I know. I know. The hyperbole is out of control in the title of this post, but you all are going to forgive me when you give this crust a try. It is truly, truly easy, and not in a "I make my own mayonnaise and homemade pasta because it is SO easy" kind of way. It is the kind of easy that only takes three ingredients and a food processor. I might even say it's genius, better call Kristen at Food52!
Making pie crust is one of those kitchen tasks that freaks otherwise totally rational and capable people out, and I get it. It can be messy and sensitive, it can rip and tear and get stuck to your countertop - and the fact that the best fruit pies are made during the hottest part of the year is downright mean when every pie crust recipe tells you the key is keeping all of the ingredients cold.
I have evangelized for an all-butter, hand-mixed crust on this blog for many years and I won't ever stop, but it takes some time and a little skill to put together and sometimes even I want something just a little bit easier and less sensitive. Enter, the Easiest Pie Crust, Ever!
This crust is made from flour, butter, and cream cheese. That's it! AND it is mixed in a food processor. There is no guessing how much water you need, no worries about warming the butter by touching it with your hands. I have made this crust in many kitchens this summer, and I've used it for everything from galettes to hand pies. I even made it GLUTEN-FREE and it was crisp and tasty, and delicious. Sounds like a miracle, right?
I wish I could take credit for it's genius simplicity, but the truth is it comes from the October 1988 issue of Gourmet, RIP. I was chatting with a friend over 4th of July weekend about how cream cheese is an ingredient that has fallen out of fashion a bit, but friends, let's bring it back. We are going to start with this perfect, 3-ingredient pie crust.
THE EASIEST PIE CRUST, EVER
From Gourmet, via Epicurious
Makes 1 crust for a single crust pie, galette, or about 6 small handpies
This dough is super forgiving, sturdy, crisp and flaky. The cream cheese gives it a bit of tangy flavor that is PERFECT with summer fruit. I have made this dough gluten-free with both Cup4Cup and King Arthur's Measure for Measure flour (that they sent me) too and they both work fabulously. My guests couldn't tell the difference between the traditional crust and gluten-free crust! I have a 12-cup food processor and have squeezed in a 4x recipe, but a 3x would have been a bit more reasonable.
1 cup (125g) all purpose flour or gluten-free flour blend
4 ounces (115g) cream cheese, cold and cut into bits
3 ounces (86g) unsalted butter, cold and cut into cubes
pinch sugar, optional
Add the flour, salt and sugar if using to a food processor fitted with the steel blade. Scatter the butter and cream cheese over the top. Pulse the mixture until is starts to hold together, then dump the contents of the food processor onto a clean work surface and gather it into a ball. Wrap the ball in plastic, press it into a disc, and refrigerate at least 2 hours before using.
SOUR CHERRY, CURRANT AND GOOSEBERRY, OR ANY FRUIT! GALETTE
I have been making easy, breezy galettes a lot this summer. I haven't really been measuring, but more using this general recipe, adjusting a bit based on the sweetness of the fruit. I always err on the light side with sugar, you can always add a bit of vanilla ice cream or sweetened whipped cream if your tarts are too tart :) Check the hashtag #summerofgalettes for more! And please tag your galettes on Instagram, I'd love to see them!
1 Easiest Pie Crust Ever
about 1 1/2 pounds (775g) fruit
6T-8T sugar (50-100g)
1 tablespoon flour
seeds of one vanilla bean
squeeze of lemon juice
1 egg, for egg wash
Preheat oven to 425ºF. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Roll the dough out on a lightly floured surface to a 12-inch round just under 1/4- inch thick. Combine all of the filling ingredients in a large bowl and toss gently to combine. Move the dough to the prepared baking sheet. Pile all of the fruit in the center of the dough, leaving a 2-inch border around the edges. Fold the edges of the dough up and over the fruit and press gently to seal the folds.
Chill the formed galette until the dough is very firm, about 15 minutes. Then brush the dough with the egg wash and sprinkle with sugar. Bake until deep golden brown and the juices are bubbling. Cool slightly before serving.
I used Smitten Kitchen's recipe for the hand pies, using the Easiest Pie Crust Ever - minus the bourbon, plus a little flaky salt sprinkled on top.