Most of the people face an issue when it comes to pie making. Their pastry comes out too tough or too crumbly. They don’t know what type of flour to use, whether butter or shortening is best, or how much water to add. Here’s some good news: I’m sharing the only pastry dough recipe you’ll ever need. This is the by-hand method; you can use your food processor, but your crust won’t be quite as flaky and perfect. Inspired by my Grandma Jeanne’s recipe, this pastry is flaky, flavorful and easy to work with. And there’s no sugar, so it works with sweet or savory pies.
What you do with dough can also speak volumes about your culture and nationality. From the flaky, delicate Turkish phyllo to the sturdy wrapper of Cornish pasties, different countries each have a unique and traditional relationship with pastry dough.
In this article, we’ll go through the long and varied history of pastry dough, focusing on how it’s changed throughout the centuries and throughout other cultures. But first, we’ll look at how dough itself works.
How Pastry Works
If you want wafer-thin, flaky dough for one dish and sturdy, hardworking dough for a different dish, all you have to do is alter the way the chemical bonds form. Fats, such as lard, butter, shortening, oil, cream cheese and sour cream, are what differentiate pastry dough from pasta or bread dough. Fats work to break up gluten and starch networks. They literally shorten the bonds formed between flour and water, hence the term “shortening.” The shortened bonds have a weaker chemical structure, making the dough more tender. Before baking, the flaky layers of piecrust and puff pastry actually float on microscopic layers of fat.
Find step-by-step instructions and four scrumptious recipes below.
Bake Material Matters
Heavy metal and ceramic pans are the best bets for baking pastries. They concentrate heat from the oven and distribute it evenly to the dough. Pans of thin metal don’t hold much heat, resulting in longer cooking times and uneven browning. Shiny pans scatter heat away from the food creating similarly unsatisfactory results. By different mechanisms, black pans and clear glass pans transmit heat straight to the crust, which can cause them to cook too quickly.
- 2 parts flour (2 cups or 200 grams)
- 1 tsp (2 grams) salt
- 1 part water and milk, mixed (2 ounces [59 milliliters] water + 2 ounces [59 milliliters] milk)
- One-third part lard or other fat (2.4 ounces) [68 grams]
Mix the flour and salt together in a large mixing bowl, then form a well in the center. In a saucepan, combine lard and liquids and heat until just boiling. Remove the pot from the heat and pour the liquid into the flour well, stirring the mixture quickly with a wooden spoon until the dough forms. Allow the dough to rest until it cools, then turn it onto a lightly floured board and knead until it’s smooth. You can hand raise the dough into a cooking vessel, or shape it by molding it around the outside of a pot, pie pan or jelly jar, depending on what size you need. Be sure to save some dough to flatten into a lid for your dish.