A homemade pie crust is so superior to bought ones that I am almost ashamed to even make the comparison. With a couple of small exceptions and adaptations, this is the same crust that has been made in the South for decades, if not centuries. This recipe makes one crust.
Basic Pie Crust
One cup All Purpose Flour
One stick Organic Butter (4 oz.)
1/4 cup Ice Water
Optional: Salt, Sugar
The all butter pie crust is a tradition that makes perfect sense. The Picayune Creole Cookbook even trash talks about other fats in a pie crust.
Some persons use lard for pie crust. This is to be deprecated. The crust will never have the same flavor or be as flaky as when made with butter. Others, again, mix the butter and the lard. This, too, is to be condemned, if you wish for the best results.
There you have it. Unless you want to have your pie crust condemned to Creole pastry hell, use all butter.
Now, back to the crust. Step one is to separate the butter into small, pea to rice size chunks. I use a bench scraper/pastry scraper for this step.
Make a well in the center of the dough and add the ice water in small amounts. Work the dough with one hand (preferably fingertips only) until it sticks together without crumbling. Use the heel of your hand (now we go to the “fraisage” step) to make certain that the butter is well incorporated into the flour. You can accomplish this by folding the dough over a few times.
Scrap the work surface clean and roll the dough into a ball. Wrap in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for an hour or so. Then you can take out your frustrations on the dough.
Spread an ample amount of flour on the work surface and give the dough a couple of good whacks. Oh, go ahead and make it as many as you like. My homemade super bad rolling pin is made of dogwood, and it’s brutalitarian. Roll out the dough as thin as you like. A thick pie crust is no good.
Roll up the crust onto the rolling pin and transfer to your pie plate. Trim around the edges, and you’re done. It’s pie time.
A crust with added sugar is technically know as a pâte brisée sucrée, which strangely enough translates to pie crust with sugar. The Picayune Creole Cookbook recommends taking leftover dough scraps, cooking them as small squares, and serving with jams or preserves. A good pie crust is a terrible thing to waste.