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Basic Pie Crust

in case you don't already have a favorite recipe; the key to this short crust pastry is to keep the bits of butter separate and intact, because that's what makes the result light and flaky

For a 9 or 10 inch two crust pie For a single 8, 9, or 10 inch pie
If you have a mill:
      300 grams soft wheat berries, milled to the finest flour

225 grams wheat berries
If you don't have a mill:
      2 cups whole wheat pastry flour, unbleached all purpose flour, or pastry flour
      1/2 teaspoon salt
      2 tablespoons sugar (optional)
1 1/2 cups flour
Scant 1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 tablespoons sugar (optional)
1/2 cup chilled unsalted butter
cold water
1/3 cup unsalted butter
cold water

In a generously sized bowl, at least 2 quarts' capacity, whisk together the flour, salt, and sugar (if using--it will help the crust brown a little better without really rendering it sweet).   

Grate the butter into the flour with the coarse side of a grater, stirring every few passes with a fork to coat the grated bits with flour and keep them from massing back together.  Rub any large clumps of butter between your fingers.

Add cold water slowly while stirring--this is easily done by working under the tap with water running at a slow drizzle.  When the dough balls up and nearly all of the flour is moistened, but while there is still a bit of dry flour in the bottom of the bowl, use your clean hands to knead in the last few bits of flour with one or two strokes.  Bits of butter should still be visible and individual in the finished dough.

For a two-crust pie, divide the dough into two pieces.   Take each portion of dough and pat into a smooth round flattened to about 1/2 inch thick.  Wrap in waxed paper or plastic and chill for at least 30 minutes or up to 3 days before rolling out.  

Variations to play with:
1 tablespoon of sugar may make the crust brown more, but doesn't really make it sweet
1 teaspoon vinegar in the water will tenderize a little more
1 egg yolk beaten in with the water will make a richer but not flakier dough

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