I was once a first grader with high hopes and unreasonable expectations. On our tranquil suburban street, there lived a family with a large brood of children. I don’t remember any of the children in particular except for their older brother. He was maybe a high schooler, though my skewed childhood perception is entirely unreliable. In preschool I was sure that the first graders on the other side of the fence were giants and that I had no hope of ever being as tall as they were. I proved to be wrong. At any rate, this older brother was the coolest older brother I never had. He rode his big-kid bike around the neighborhood, and if we were lucky, he would attach a sturdy little black wagon to the back and we would all pile in for a scenic tour of the neighborhood.
I knew I couldn’t give myself a ride in the black wagon. But I could definitely ride my bike just like he could. No training wheels, lightning speed, standing up.
So one fateful day I pushed off down the sidewalk, pedaling fast toward adulthood through the crunchy leaves. As I gained momentum I stood up, bracing my feet against the plastic white pedals of my purple bike. For a glorious moment I was a big kid, wind whipping through the wisps of hair sticking out from under my globular white helmet, beaming with a glossy pink cat sticker I had picked out myself.
Then I crashed. The exact moment remains a little obscured in my memory. I do remember shakily picking myself up and slowly wheeling my bike home, walking in a stunned stupor. I remember gazing into the mirror at the bloody forehead of a blunt force trauma victim.
From that day on, I never again attempted to stand up while riding my bicycle. I would never be that big kid who took my younger siblings on wagon rides after school, pedaling lazily down the block while standing upright. My butt would forever be firmly planted on the bicycle seat.
I have never quite recovered the high hopes I once nurtured for my cycling prowess. That’s alright. I’ve come to terms with it. But this pie crust recipe is worthy of all your dreams and lofty expectations. I promise you, unless you forget the butter entirely or sub baking soda for flour, this pie crust will hit the mark every time. Maybe, like me, you will never be able to bike while standing up. Or run a 7 minute mile. Or win an Olympic medal, even one of the bronze variety.
But you can make awesome pie crust. Yes you can!
Pie Crust 101
This makes enough dough for two 9″ pie crusts, because I almost never make open pies. But if you are making such a pie (e.g. banana cream, key lime, etc.), cut this recipe in half.
2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
2 tbsp sugar
1/2 tsp salt
16 tbsp (two sticks) cold, unsalted butter cut into small chunks
6 tbsp cold water
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment (or just a large bowl), mix together the flour, sugar, and salt.
- Add the small butter pieces and blend on medium-low until the mixture resembles coarse sand with pea-sized pieces of butter. This can also be done with a pastry cutter, a fork, or your fingers.
- Add the cold water tablespoon by tablespoon, mixing on low speed. Mix until the dough just comes together.
- Form the dough into a ball, wrap in plastic wrap, and chill in the refrigerator for at least half an hour. You can also freeze the dough at this point if needed.
- When ready to use, roll out the dough on a lightly floured surface and use as needed.
- Before baking, brush the crust with lightly beaten egg and sprinkle with sugar for an extra crunch.