You can use this recipe whichever way you feel most comfortable.
Look how much easier it is to remember the recipe by heart when you use the ratio amounts based on the weight measurements rather than trying to remember the exact volume amounts.
To me the percentage approach is even easier to remember, and it makes it a bit simpler to think about substituting ingredients as you like to suit your taste and your imagination. Don’t worry that the percentages don’t add up to 100 %. The fat and liquid percentages are based on the flour weight, ie the 5 ozs. butter =50% of 10 ozs. flour, and the 3 ozs. liquid (1 egg=2 ozs. +1 oz. water) = 30% of 10 ozs. flour. In Professional lingo this would be called a dough with 30% hydration, and a 50% fat ratio.
If you want more information on dough hydration see my notes after the recipe below.
So, to paraphrase the famous slogan, JUST (get in the kitchen and) DO IT!!Take my word – you’ll be glad you did.
Yield = Two 9” Pie Shells = 18 ozs. Dough = 1 oz Dough per 1” Size of Pie Pan
Volume Weight % Volume
Measure Measure Ingredients Ratio Ratio
2Cups 10ozs. Flour, All Purpose ——– 1Part
plus pinch of Salt
1 Stick + 5 ozs. Butter, or Shortening 50% ½ Part
2 Tbsp. Or a Combination of Flour
1 each 2 ozs. Egg, Extra Large 30% 1/3 Part
2 Tbsp. 1 oz. Water or Milk of Flour
So have your dough ready in the freezer for then!!
You can change the % ratios easily. If you like a richer dough – use 60, 70, or even 80% butter (that glorious French favorite Puff Pastry is about 100% fat to flour ratio – but nobody makes that at home – or even in most restaurants – anymore because it takes forever and the store-bought frozen version is a good substitute. I can’t say that for the store-bought frozen pie crusts which I find to have no flavor and a dry texture. And besides it’s so easy to make them at home and freeze for future use).
If you want a stronger dough increase the hydration so you have more liquid to bind with the flour. You can try different amounts and see what you prefer best, or what works best for a given type of pie. If you have a more liquid filling then you may want a slighter stronger dough. The name of this dough in French (Pate Brisee, pronounced “pat bree-zay”) means “Broken Pastry” which most likely refers to the fact that it is a bit fragile once baked.
You can add some sugar to this recipe if you want to sweeten it. A traditional Sweet dough (Pate Sable Sucree) for a fruit tart has about 25% hydration (usually in the form of just egg) and about 60% fat (usually only butter), and it is sweetened with about 20% sugar (as always, based on the flour). So for the recipe above you would add 2 ozs. sugar which is about 1/4 cup. The name of this dough in French (Pate Sucree -pronounced “pat soo-cray”) means “Sandy Pastry” and refers to the texture resembling sand when baked – think of a sand-cookie or a shortbread.