Author Taylor Harbin on Pie All The Time: “While I love each and every dough recipe in this book, if I could only leave you with one, it’d be this. It’s the foundation for all the rest and works for any sweet or savory pie you’d ever want to make. It’s tender, flaky, crisp and sturdy. The egg yolks add richness but also keep the dough malleable and very easy to roll out and the vinegar helps create those flaky layers. Consider this recipe your back-pocket dough for any pie emergency that may come up.”
YIELD: Makes enough for 1 large galette, a recipe of hand pies or a double-crust pie
- 2 large egg yolks
- 2 tsp (10 ml) apple cider vinegar
- 4–6 tbsp (60–90 ml) ice water, or more, divided
- 23⁄4 cups (344 g) all-purpose flour
- 1 tsp sea salt
- 1 cup (224 g) unsalted butter, cold and cut into 1⁄2-inch (1.3-cm) cubes
In a small bowl, mix together the egg yolks, vinegar and 4 tablespoons (60 ml) of the ice water and set it aside. In a large bowl, combine the flour and salt. Add the butter pieces, and toss to coat them in the flour mixture.
Using your hands, pinch the pieces of butter between your thumbs and pointer fingers to flatten them into thin shards. Continue until all the butter has been flattened, working quickly to prevent the butter from getting too warm.
Drizzle the egg mixture over the flour mixture, and toss the mixture with your hands to incorporate the ingredients.
Drizzle over the last 1 to 2 tablespoons (15 to 30 ml) of ice water as needed, a little at a time, just until the dough comes together and is no longer dry and crumbly.
You may not need all of the remaining 2 tablespoons (30 ml), depending on the humidity of the day, or you may need even a bit more.
You want to add just enough water for the dough to feel firmly held together and smooth rather than dry and crumbly, but not so much that it’s soft, wet and sticky to the touch.
Pat the dough out into a rough rectangle about an inch (2.5 cm) thick. Slice the rectangle into quarters, and stack the pieces on top of one another. Gently pat out the dough with your hands into a rectangle about an inch (2.5 cm) thick. Repeat the cutting and stacking once more. This process is going to give us all those flaky layers.
Pat the dough into the size and shape called for according to the pie recipe instructions, wrap it tightly in plastic wrap and chill it in the fridge for at least 2 hours or, ideally, overnight.
Allow the dough to sit at room temperature for a few minutes to soften slightly before rolling it out.
See Taylor Harbin’s Mocha Coconut Cream Pie recipe here for baking times.
Cracked Black Pepper Variation: Add 1 tablespoon (5 g) of freshly cracked black pepper to the flour mixture before adding the butter.
Herb Variation: Add 1 tablespoon (5 g) of roughly chopped fresh, hearty herbs, such as rosemary, thyme, sage or tarragon to the flour mixture before adding the butter.
Plant-Based Variation: Use a plant-based butter, such as Miyoko’s Organic Cultured Vegan Butter, in place of the butter, skip the egg yolks and add another 1 to 2 tablespoons (15 to 30 ml) of ice water as necessary to bring the dough together. This variation bakes up a little paler than a crust made with dairy butter.
About Plant-Based or Vegan Butters:
Plant-based butters are not all created equal. A spread-able vegan butter will not work in this recipe. You’ll need a firm, butter-like stick that you can treat as you would dairy butter, keeping it cold and cubed. In my tests, Miyoko’s Organic Cultured Vegan Butter gave the best results. And it’s also widely available and easy to find at a variety of stores.
Reprinted with permission from Pie All The Time by Taylor Harbin, Page Street Publishing Co. 2021. Photo credit: Taylor Harbin