Basic Butter Pastry with Variations

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If, like me, you are pastry impaired, this is the dough for you because you just mix all of the ingredients very quickly in a food processor. It is used in several of the recipes in my new book: Joanne’s New-and-Improved Blueberry Tart, Raspberry Almond Rugelach, and the Rustic Potato and Greens Pie.

Makes enough pastry for two 9-inch pie shells or 1 double-crust pie • Hands-on time: 20 minutes • Total preparation time: 20 minutes

  • 2 cups unbleached allpurpose flour
  • 1⁄2 teaspoon table salt
  • 12 tablespoons (11⁄2 sticks) cold unsalted butter
  • 2 large egg yolks

1. Combine the flour and salt in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the chopping blade. Cut the butter into 1/8-inch-thick slices and add to the flour mixture. Pulse 10 to 12 times, until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs.

2. Beat the yolks with 2 tablespoons ice water and add to the mixture; pulse 4 to 5 times, until a crumbly mixture forms. Press the mixture together to form a ball, adding more water, if necessary, to make it manageable.

3. You can immediately roll out the dough between lightly floured sheets of plastic wrap or, if you have the time, chill the dough for 1 hour before rolling it out. That allows the gluten in the flour to relax, ensuring a tender crust.

4. Use the pastry as directed in a recipe or divide it in half, shape it into balls, and flatten slightly. Wrap the flattened rounds tightly in freezer wrap and freeze until firm for later use. Use within 3 months.

Sweet Variation: Add 1/4 cup sugar to the flour mixture and 1/2 to 1 teaspoon pure vanilla or almond extract to the egg mixture.

Savory Variation: Add 1/2 teaspoon dried basil, oregano, thyme, dill, or your favorite dried herb mixture to the flour mixture.