Pie Dough

Mitchell Davis

James Beard Foundation, NYC

Here is my foolproof recipe for flaky, buttery pie dough, inspired by a recipe and technique created by the late Julia Child. Although you could certainly make it by hand by cutting the fat into the flours and stirring in the water, it comes out so perfectly from the processor that I never make it another way. Cake flour is a delicate, low-protein flour available in the baking section of most grocery stores. If you can't find it substitute 2 cups minus 1 tablespoon bleached all-purpose flour for both flours.


  • 1 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup cake flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, diced, chilled
  • 1/4 cup lard or vegetable shortening, chilled
  • 1 teaspoon white vinegar
  • 1/2 cup very cold water


In the work bowl of a food processor fitted with a metal chopping blade, combine the flours and salt. Pulse once or twice to blend. Add the butter and lard and pulse five or six times to cut the fat into the flour. The mixture should resemble coarse crumbs. Combine the vinegar with the cold water (if using shortening, use just the water alone). With the processor running continuously, pour the liquid down the feed tube all at once. As soon as the dough begins to form a ball around the blade, stop the machine. Lay a piece of plastic wrap on a work surface and dump out the dough onto the plastic, scraping the bowl and the blade with a rubber spatula. Pat the dough into a ball, wrap tightly, and refrigerate for at least 1 hour before using.


Enough dough for 2 single 9-inch crusts