(Tb = tablespoon)
Prepare a cool, dry surface larger than your pie pan on which to roll out your pie crust.
Cut the butter into 8-to-12 pieces and place in the food processor. Add the flour and salt. Pulse the food processor about 10 or 15 times until the mixture looks like small peas.
With the processor running, sprinkle in the water, about 1 tablespoon (15ml) at a time. Process until the dough begins to clump. (If you keep processing, it will eventually form one ball. This is cool to see, but it’s best to stop the processor before you see it. Too much processing can make the crust tough.)
Sprinkle a little flour on your rolling surface and place the dough on it. (Note: if you’ve made the largest recipe, take about 2/3 of the dough for rolling the bottom crust.)
Rub a little flour onto the rolling pin so the dough won’t stick to it, then roll the dough in a rough circle a little larger than the diameter of your pan. If the dough sticks to your rolling pin, sprinkle on a little more flour. The dough should be about 1/8 to 1/4 inch (3.2 to 6.35 mm) thick.
Use a spatula to loosen the dough from the flat surface, folding it in half and then in quarters to make lifting it up easy. Place the folded dough in the pie pan, open it into a circle and press it into the pie pan, shaping it to fit.
Making the Top Crust
If you’d like to have a top crust or lattice crust on your pie, shape the remaining dough into a flat disk and roll it out as above.
Place the filling (fruit) into your pie plate. Determine how big to make the top crust based on how much fruit you’ve piled up in the pie. Place the crust on top of the fruit and seal the edges by squeezing the top and bottom crusts together with your fingers.
If you want to make it fancy, cut out some shapes from the top crust before you put the crust on top of the fruit; otherwise, cut a few slits in the top to allow steam to come out, or use a cute pie bird for this purpose.
Tips from Jane
— If you don’t have a food processor, you can make this crust by hand. The process is essentially the same.
—Many bakers recommend chilling the dough for an hour before rolling. I usually don’t remember to do this, but if you have time it’s good to do. Keeping the dough cool retards the formation of gluten during processing and rolling. Too much gluten makes your dough rubbery and your crust tough.
— Pie crust is very forgiving. If yours tears or splits, as mine often does, just patch it together with your fingers or a little bit of dough. It doesn’t matter if it’s a little bumpy or uneven—after all, it’s going to be covered with yummy filling! You don’t want holes in the crust, however, as that could allow the filling to seep underneath the crust.
— Crimping the edge to make it look nice isn’t difficult. Just use your fingers to shape small indentations, working your way around the crust. You can also use the back of a fork to decorate an edge. Even fancier? Use a pastry wheel.