Flaky Tart Dough

1 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup water, very cold
3 cups + 2 tablespoons (1 pound) all-purpose flour
1 cup + 5 tablespoons (10 1/2 ounces) unsalted butter, very cold


Stir the salt into the water until dissolved. Chop the butter into small pieces (1/2 to 1 inch). I stash the water and butter in the freezer for 20-30 minutes before proceeding.

If you like to mix pie crust by hand, go ahead. If you’re less sure of yourself, you’ll probably prefer the food processor. Put the flour in the bowl of your food processor. Scatter the very cold butter over the flour and quickly toss it around a bit to coat with flour. Pulse briefly until the mixture forms large crumbs; some of the butter should still be in pieces the size of peas.

Take the top off the processor, sprinkle the flour-butter mixture with about half of the very cold water, replace the top, and pulse a couple of times. Then add the rest of the water and pulse until the dough begins to come together into a ball but is not completely smooth. You should still be able to see some butter chunks. (I think it is more common to pour the water through the feed tube with the top on while the processor is running, but that method usually leads me to over-process and still fails to distribute the water evenly.)

On a lightly floured surface, divide the dough into 2 equal balls and shape each ball into a disk 1 inch thick. Wrap well and chill for at least 2 hours or up to overnight. I accidentally froze (instead of refrigerating) my dough for 2 hours before rolling out and found it especially easy to work with.

On a lightly floured surface or between two pieces of parchment paper, roll the chilled dough out 1/8 inch thick, rolling from the center toward the edge in all directions. Work as quickly as you can and give the dough a quarter turn every few strokes to discourage sticking. Carefully transfer the dough to a pie dish or tart pan, easing it into the bottom and sides and then pressing gently into place. Trim or flute exess dough at the rim as you like. Chill until firm to the touch, 30 minutes to 1 hour (or wrap well and chill overnight).

Preheat the oven to 375. Line the chilled shell with parchment paper and fill with pie weights. For a fully baked shell, bake until the surface looks light brown, about 25 minutes (peek under the paper to check). Remove from the oven and remove parchment and pie weights. Return shell to oven and bake until golden brown, about 5 minutes more. Cool completely on wire racks before filling.