. Magic happens in the oven when you put this version in, so much so that when we were dreaming up a menu for the pig roast for the CP 40th birthday, I knew instantly that I wanted a shelf of pies made by Aaron, evoking Wayne Thiebaud, for dessert.
So if you're still poking around for a pie dough recipe, look no further. This one is it, for the rest of your life.
Aaron's Pie Dough
makes two disks, enough for either one covered pie or two uncovered pies
8 oz. (2 sticks) butter, cubed
2 ¼ cups All-purpose flour
1 generous tablespoon sugar
large pinch of salt
water with ice cubes (very, very cold)
Place flour, sugar and salt in bowl of a stand mixer with the paddle attachment.
Freeze the bowl, with ingredients and paddle, for 20 minutes.
While bowl cools, also place butter and water in freezer to chill even more.
Place bowl in mixer on “Mix” speed (the slowest).
Add cubed butter and mix until butter looks like broken walnuts.
Quickly add water and mix minimally until dough barely holds together.
Turn dough out onto work bench and cut in half with bench scraper. Wrap the two pie
dough discs in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least one hour and up to 2 days. At this point, the dough can be frozen for months.
When baking, freeze assembled pie for 25 minutes before placing in 425° oven.
After fifteen minutes, turn oven down to 400°, after another 15 turn down to 350-75° until
pie is done (bubbling out of steam vents).
If blind baking for pumpkin, pecan, or banana cream pie, then simply dock the chilled dough with a fork, line with foil and fill with beans or pie weights and bake along same trajectory until lightly golden, about 35-45 minutes.