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Pie dough in the food processor

Do you use the plastic "dough" blade or the regular blade?

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  1. I use the regular blade.

    1. Agree. Regular blade. The dough blade is for bread.

        1. Regular, but the standard method of adding the ice water, then processing till it forms a ball, is overdoing the mixing, and not optimal. Process till you can still see some clumps of butter, then dump into a bowl and sprinkle with ice water, tossing with a fork till well-blended. Form into a disc, wrap, and chill for a few hours to evenly hydrate before rolling. This paraphrases Cook's Illustrated's advice, which preserves the flakiness of the crust.

          13 Replies
          1. re: greygarious

            Exactly how I do it, and I always like the way it turns out.

            1. re: greygarious

              I wish I would have seen your post before! I tried Ina's Perfect Pie crust, which has you do the whole thing in the food processor. On the show hers comes together in a snap, but mine looked like hell. I have a good food processor and I used the metal blade, but half of mine was soggy and wet and the other half was dry and powdery. Needless to say, I didn't have nice big chunks of fat throughout the dough.

              Next time I will either just process the fat and flour and empty into another bowl to finish the mixing, or I'll just get a pastry cutter and do the whole thing by hand to avoid having to wash the processor.

              1. re: AnnieWilliams

                Sounds like you did not rest the dough in the fridge to allow the hydration to even out. If after doing that the dough is STILL too dry, ice water in a spritzer bottle can be used. That way the water will absorb evenly and quickly in just a few minutes, allowing you to roll the dough.

                If you scrap the processor method entirely, I like using the large holes of a box grater to shred sticks of frozen butter into the flour. Then it just needs a little tossing, adding the water, and some fraisage once the dough is hydrated. Shredding frozen shortening doesn't work as well since it is softer than frozen butter.

                1. re: greygarious

                  I didn't even bother after it had been mixed, because I knew it was screwed. It was total annihilation of the fat, and the middle part around the blade was sticky wet (think bread dough), and the outer part was powder. There were no decent chunks of fat left. In Ina's video, you basically let the food processor rip as you are adding the water, until the dough forms a ball. Then, it's done. Mine never formed the ball, and I did use the feed tube to add the water. I haven't given up yet, I just might try using a different technique next time.

                2. re: AnnieWilliams

                  I use a processor recipe from Ken Haedrich's PIE, and his trick is the fluffing wtih a fork after every addition. So, shortening goes in, blitz a few times, then fluff. More shortening, blitz, fluff. Some water, blitz, fluff, and then again. It's great dough.

                  1. re: AnnieWilliams

                    That's the consistency I get too but I just dump the whole thing out onto plastic wrap and form it into a disc. I mold the disc through the plastic wrap so it doesn't get too hot and after it rests, it usually comes together fine and I do get a flaky dough out of it.

                    1. re: Dcfoodblog

                      Hmm maybe I will give it another go and see what happens.


                  2. re: greygarious


                    Use Alton Brown's pie crust recipe, I've never had any trouble with it. Alcohol works even better than ice water, producing as little gluten as possible while still bringing the dough together. Plus it adds a bit of flavor too. I do the whole thing in a food processor and it works great for me.

                    1. re: TheFormerVeg

                      Thanks for the tip. I have wanted to try the vodka pie crust recipe, and there's also another one with vinegar and egg that I wanted to try as well. There is a different one from the guy who wrote the vodka pie crust recipe which is supposed to be awesome.


                      1. re: AnnieWilliams

                        Kenji's recipe works great, though I've combined his methods and do the food processor paste followed by half vodka/half water.

                          1. re: Claudette

                            This is how I do it as well - I process pure butter with half my flour until it becomes a paste, then add the rest of the flour and pulse till it looks like crumbs. Dump it out and toss with ice water plus a bit of vodka (I am cheap so I use 1 part vodka to 3 parts water instead of half and half, and it works fine). The best pie crust ever. The only failure I've had was when I neglected to fully process the butter and flour in the first step.

                    2. re: greygarious

                      That's what I do, too, except I use mostly butter, processing that for a few pulses before adding a little shortening (ice cold, too) and pulsing for a few more bursts. The crust is always perfect. I almost wonder if it's foolproof because my oven heating element caught on fire and broke when my pie was in there for two minutes—just long enough to start the butter melting. I had to race to the nearest available oven (on Thanksgiving!!) and entered the wrong temp, nearly burning it. My SIL lowered the temp and covered the whole thing in foil for the last 25 minutes and the pie still came out perfect! I pretty much use Brown-Eyed Baker's apple pie crust, maybe verbatim, although I have a habit of tweaking.

                    3. Regular blade. I cut the butter into pieces, freeze it and then toss in flour before adding to FP, followed by ice water. Works every time.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: escondido123

                        This is pretty much what I do. I add the flour to the FP, toss and equally distribute the frozen butter in the flour, and then proceed. I feel equal distribution is key, otherwise some of the butter gets overmixed.

                      2. In another thread, Becca Porter posted this link to an article about making the science of making pie dought using the food processor: http://sweets.seriouseats.com/2011/07.... The recipe was fantastic!

                        1. Steel knife, not the plastic blade.

                          1. nope, I use the metal blade.

                            1. Adding the water can sometimes be a little tricky. It is easy to add too much, and to add too much at the same spot. Misting in a spray bottle seems a little inefficient to me. I now use an old fashioned plastic clothes sprinkler bottle. It adds just the right amount, and disperses it evenly. I have recently used the food processor to mix my dough, but it seems to me that for all the headstands that need to be done to prevent failure, it is easier to do the mixing by hand or with a pastry blender. I like using my hands, if it is not too warm a day; what better tools do we have to judge perfection than the feel of our hands?

                              7 Replies
                              1. re: Jessiet

                                What is a clothes sprinkler bottle?

                                1. re: nofunlatte

                                  Imagine a cruet like the ones used in restaurants for oil and vinegar, only the top has several holes in it instead of just one.....

                                  1. re: nofunlatte

                                    Showing my age: back in the olden days (i.e., my youth), housewives did the laundry, then sprinkled the dried clothes with a specialty spritzer bottle of water, rolled, and stored clothes in the 'fridge until ironing day (pre-perma press, natch). Had forgotten about that--opening the fridge to a bundle of laundry rather than food!

                                  2. re: Jessiet

                                    I don't get why people aren't using the feed tube to add water. Just dribble it in while the dough is mixing - no headstands, no water all in one spot, no misting. I've been making all butter pie dough in the FP for years this way with no trouble and always a flaky crust. If I had wanted to use my hands for everything, I wouldn't have bought a food processor in the first place.

                                    1. re: LisaPA

                                      I agree. The FP made me someone who could make good pie crust, which I could never do well before. Never have had a problem as long as the butter and water were both ice cold and the water was added through the feed tube with the FP running.

                                      1. re: escondido123

                                        I used the feed tube for my water and it was a godawful mess. See my earlier post. I just think that some processors don't do well with pie dough.

                                    2. re: Jessiet

                                      <old fashioned plastic clothes sprinkler bottle>

                                      Wow. I haven't seen one of those in years. My mother, the expert linen launderer, used one to sprinkle her linens. I'm now on a mission to find one. Thanks for the memory.

                                    3. Metal blade. No matter what, it still beats what I was doing before. I chill flour, shred the frozen butter on the largest holes of a grater right into the cold flour in the bowl, give it a fast whirl, then add water. I've had trouble not adding too much. if there's a little flour left over and it feels right except that, I'll just take it out and use it as is sans extra flour.