1⁄4 teaspoon salt
10 tablespoons unsalted butter, preferably a high-fat, European-style butter like Plugra, chilled and cut into 1⁄2-inch pieces
2 to 5 tablespoons ice water
1. In a food processor, briefly pulse together the flour and salt. Add butter and pulse until mixture forms chickpea-size pieces (3 to 5 one-second pulses). Add ice water 1 tablespoon at a time, and pulse until mixture is just moist enough to hold together.
2. Form dough into a ball, wrap with plastic and flatten into a disk. Refrigerate at least 1 hour before rolling out and baking.
Yield: One 9-inch single pie crust. Recipe can be doubled for a double crust; divide dough into two balls and form two disks before chilling.
Variations: You can experiment with textures and flavors by substituting 3 to 4 tablespoons shortening, lard, beef suet, duck fat or an unsweetened nut butter, such as hazelnut butter, almond butter or mixed nut butter, for 3 to 4 tablespoons regular butter. All should be well chilled before using.
Rendered leaf lard can be purchased from the Flying Pigs Farm stand at the
Cheddar Crust: This crispy crust pairs nicely with apple pie or savory pie fillings. Pulse together 11⁄4 cups flour with 3⁄4 teaspoon salt. Add 3⁄4 cup grated sharp cheddar; pulse until mixture forms coarse crumbs. Add 8 tablespoons chilled, cubed butter and proceed according to the directions for All-Butter Pie Crust.
Prebaked Crust: Preheat oven to 375 degrees. On a lightly floured surface, roll out pie crust to a 12-inch circle. Transfer crust to a 9-inch pie plate. Fold over any excess dough, then crimp edges. Prick crust all over with a fork. If you have time, freeze crust for 15 to 30 minutes; otherwise skip this step. Cover pie with aluminum foil and fill with pie weights (you can use pennies, rice or dried beans for this). Bake for 15 minutes; remove foil and weights and bake until pale golden, 5 to 7 minutes more. Cool on rack until needed.