Makes one 12” crostata or a 10-12” single crust pie shell
This crostata/pie dough was published in Alice Waters Chez Panisse Fruit cookbook. It’s an amazing cookbook and one I use all the time. She acknowledges in the book that she got the recipe from Jacque Pépin, who calls it his “crunch dough”. I’ve tried a lot of recipes for crostata dough and this is the best and least fussy one that I know of. You can double this recipe and put half in. The freezer after it’s been shaped.
- 130 grams (4.5 ounces) unbleached all-purpose flour
- ½ teaspoon sugar
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 85 grams (6 tablespoons) cold unsalted butter
- 3.5 tablespoons ice water
- Place sugar, salt and flour in a bowl and whisk to combine. Put in freezer while you cut the butter.
- Cut the butter into 1/2” cubes. Take 1/3 of the butter pieces and blend into the flour mixture with a pastry cutter until it looks like course cornmeal. This will make the pastry tender as it prevents the dough from gluten development by coating the flour.
- Take the remaining butter pieces and cut into the mixture until the largest pieces of butter are the size of large peas. This will make the crust flakey.
- Drizzle about 3 1/2 tablespoons of ice water over the mixture about 1 tablespoon at a time as you are tossing the flour and water, letting it slide freely through your fingers.
- I usually toss the dough with my right hand and sprinkle water with my left. Don’t pinch, pat or squeeze as it will make the dough tough. I promise that if you keep tossing it it will come together as the flour hydrates. Keep tossing the flour and water until you start getting moist curd like pieces with some dry patches. At that point you can evaluate the mixture. You can add up to another 1 1/2 teaspoons of water if there are more dry patches than moist curd like pieces.
- Once the dough has come together, gently press it into a 5”-6” flat circular shape and wrap well in plastic wrap. Let it chill for at least an hour before rolling. This allows the gluten to relax and the flour to become fully hydrated. You can refrigerate the dough for up to two days or freeze it for a few weeks.
- When you are ready to roll, unwrap the dough and let it sit until it is pliable but still cold. If you’re impatient like me, you can just take a rolling pin and smack it a few times until it’s pliable.
- Roll it out on a well floured surface. I like rolling it out on a silicone mat which I’ve rubbed with flour. I place the mat on my granite counter top or a slab of marble to keep the surface cold.
- Roll it to about 1/16” thick and dust off any excess flour. If I’m making a crostata, I roll it to a 14” so I have a good 2” to fold towards the center.
- For a pie, place it in the tin and leave yourself enough excess so that you can fold it over to double the edge so that you can crimp the dough. 1/8” thickness wouldn’t be a sturdy enough edge. Thus the need to double it.