In order to start things off right, we gotta start with pastry! I am a pastry addict. In my humble opinion, almost everything would be better in a pastry. But I'm pretty picky about my dough. So I set out to make one that could be my "go-to" for anything, sweet or savory. It had to be flaky and buttery (I'm not a real fan of shortening) with just the right amount of saltiness. My grandmother always added vinegar, for flakiness, she said. But I actually appreciate the tiny way it changes the flavor of the dough too. No bland dough in this household!
So if you're looking for an easy, all-purpose pastry dough for pies, quiche, tarts, crostatas, here it is. This one could be your "go-to!" And no special equipment required.
ALL PURPOSE PASTRY
1 stick of unsalted butter
1 1/2 cups of flour
1 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons ice cold water
1/2 teaspoon distilled white vinegar
makes 6 hand pies, 1 deep dish 9" pie or quiche, or 1 regular 9" pie
Pour a glass of ice water and set aside. Cut the stick of butter into rough cubes quickly, then add the butter, flour, sugar, and salt together in a medium size bowl. Work the mixture together with your hands until the butter is roughly the size of peas. The dough should be very crumbly and hardly pull together. (This is the most important of this recipe. If the butter pieces are too small and too mixed in, then the pastry won't be flaky. And I feel like my hands give me better control than a pastry cutter or food processor.)
Spoon the cold water into the flour mixture 2 tablespoons at a time, mixing with your hands after each 2 tablespoons until the dough comes together. Then add the white vinegar and knead it lightly into the dough with your hands. The dough should be moist and just come together. It should not be crumbly or sticky. If the dough is crumbly, add more cold water. If the dough is sticky, add more flour.
Mold the dough into roughly the shape you will roll out in. (For hand pies, I mold the dough into a rectangle-shaped lump.) Wrap your molded dough in plastic wrap and chill in the refrigerator for 1 hour before using.
The dough will keep for 24 hours in the fridge, but let it set at room temperature for 30 minutes before using so that it's easier to roll out.