The trick is in the vodka! Being only 80-proof, most of the vodka evaporates in the baking process, meaning the crust dough gets the liquid it need to be formed, but most of it will not stay, leaving you with a perfect, flaky crust. And, vodka is, by definition, colorless and odorless, so once it's baked, you'll forget it was ever in there.
If you prefer not to use vodka, swap it for cold water.
Originally titled Foolproof Pie Dough, Cooks Illustrated, November 2007
Step 1: Ingredients
- 2 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour - make sure you measure it right!
- 1 teaspoon table salt
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces
- 1/2 cup cold vegetable shortening, cut into small bits
- 1/4 cup cold vodka
- 1/4 cup cold water
- Food processor, dough cutter, or fork & knife