Perfect for Poached Pear Pie.
Step 1: Gather tools and ingredients
2 1/2 cups flour
1 teaspoon salt
2 sticks cold butter, cut into small chunks
or replace 2-4 tablespoons butter with lard or shortening
1/4 cup cold vodka1 (or other alcohol 80-proof or higher - it will all cook off)
food processor with chopping blade
And, of course, the pie filling of your choice.
1The vodka allows you to work the dough just like you'd used ice water, but all the alcohol evaporates in the oven leaving a better-textured crust. There's less gluten aggregation, so your pie crust will be more tender.
Step 2: Combine dry ingredients
You may need to press down on the lid to prevent fine dust from escaping the edges.
Step 3: Add butter
Unwrap the butter, and cut it into lots of little cubes. I generally make three cuts lengthwise, flip the slabs, give them another three lengthwise cuts, then whack the sticks into cubes.
Drop the cubes into the flour, making sure they don't stick together. Once you've covered the exposed flour surface cover the bowl and pulse once, then add another layer of butter cubes. The fine layer of flour they pick up will prevent sticking when you add more butter.
Continue until all the butter cubes are in the food processor bowl, then pulse until the butter has turned into small sandy chunks, about 30 seconds. A few bigger chunks are fine.