Recipe: Single crust pie shell

Based on the recipe from Cook's Illustrated and prepared for dinner on July 1, 2012.

Makes one nine inch pie shell.


6¼ ounces (1¼ cups) unbleached all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon table salt
1 tablespoon sugar
6 tablespoons cold unsalted butter
¼ cup cold vegetable shortening
2 tablespoons vodka, cold
2 tablespoons water, cold


  1. The butter, shortening, vodka, and water should all be chilled to refrigerator temperature.
  2. Add ¾ cup flour, salt, and sugar to the bowl of a food processor and pulse for a few seconds to combine.
  3. Cut the cold butter into ¼ inch pieces, add to the flour mixture in the food processor.
  4. Cut the cold shortening into four pieces, add to the food processor, and process until a homogeneous dough starts to form, about 10 seconds. The dough will resemble cottage cheese and there should be no uncoated flour.
  5. Scrape down the sides of the bowl.
  6. Add ½ cup flour and pulse until combined, 4 to 6 pulses.
  7. Transfer the dough into a medium bowl and sprinkle with the cold water and vodka.
  8. Fold the water into the dough with a rubber spatula, pressing down on the dough. It will be slightly tacky.
  9. Turn the dough onto plastic wrap, flatten it into a 4″ disk, and refrigerate for at least 45 minutes.
  10. Remove dough from refrigerator and, on a generously floured surface, roll into a twelve-inch circle.
  11. Drape the dough loosely over the rolling pin and transfer it to a 9″ pie plate.
  12. Lift the edges of the dough and gently press it into the bottom of the pie plate.
  13. Refrigerate until the dough is firm, about 30 minutes.
  14. Move a rack to the bottom position of the oven. Put a rimmed baking dish on the rack and heat to 425°.
  15. Trim the edges of the dough (kitchen shears work well for this) to ½ inch from the edge of the pie plate.
  16. Fold the overhang under and either flute it or press it down with the tines of a fork.
  17. Refrigerate the dough for another 15 minutes.
  18. Remove the pie shell from the refrigerator and line it with two layers of foil. Add coins or pie weights.
  19. Bake for 15 minutes.
  20. Remove the foil and weights and bake the shell for an additional 5 to 10 minutes until it is golden brown and crisp.
  21. Cool to room temperature on a rack.
Cut the flour and fat together using a food processor.
After chilling, the dough is ready to roll out.

Rolled out and ready for the pie plate.

The dough is ready to chill again.

Fluted and ready to chill the third and final time.
Weighted for baking so the bottom doesn't lift away from the bottom of the pie plate.

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