Makesenough for 2 (9- to 9 1/2-inch) pie shells
- Active time:30 min
- Start to finish:4 hr
Resist the temptation to halve this recipe; it would yield a very small piece of dough, which can be difficult to roll and fold.
1 3/4 sticks
(14 tablespoons) cold unsalted butter, 11 tablespoons of it cut into 1/2-inch cubes
5 to 6
Blend together flour, salt, and half of butter cubes with your fingertips or a pastry blender until mixture resembles coarse meal. Blend in remaining butter cubes until pea-size lumps form. Drizzle evenly with 5 tablespoons ice water and stir gently with a fork until incorporated.
Squeeze a small handful: If it doesn’t hold together, add remaining tablespoon ice water, 1/2 tablespoon at a time, until just incorporated. (If you overwork mixture, pastry will be tough.)
Form dough into a ball, then flatten into a rough 5-inch square. Chill, wrapped in plastic wrap, 30 minutes. Roll out dough on a floured surface with a floured rolling pin into a rough 12- by 9-inch rectangle (1/3 inch thick). Arrange rectangle with a short side nearest you. Cut remaining 3 tablespoons butter into very thin slices and arrange evenly over dough.
Fold dough in thirds like a letter. Turn dough so that a short side is nearest you and roll out into a rough 12- by 9-inch rectangle (1/3 inch thick) again. Fold like a letter, then chill, wrapped in plastic wrap, 3 hours. Let dough soften at room temperature about 30 minutes before rolling out.
Cooks’ note: Pastry dough can be made 2 days ahead and chilled, wrapped well in plastic wrap.