Basic Pastry Dough


makes four bottoms or two tops and bottoms, make the full recipe and freeze what you don’t use right away and you will have pie dough ready to use for when you need it next.


5 1/3 cups of all purpose flour

4 sticks very cold unsalted butter (1 lb)

4 teaspoons salt

¾ cup ice water


cut butter and salt into the flour with a pastry blender until the mixture is like coarse meal.  sprinkle ice water a tablespoon at a time and mix until a ball forms, (or you can use your food processor) cut in four, form four disks and refrigerate in a zip lock bag with wax paper in between the disks until ready to roll out.  you can halve the recipe if you only want to make two crusts.  or make the full recipe, roll out the dough, dust with flour, fold in half, dust with flour and fold in half again and freeze with wax paper in between in a zip lock bag or a plastic box with a tight fitting lid.  when ready to use, defrost in refrigerator for 24 hours or in a cool spot on your counter until the dough is pliable enough to roll out.


when ready to roll out, sprinkle pastry board with flour, place disk of dough on the board and hit the dough with the rolling pin to soften and flatten out the dough. sprinkle a little flour on the surface and turn the dough over, if the dough is still too hard to roll, hit with the rolling pin on this side too.


you can use this pasty for sweet or savory  pies, sometimes i add lemon zest and juice as part of the liquid, when appropriate for the type of pie, like apple, or a beaten egg as part of the liquid for a pie such as a turkey pot pie.  i pre bake the bottom crust for a turkey pot pie or an apple pie for about 10 mins in a 350F oven.  cover the pie dough with a piece of wax paper; pour dry beans or rice to cover the bottom and sides of the dough. (this is necessary so that the dough does not bubble up as it bakes.) let the partially baked crust cool for about 10 mins, and brush with mustard for a savory pie and with a little melted apricot jam or marmalade for a sweet pie if you wish.


over the years i have bought and used many types of rolling pins.  when we last moved, i couldn’t find my rolling pin and the carpenter had just finished cutting a closet rod, a 2”  wooden doweling, and an 18” piece was left over, so i decided to use that instead of rummaging about in boxes.  i now only use that piece of closet doweling when i need a rolling pin.  it is the best rolling pin i ever used in 30 odd years of making pasty!