Flaky Cream Cheese Pie Dough

This recipe was recommended to me by my fabulous baker/friend Claudine, who described it as “no-fail.” I totally agree! This recipe is from Rose Levy Berenbaum’s The Pie and Pastry Bible. Note: as you will soon see, Berenbaum is extremely particular and I’m sure her attention to detail yields an amazing crust. I, however, simply use her recipe by putting all the ingredients in my food processor, blending the dry, adding the butter, then the liquid, make into a disk, refrigerate for 1/2 hour, then proceed with my recipes. Maybe someday, I’ll be a little more of a perfectionist . .
Flaky Cream Cheese Pie Dough

[Pastry for a 9-inch pie shell or a 9 1/2- or 10- by 1-inch tart shell]

  • 6 T. unsalted butter, cold
  • 1 c. + 1 T. pastry flour or 1 c. (dip and sweep method) bleached all-purpose flour
  • 1/8 t. salt (for savory recipes, use 1 1/2 times the salt)
  • 1/8 t. baking powder
  • 1/4 c. cream cheese, cold
  • 1 T. ice water
  • 1 1/2 t. cider vinegar

Food processor method:

  1. Cut the butter into small (about 3/4-inch) cubes. Wrap it in plastic wrap and freeze it until frozen solid, at least 30 minutes. Place the flour, salt, and baking powder in a reclosable gallon-size freezer bag and freeze for at least 30 minutes.
  2. Place the flour mixture in a food processor with the metal blade and process for a few seconds to combine. Set the bag aside.
  3. Cut the cream cheese into 3 or 4 pieces and add it to the flour. Process for about 20 seconds or until the mixture resembles coarse meal. Add the frozen butter cubes and pulse until none of the butter is larger than the size of a pea. (Toss with a fork to see it better.) Remove the cover and add the water and vinegar. Pulse until most of the butter is reduced to the size of small peas. The mixture will be in particles and will not hold together. Spoon it into the plastic bag. (For a double-crust pie, it is easiest to divide the mixture in half at this point.)
  4. Holding both ends of the bag opening with your fingers, knead the mixture by alternately pressing it, from the outside of the bag with the knuckles and heels of your hands until the mixture holds together in one piece and feels slightly stretchy when pulled.
  5. Wrap the dough with the plastic wrap, flatten it into a disc (or discs) and refrigerate for at least 45 minutes, preferably overnight. (For a pie shell and lattice, divide it in a ratio of two thirds:one third — use about 9.5 ounces for the shell and the rest for the lattice, flattening the smaller part into a rectangle.)

If you want to make it by hand, please see Epicurious for more directions.

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