A multipurpose pastry crust for sweet or savory fillings that is easy to work with and substantial enough to hold up outside the pan for recipes such as Rolls with Pigeon and Truffles, yet tender enough to yield easily under your fork as the base for Governor Tryon’s Humble Crumble Apple Pie.
Makes one 12-inch crust or two 8-inch crusts
BY HAND: Stir together the flour, sugar, and salt in a large bowl. Grate the butter into the flour and work it in with your fingertips until the butter is reduced to pea-size lumps and the flour is the color of cornmeal. Make a well in the bottom of the bowl. Whisk together the ice water, egg yolk, and lemon juice. Pour the liquid mixture into the well and use your fingertips to bring the dough together into a shaggy ball.
IN A FOOD PROCESSOR: Combine the flour, sugar, and salt in a large bowl. Pulse three times to combine. Cut the butter into ½-inch cubes and scatter into the flour. Pulse five or six times, until you have mostly pea-size lumps. Whisk together the ice water, egg yolk, and lemon juice. Add to the bowl and pulse five more times.
Pour the dough and any loose flour from your bowl or food processor onto the counter and knead quickly and lightly into a ball. Divide the dough in half and form into two 1-inch-thick disks. Wrap tightly and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes. Store in the fridge up to 2 days, or in the freezer up to 1 month.
To roll out, lightly dust the counter with flour. Use even pressure to roll the dough out from the center in all four compass directions, north, south, east, and west. Turn and loosen the dough occasionally as you continue to roll the pastry pastry out into a circle or square shape that is an even ⅛ inch thick (unless otherwise directed in the recipe).
Cut out shapes as directed, or roll the pastry lightly up onto the rolling pin and transfer to a tart pan or pie plate.