Flaky butter crust recipe

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  • Yield: 2 (9½-inch) single crusts or 1 double crust with some dough left over for lattice work or other decoration


  • ¼ cup (50 g) packed dark brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon unfiltered apple cider vinegar
  • 1½ teaspoons fine sea salt
  • 4 cups (500 g) all-purpose flour, plus more for the surface
  • 3 sticks (339 g) unsalted butter, cold and cut into ½-inch cubes
How to Make It
  1. In a measuring cup, combine the brown sugar, vinegar, and salt with ¾ cup (107 ml) of hot water. Stir until the sugar has dissolved. Chill the liquid in the freezer until it is very cold (this should take about 20 minutes) and leave it in the fridge until you are ready to start the rest of the dough.
  2. Combine the flour and half of the butter in a large mixing bowl. Pinch and smear the butter between your fingers. Processing the butter like this creates small leaves of butter that layer in the dough, resulting in flakes later. Once all the butter chunks have been pinched, grab small handfuls of flour and butter and rub the two together between the palms of your hands until the mixture resembles uneven pebbles on a sandy beach.
  3. Dump the crumbly mixture out onto a lightly floured work surface. Scatter the remaining half of the cold butter over the dough. Use the palm of your hand to smear the butter as if you were sliding a secret message across a table. Use a bench scraper to gather the shaggy dough and repeat the smearing process until you have a pile of striated rubble. The larger pieces of butter will create a marbled dough and will melt during baking, causing the water in the butter to evaporate (this will result in flaky pastry pockets).
  4. Gather the buttery mixture up in a mound and form a well in the center. Remove the cold liquid from the fridge and pour half of it into the well. Using your fingertips, slowly bring the flour and butter into the center and combine it with the liquid until the liquid has been incorporated. Gather the moistened dough into a pile.
  5. Slowly pour the remaining liquid onto the shaggy mess. Lift the dough from the bottom and squeeze just until it comes together into one mass. Divide the ball in half and shape each half into a disc. Wrap each in plastic and chill for 2 hours before using.

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