Pie crust recipes that don't list patience as an ingredient should be considered false advertising. Though I'm a deeply impatient person, I insist on making my own pie crust because my love for pie apparently outweighs my hate for waiting. Over the years, I've figured out how to produce flaky pastry without waiting around too much, and the key is to beat the heck out of chilled dough with a rolling pin.
Photo: Thomas Lawn
There are a lot of tips for making perfect pie crust at home — like using vodka instead of water — but there's one trick for extra flaky crust that you may not be using, and it involves doing literally nothing.
I've always struggled to successfully roll out pie crust because cold dough cracks when you roll it out, but room temperature dough is very easy to accidentally over-work. Manually softened chilled dough, on the other hand, is pliable and easy to work with — but it stays fridge-cold while you roll it out. This makes it less likely to stick to the counter and more likely to bake up crisp and flaky. Here's how to do it.
Unwrap a disk of chilled dough and put it on the counter. Give it several good thwacks on each side with a rolling pin, rotating the dough as needed, to flatten it out a bit:
Gif: A.A. Newton
Move the dough aside and flour the counter, the dough, and your rolling pin. Starting at the edges and working your way inward, roll the crust out to desired thickness. Fit into a buttered pie plate, trim the overhang, and crimp the edges. Boom. You just got a pie crust from the fridge into a plate in five minutes flat. Who says violence solves nothing?