Pate Sucre (Sweet Pastry Crust)

Here’s a recipe I have made over a thousand times.  I’ve made it so many times that I feel confident in the preciseness of this recipe and the ease of it as well.  This same recipe can be used for unsweetened crust for savory pies and tarts:  Just leave out the sugar.  Nothing else has to be adjusted.

Makes Two 9” Pie Crusts

3½      Cups All Purpose Flour

¼         Cup Granulated Sugar

1          Teaspoon Fine Sea Salt

8          Ounces Cold Unsalted Butter (2 Sticks) Each Stick Cut Into 16 Pieces

½         Cup Cold Vegetable Shortening Such as Crisco

5 – 6    Tablespoons Ice Water

My personal preference for making this or any pastry crust is to use my fingertips.  To make it my way, place the flour, sugar and salt in a large bowl and whisk to combine.  Add the cut up butter and blend into the flour mixture using your fingertips.  Work quickly so butter does not get too soft.  Blend until the mixture resembles coarse meal or small peas.  Add the vegetable shortening in the same manner.  When all is mixed take a small amount and press it together in the palm of your hand.  If it stays together it is time to add the water.  Start with 5 tablespoons of the ice water and pour over the mixture.  Gather the mixture together into a ball.  If it is too crumbly and won’t stay together add a little more water.  You want the mixture to come together nicely.  Not dry or wet.  Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and form it into two balls. Flatten into disks and wrap the disks in plastic.  Refrigerate 1 hour.

If this all seems to daunting, use your food processor following this next set of directions:  Place the flour, sugar, and salt in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the steel blade. Pulse a few times to combine. Add the butter and shortening to the flour. Pulse the mixture until the mixture forms crumbs the size of peas. With the motor running, add the ice water all at once through the feed tube. Keep hitting the pulse button to combine the mixture and the dough comes together. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and form it into two balls. Flatten into disks and wrap the disks in plastic.  Refrigerate 1 hour.

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