Perfect Pastry Crust

By Margi Lenga Kahn

Ingredients:

2/3 cup ice water

1 tsp. table salt

3 cups plus 2 tbsp. unbleached all-purpose flour

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1 cup plus 5 tbsp. unsalted butter (2 sticks plus 5 tbsp.) cut into 1-inch pieces, placed on a plate and refrigerated until needed

Directions: 

Stir together water and salt in a small bowl until salt is fully dissolved.  Keep refrigerated until needed.

Place flour in the work bowl of a food processor. Sprinkle chilled butter pieces evenly over flour, and pulse machine only until coarse crumbs form. (You should still have small pieces of flour-coated butter.)

Remove water/salt mixture from refrigerator.  While pulsing machine, drizzle water mixture through food tube until everything is evenly moistened and mixture begins to get cohesive. 

Turn contents of food processor bowl out onto a lightly floured counter. Gather mixture together with your hands to form a smooth ball, working dough as little as possible. 

To mix dough by hand, place flour in a large bowl. Evenly distribute butter over dry ingredients.  Using fingertips or a pastry blender, cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse meal.  Sprinkle cold water/salt mixture over flour and quickly blend together with a fork.  Gather dough together, place on counter top, and press it against counter top until a smooth ball can be formed. Proceed with the next step.

Position two approximately 12-inch-long pieces of plastic wrap on countertop. Cut ball of dough into two equal pieces, place each piece onto plastic wrap, press into a flat disk, and completely wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for at least two hours or overnight.  (At this point, dough disks may be placed in a freezer bag and kept frozen for up to a month.  Allow bag of dough to sit overnight in the refrigerator before continuing.)

Place one dough disk onto a lightly floured counter.  Roll dough into an 11- to 12-inch circle and gently lift onto a parchment paper-lined baking sheet.

Proceed with any of the galette recipes below.

Makes two pastry discs, enough for two galettes.