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Basic Pie Crust

Basic Pie Crust

I had the opportunity to indulge in a cooking workshop with my favorite chefs Susan Spungen and Yossy Arefi.  I am not much of a baker.  In fact, I find it stressful and often times pressed for time in getting home-cooked meals on the table every night for my family. I’d rather cut up a whole piece of fruit with nut butter and cinnamon.  If I was going to learn one “go-to recipe” for desserts, the pie crust was essential as it serves up a variety of treats including sweet and savory pies, pop tart treats, and pocket sandwiches.  I learned from the best and I am happy to share their basic recipe with you.  Please seek them out for other home cooking ideas and recipes.


Recipe from Yossy Arefi and Susan Spungen


All Butter Pie Crust

Yossy Arefi explains, “All pie crust is made from the same basic ingredients: flour, fat, water, and salt.” At her workshop, she also talked about making mix pie crusts by using her hands rather than a food processor or pastry blender.  She believes she can “control the exact size and shape of the butter pieces for the flakiest results.”  I also learned from her you can add a few teaspoons of sugar if you prefer a sweetened crust.  Here is the recipe I took away from her Autumn workshop 2018.


  • 2 2⁄3 cups (340g) all-purpose flour  ( I am gluten-free and use Bob’s Mill 1 for 1 cup mix)
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons (255g) very cold unsalted butter
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • 8-10 tablespoons (120ml) ice water

Classic Apple Pie



  • Whisk the flour and salt together in a large bowl, cut the butter into 1⁄2-inch cubes, and add the apple cider vinegar to the ice water.
  • Working quickly, add the butter to the flour and toss to coat. Then use your fingers or the palms of your hands to press each cube of butter into a flat sheet. Keep tossing the butter in the flour as you go to ensure that each butter piece is coated with flour. The idea is to create flat, thin shards of butter that range from about the size of a dime to about the size of a quarter. If at any time the butter seems warm or soft, briefly refrigerate the bowl.
  • Sprinkle about 6 tablespoons of the icy cold vinegar-water mixture over the flour mixture. Use a gentle hand or wooden spoon to stir the water into the flour until just combined. If the dough seems dry, add more cold water a couple of teaspoons at a time. You have added enough water when you can pick up a handful of the dough and easily squeeze it together without it falling apart.
  • Press the dough together, then split it in half. Form each half into a disk, and wrap each disk in plastic wrap. Chill the dough for at least 2 hours before using, but preferably overnight. Keeps for up to three months in the freezer wrapped in a double layer of plastic wrap and a layer of foil. Thaw in the refrigerator before using.

Fruit Galette

Yield: One 8-inch galette

You can use this formula with just about any seasonal fruit. For apples, pears, and stone fruit peel if desired then slice into 1/4-1/3-inch slices. Apricots (my fave!) can be gently torn in half or cut into quarters. Slice strawberries in halves or quarters if they are large. Rhubarb can be sliced into thin batons or 1/2-inch chunks. Feel free to experiment with combining your favorite fruits. I love stone fruit and berries together in the summer. Also, the apricot jam can be replaced with any jam or marmalade you like that will complement the fruit you are using.


  • 1 disc pie crust
  • 3/4 pound (340g) fresh fruit
  • 1/4 cup apricot jam
  • 1/4 cup (50g) granulated sugar, to taste
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon lemon zest
  • seeds of one vanilla bean (optional)
  • pinch salt
  • 1 egg, for egg wash
  • turbinado sugar and flaky salt for sprinkling


Arrange a rack in the oven in the lower third and preheat the oven to 425ºF. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Combine the sugar vanilla bean seeds, lemon zest, flour, and salt in a bowl. Add the fruit to a large bowl and sprinkle the sugar mixture over the top, but don’t stir quite yet.

On a lightly floured surface roll the dough into a rough circle between 1/8-1/4-inch thick and transfer it to a parchment-lined baking sheet. Gently stir the fruit mixture until well combined.

Spread the jam onto the center of the dough, then pour the fruit into the center of the galette. Press gently to compact the fruit into an even layer. Fold the edges of the dough up and over the fruit and press the folds gently to seal. Refrigerate the formed galettes until the dough is very firm.

Brush the galette with egg wash, sprinkle with turbinado sugar and flaky salt if desired, and bake until deep golden brown and bubbling, 45-55 minutes. Serve warm with vanilla ice cream.

Two Berry’s and a Tart


For Savory Pies use your favorite saute vegetables for filling

Savory Brussel Sprouts with onion, thyme and feta


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