I have mentioned this dough before but it's worth its own recipe post.
Pie and pastry dough must be a little scary; why else would so many turn to prepared crusts? For me I'd rather make something else than use one of those. Not to disparage them as they have their place I'm sure, but a side by side comparison makes the prepared crust look like an evil mutant younger brother.
This crust is pretty easy to make, with a surprising and essential ingredient: vodka. It doesn't contribute any flavor to the finished dough and it is responsible for the lovely texture in the end. The recipe below makes dough for a double-crusted pie or two pies without the lid.
The key here is cold! A little advanced prep is what makes this work. Twenty minutes before you're ready to make the dough, prep the vodka and water, then the butter and shortening and stash them in the freezer. You want to work quickly once you start and starting out with everything really cold will help you immensely. Better to start out right than have to stop and refrigerate things to cool them down, right?
The Best Pie Dough
for one 9 inch double crusted pie
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp salt
2 Tbs sugar
12 Tbs (1 1/2 sticks) cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/4 inch slices and frozen for 10 minutes
1/2 cup cold vegetable shortening, cut into 4 pieces and frozen for 10 minutes
1/4 cup vodka, measured and placed in freezer for 20 minutes
1/4 cup water, measured and placed in freezer for 20 minutes
Process 1 1/2 cups flour, salt, and sugar in a food processor just until combined. Add the butter and shortening and process until uneven clumps form, about 20 seconds. Scrape the bowl down with a spatula and add the remaining flour. Pulse 5 or 6 times until the mixture stars to combine and the mass has broken up. Empty the mixture into a large bowl.
Sprinkle the vodka and water over the mixture, and fold together with a spatula until the dough comes together. Divide the dough into 2 even balls and flatten into a disk. Wrap well with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 45 minutes, or for 2 days. The dough can also be frozen for up to 2 months.
Go ahead, make your own pie dough!