It is crucial to keep the ingredients at the right temperature to successfully execute this recipe, which allows you to incorporate the butter into the flour without emulsifying it. Butter should be straight from the fridge, and flour should be at freezer temperature. My unusual technique of dissolving the sugar and salt in water, rather than adding them to the flour, ensures even seasoning for a flavorful dough. This “dough liquid” should be ice-cold.
How to make the dough by hand:
- Stir the sugar, salt, and water together in a small bowl until the sugar and salt are fully dissolved. Place the bowl in the freezer — the liquid needs to be ice-cold before it is added to the dough.
- Put the two types of flour in a large bowl, and dump the butter into the flour. Toss to coat the butter pieces in the flour. Working quickly, use your thumbs and index fingers to squeeze each chunk of fat into a thin sheet, between 1/8 and 1/4 inch (3 and 6 mm) thick. Shake the contents of the bowl to ensure the sheets are well coated in flour.
- Sprinkle the ice-cold sugar-salt solution over the fat and flour. Use your fingers to lightly toss the contents of the bowl around to disperse the liquid.
- Squeeze the shaggy mess with your fists, repeatedly and quickly, until the chunks get bigger and more cohesive.
- At first, it will be crumbly and seem as if it won’t come together, but with continued compression you can begin to make a large mound of dough. Flatten it into two disks about 1.5 inches thick.
How to roll a dough sheet and make a bottom crust:
- Prepare a clean, dry, nonporous surface by sprinkling it with flour.
- Place a disk of dough on top of the floured surface and sprinkle it with a little more flour. Place your rolling pin in the center of the dough and roll away from yourself with firm, even pressure, but not enough force to squish the dough. As you approach the dough’s edge, use a little less pressure so that it doesn’t become too thin on the edges.
- Rotate the dough about 45 degrees. Place the rolling pin at the center of the disk and roll away from yourself once again.
- Continue to rotate and roll, adding more flour as needed to prevent the dough from sticking to the surface of the rolling pin, until you’ve rolled the dough to approximately 1/8 inch (3mm) thick. If the dough starts to split at the edges, you can gently press it back together before continuing to roll it out. The finished sheet of dough should be roughly 15 inches (30.5 cm) in diameter.
- Transfer the sheet of dough into Sweetie Pie, centering it so you have at least 1 inch (2.5 cm) of extra dough all the way around the edges of the pan. While transferring, support the dough with your fingers spread out to distribute the weight and prevent breakage.
- Alternatively, put your hand and wrist under the silicone mat along the centerline of the dough circle, pick it up, and let one half of the circle hang on one side of your hand and the other half of the dough circle hang on the other side.
- Lay one half of the dough along the centerline of Sweetie Pie, fold the other half over so the silicone mat is lying over the top, and then remove it.
- Once the sheet of dough is in the pan, ease it into the corner where the base of the pan meets the sides.
- To do this without stretching or breaking the dough, lift the edge of the dough with one hand to allow it to fall into place while gently pressing it into the corner with the other. If not crimping or adding a top crust, trim the crust by running a knife around the pan’s outer edge.
How to Make a Crimped Bottom Shell:
- After transferring your dough sheet into Sweetie Pie, lift the edge of the dough to make a raised, hollow area about 3/8 inch (1 cm), or a little less than 1/2 inch (12 mm), high over the edge of Sweetie Pie, pressing the excess dough against the rim of Sweetie Pie to trim it. This will give you enough dough to form a decorative edge.
- Then position the thumb and forefinger of your non-dominant hand so there’s about 1/2 inch (12 mm) of dough between them, and push them gently into the edge of the crust, right over the rim of Sweetie Pie, while simultaneously using the forefinger of your dominant hand to push the dough from the opposite side into space between your thumb and forefinger.
- Shift your non-dominant hand so that your thumb is now in the spot that your non-dominant index finger just occupied, and repeat the same motion. Continue around the edge of the pie. The rounded edges that result from this method prevent the burning that would otherwise happen if you pinched the dough into thin, sharp points.
How to assemble a lattice crust:
- Aside from looking pretty, lattice crusts allow a fruit filling to bubble and vent freely, which makes them perfect for juicier fillings, such as cherry, peach, and any other stone fruit.
- After transferring your dough sheet into Sweetie Pie, trim the bottom crust by running a knife around the pan’s outer edge. Fill the shell with the filling, then use a pastry brush to gently brush water around the rim of the bottom crust. Incorporate the trimmings into your second disk of dough, then divide that into two pieces.
- Roll each piece of the divided dough into an oval about 10 inches (25 cm) long and 8 inches (20 cm) wide. One oval will make your vertical strips, and the other will make your horizontal strips. Transfer the ovals onto wax paper and chill them in the fridge for about 10 minutes.
- Cut five long strips lengthwise from each oval, about 1/2 inches (4 cm) wide. (If you wish, you can make more narrow strips or fewer wide strips and follow the same general instructions.)
- Place the longest center strip and the two outermost strips from one of the ovals vertically on the pie, leaving space between each strip to fit another strip.
- Place the center strip from the other oval perpendicularly across them in the center.
- Place the two remaining strips from the vertical oval over the horizontal strip into the gaps you left earlier.
- Gently weave the center and outer strips down over the horizontal strip, and lay the next-longest horizontal strip down across the pie. Bring the center and outer strips back up. Bring the other two strips down, place a smaller horizontal strip across the pie, and then bring all the strips back up.
- Repeat with the remaining horizontal strips on the other side of the center strip.
- Trim any excess off the strips around the edge of the pie, and gently press the strips onto the edge of the bottom crust.
- Either crimp between your fingers or use the tine of a fork or round edge of a butter knife to make an imprint in the crust, and seal the top and bottom crusts together.
- Before baking, brush the lattice crust with an egg wash, avoiding the crimped edges. Bake immediately.