Flaky pie dough. What is better? I can’t think of another foodstuff with a more satisfying texture than flaky dough. For those of you who are aspiring bakers and have been told baking is a complicated science you’re destined to fail at – I assure you it’s all lies. A few very simple techniques and limited ingredients in the right ratio, and you’re well on your way.
My goal moving forward with recipes here is to show you how easy it is to make beautiful photo-worthy food, with simple methods and limited ingredients.
Basic recipe #1: Perfect flaky crust. Use this recipe as a base for all sorts of different things such as pies, galettes, and tarts. Even savory versions of these – just reduce the sugar a bit and top with some salt flakes before baking.
The method below gives you a detailed description of how to get the right texture for the pie dough, but once you’ve figured that part out – all you need to remember is 2 cups flour, 1 cup butter. Just add a little salt and sugar, and enough cold water to bring it together. So easy to remember you won’t even have to write it down!
1 cup all purpose flour
1 cup bread flour (or you can use just all purpose flour)
1 cup cold butter, diced into small pieces a bit bigger than peas
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon sugar
1 pinch cinnamon, nutmeg, lemon zest, or anything you fancy
2/3 cup super cold water (I measure the water approximately, then drop in an ice cube or two, let it chill down nice and cold, then remove excess ice pieces and measure liquid again)
3 large plums
-Place all the dry ingredients in a stand mixer and paddle until combined well.
-While your water is chilling with some ice add the diced up cold butter to the dry ingredients and paddle over low speed until all the butter pieces have become small like little peas. If you see large pieces still floating around continue paddling until they are all small and mostly consistent in size.
-Stop the mixer, add all the cold water (measure again if you’ve added ice cubes) and return to low speed.
-Paddle the dough until most of the dough has started to hold together in a flaky rough looking mass. There should still be dry flour and rough pieces hanging around in the bowl.
-At this stage remove the dough and loose pieces from the bowl onto a large work surface and gently press and fold together the remaining dough scraps until the ball of dough holds together but looks a bit chunky and rough.
-Place in the fridge, wrapped, for at least 30 minutes but overnight is okay too.
-The key to optimal flakiness is just to be careful not to overwork the dough. You don’t need to knead it and make it smooth like you would if you were making bread dough. You just want everything holding together, but not perfectly. This will help create the flaky texture we’re looking for along with the small pockets of butter dispersed throughout the dough.
-Slice 3 large plums thin enough to be fanned nicely, and preheat your oven to 425F.
-Remove the dough from the fridge once it’s chilled at least 30 mins, and roll it out with a liberal dusting of flour so it doesn’t stick, into a circle at least 12 to 13 inches across. A little bigger or a little smaller won’t ruin your galette. I placed a large salad bowl on top of my circle of dough and then cut around it to get a uniform circle.
-Take one large handful of sugar and spread around the inside of the dough where the plums will be.
-Fan the plum slices around in a circle beginning in the center and finishing with the scraps along the outer edge, but be sure to leave at least one to one and a half inches of empty dough around the outside.
-Take another large handful of sugar and sprinkle liberally on top of the plums. Then fold the edges of the dough over an inch or two at a time, all the way around the tart.
-Egg wash the edge of the tart, and bake until edges are golden brown, which will be no lesser than 40 minutes, but could take longer.