For as long as I have thought of myself as a baker, a maker, a creator, I have paired those thoughts with shame. What if I’m not actually as good as I think I am? What if no one likes this dessert? What if the people I am so lucky to work with don’t respect my work, my dish, or me? Do I even belong here among this talent? Look at me! Asking the tough questions.
Bakers are notoriously known for perfectionism. We are perfectionists first which makes pastry so enticing. It allows for one to lean on that crutch because if you do everything exactly right, at the exact time, in the exact way, you will produce a consistent loaf of bread, macaron, what have you. Sounds like the perfect fit for someone who needs everything to be just so, right? It is but mostly it isn’t.
Maybe the largest problem with being a perfectionist is the tendency not to begin or even try something new because what if its not right? What if its a failure? What if I’m a failure? From experience, I know that leaving that zone of perfection and allowing myself to make mistakes and admit that I make and have made mistakes (aka vulnerability), thats when the good stuff happens. That’s when the real learning happens. That’s when you learn to make the perfect pie dough.
While I don’t yet know the key to letting go and embracing the vulnerability, I will promise you that I will never stop learning to improve myself and my work. I will trust myself more so that I can bring more wonderful and delicious things to this world and I will lean into the fear and vulnerability.
The Perfect Pie Dough
Makes 3 x 9 inch (12oz) pie crusts
18 oz All Purpose Flour
1 tsp salt
12 oz butter, cubed & straight from the fridge
Fill a 2 cup measuring cup three quarters full with ice and the rest of the way with water. You will want the water to be ice cold, so do this step first. (TRUST ME.)
Weigh out your flour in the bowl of a stand mixer and add in the salt. Place bowl on mixer with the paddle attachment and turn the mixer on its lowest speed. Begin adding the butter in, a few pieces at a time but as quickly as possible. You don’t ever want to touch the butter for longer than you have to.
After all the cubes of butter are in the flour mixture, turn off the mixer and start “piecing” the butter with your thumb and forefinger. Think of mimicking the movement of snapping. You want the butter pieces to look flattened or sheeted when they leave your hand. Once there are no longer any large chunks of butter, turn your mixer back on to the lowest speed. If the flour and butter mixture resembles moistened sand and starts creeping up the side, it is ready to slowly add the ice water.
YOU WILL NOT NEED ANYMORE THAN 1/4 CUP ICE WATER, if that. Pour 1/4 water from the 2 cup measuring cup into another cup that has a spout. Turn your mixer on and slowly begin to add the water. Add half first, turn off the mixer and scrape the bottom of the bowl, essentially flipping the flour mixture over so what was on bottom is now on top. Feel around and see if the pie dough is just moist enough. If its not, add a little bit of water at a time with the mixer on low speed. Stopping the mixer after the water is just incorporated. This part is a slow process with a lot of touching and feeling of the dough. Once you have moistened the dough enough, turn on the mixer and mix dough until it comes together.
Flour your counter surface and turn the dough out. Bring it together into one dough ball with your hands then weigh out 12 oz portions. Shape into disks and wrap in plastic. Allow to chill in fridge over night before rolling out the dough.