Basic Pie Dough

Makes 1 Double Crusted 9-10 Inch Pie
I use my foolproof Cream Cheese Pastry (page 65) for both savory and sweet pies; this is the other recipe I use only for sweet ones. The milk adds a little more fat, which helps with the pliability and gives you a little more grace when rolling out. Try making this both by hand and in a food processor; if you master both methods, you’ll be ready to make pie regardless of what equipment—or lack thereof—is on hand. If you fi nd yourself without a rolling pin, try a clean, dry wine or soda bottle, well floured, instead. Keep ingredients cold and work fast.

I prefer unbleached all-purpose fl our, such as King Arthur or Bob’s Red Mill.


  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon coarse salt
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) cold, unsalted butter, cut into pieces
  • 1/2 cup cold milk or water


1. In a large bowl or in the bowl of a food processor, combine the flour and salt. Add the butter and cut in or pulse until the mixture resembles a coarse meal. (To “cut in” means to mix cold fat such as butter with dry ingredients to form small pieces.) Pour in the milk. Combine just until the dough holds together in a ball.
2. Turn the dough onto a piece of plastic wrap and lift the sides toward the middle to press them together. Cut the dough in half. Form each piece into a disk and wrap in plastic. Refrigerate for at least 15 minutes. If the dough has been refrigerated in advance, remove 15 minutes before using.

cook's note
Making Dough by Hand: Cut the butter into the flour with a fork, two knives, or a pastry cutter. Or, use your fingertips and work fast. Pour the milk over the fat/fl our particles. Use your whole hand to gather everything together and form the dough. Handle as little as required to make a solid mass. The dough is right if a piece can be pinched together and hold its shape. Proceed to Step 2.

The dough can be made and refrigerated up to 3 days in advance.
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