When making pie dough, I often shred the cold butter instead of mixing chunks into the flour. I shred the butter using the large holes of a box grater. Refrigerated butter works fine, but for best results, freeze the butter first. This works with lard and shortening, as well. Instead of mixing with a pastry blender or food processor, simply toss the shredded fat with the flour before adding ice-cold water. This cuts down on the mixing, which is a good thing: The less the dough is handled, the more tender the pastry. Pie crust mythstakes, pg. 575 in 12,167 Kitchen and Cooking Secrets.
12,167 Kitchen and Cooking Secrets
In thousands of entries on every aspect of cooking and baking, Susan Sampson provides expert information that is indispensable in any kitchen, including: keeping produce safe from spoilage, protecting equipment from nasty bacteria, shortcuts, embellishments, restaurant tricks, presentation tips, party planning and recipe development.
Whether just browsing or desperately trying to solve a vexing emergency, every home cook will treasure this book.
Susan Sampson (a.k.a. The Fare Lady) is an award-winning food writer and recipe developer who lives in Toronto.