The fall harvest always feels like a last hurrah, a retirement party for this year’s crops. The fields and orchards explode with colour and flavour and we reap the bounty for the last time before the long winter. Here at FRESH, we think fall produce is best enjoyed when paired with warming spices and nestled in buttery pastry. Pie is humble and rustic, comforting and unpretentious– perfect for chilly autumn evenings by the fire!
Before you decide on your pie filling (pumpkin? apple? pear?) we think it’s important to master the basics of preparing a perfectly flaky pie crust. For many, the process is intimidating but we’re here to say it doesn’t have to be so hard. Our recipe, below, is straightforward and classic (we’ve bolded the most important steps so you don’t miss them). The secret? Keep your butter very cold before mixing and chill your dough before rolling it out.
Flaky Pie Crust
Flaky, buttery pastry. Does it get any better? This recipe makes 1 all-butter pie crust suitable for sweet or savoury fillings.
1/2 tsp (2.5 mL) table salt
1/3 cup (80 mL) very cold water
6 3/4 oz (1 1/2 cups/375 mL) unbleached all-purpose flour
5 oz (10 tbsp/150 mL) unsalted butter, cold, cut into 1-inch (2.5 cm) pieces
Dissolve salt in water.
Add flour to food processor and tumble in cold butter. Pulse 8 times or until some large crumbs and some pea-sized crumbs form. Add the salted water and continue to pulse until the dough starts to come together in large clumps (another 6-8 pulses). Dump dough onto a large sheet of plastic wrap and form into a 1-inch (2.5 cm) thick disk. Cover and chill in the fridge for at least 1 hour and up to overnight. The colder the dough, the easier it will be to work with.
On a lightly floured surface, unwrap the chilled dough and roll out in even strokes with a lightly floured rolling pin, picking up the dough, flipping it over, and turning it to ensure it doesn’t stick. Roll the dough until it is 16 inches (40 cm) in diameter and 1/8 inch (0.25 cm) thick. Transfer to a 9-inch (23 cm) ceramic or glass pie plate and gently press the dough down into the bottom of the plate. For a crimped edge, trim the overhanging dough to 1/2 an inch (1 cm) from the edge. Fold the overhang under and crimp with your fingers or a fork. Wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes and up to overnight.
You’ve made your pie dough and now it’s time to fill it. Check out our post on the best fall fillings and directions for baking.