Pastries and pies intimidate the best of home cooks around the world. I shied away from making piece because of an unknown pastry-phobia myself. What needs to be realized is that pastry isn’t a difficult skill, it is just the right ratio of ingredients and a few tips and tricks. Here is a foolproof way to obtain the lightest, crispiest, most buttery pie crust, be it for an apple pie, cherry pie or even a pot pie.

Yield: Enough for 2 individual pie shells or a top and bottom layer for a single pie

Ingredients:

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (300g)

1 teaspoon salt (5g)

1 teaspoon sugar (5g)

1 cup of cold butter, cut in cubes (240g)

1/4-1/2 cup ice cold water (60mL-120mL)

Method:

1.       Combine and mix the flour, sugar and salt in a food processor.

Tip: Place the flour in the freezer 5 minutes before starting to make the pastry. Cold ingredients are key to a good result.

2.       Cut cold butter in small cubes and place in the freezer for 10 minutes. Add the butter in the food processor and use the "pulse" button to combine. You will be looking for a coarse texture, with small pieces of butter.

Tip: The texture at this stage should resemble breadcrumbs. If you feel the mixture between your fingers there should be tiny pieces of butter.

3.       Add 1/4 cup ice cold water in and continue to pulse until the pastry combines. If it is dry, add more water a tablespoon at a time.

Tip: Take some of the mixture between your hands and squeeze it. If the dough comes together in one piece it is done. I normally use ¼ cup + 2-3 tablespoons of water.

4.       Turn the mixture out on a clean surface. Bring it together using your hands to make a big ball. Press the ball down to form a disc shape, Wrap it in cling film and leave it in the fridge to rest for an hour at least.

Tip: Use as little hands as possible. The warmth from the hands can melt the butter altering the crispiness of the pastry. Giving it time to chill in the fridge will not let it shrink after it has been baked.

5.       Flour a clean surface heavily. Divide the pastry into two. Roll out one part of the pastry till it reaches to 1/8th of an inch in thickness. Place into pie pan.

Tip: Flouring the surface heavily will help pick the pastry up and place it into the pie pan.

6.       Pour desired filling (apple, cherry, berry etc.) into the pie case. Repeat step 5 for the second part of the pastry. Place the rolled out pie crust on top of the pie (you can make a lattice if you want).

7.       Brush the top of the pastry with melted butter. Bake in the oven for 35-55 minutes or till the top looks slightly brown.

Tip: Check the pie after 30 minutes to evaluate cooking time.

Enjoy a delicious pie and wow your friends and family simultaneously.