Olive Magazine

American Pies

Basic butter pastry dough


I like making dough by hand because feeling the dough gives me valuable feedback—whether there are still any large chunks of fat that need to be broken down, for instance, or if the dough is getting too warm or sticky and I need to put it in the fridge for a few minutes. Whenever I teach this method, students start getting nervous as it seems like the flour and butter won’t cohere, but I tell them to resist the urge to add more water. Instead, compressing the dough swiftly and repeatedly forces it to stick together. For this reason, having faith in the method is just as important as using the right ingredients.

caster sugar ½ tbsp
cold plain flour 130g, plus extra for rolling
unsalted butter 110g, chilled and cut into 1cm pieces

• Stir together the sugar, ½ tsp of salt and 2 tbsp of just-boiled water in a small bowl until the sugar and salt are dissolved. Put the bowl in the freezer—the liquid needs to be ice-cold before it is added to the dough. Put the/2cm-thick disc.

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