Small food processors have become a mainstay in a busy cook's kitchen. I have had mine for a while, but didn’t really start to use it until recently. And the reason for that is that I am now using my food processor when I mix up my pie crust recipe. Seriously.
When I was learning pastry making, particularly how to make pie crust, the old tried and true ways always worked for me. I used a handheld pastry blender, taking my time and being careful to fully blend the flour, shortening (or butter), and the rest of the ingredients.
And that’s because I learned my mother's pie crust recipe and she got it from my grandmother. It appeared to me then, and it still does to this day - to be a labour of love. Mixing pastry dough by hand was just part of the process, and there was a skill to it, you really needed to mix everything in sequence and get the pastry dough to the right texture - to be ready to roll out for pie crust.
But a couple of months ago, when I was trying a new recipe, the instructions included the use of a small food processor. I was amazed and happily surprised at not only how quickly and easily the pastry dough came together, but that the quality of the pastry dough was excellent. I almost laughed out loud at the ease of use, thinking back to my catering days when I would be required to bake 50-60 pies for one event!
There are a number of good brands on the market. You can get them just about anywhere, Walmart, Kitchen Stuff Plus, or Bed Bath & Beyond to name a few. Just make sure the bowl or bin will hold about 8 cups (1.9 litres) - so that you can use your food processor for a variety of uses. I've included a link to one here that you can order at Amazon. Just click on the image and you'll go straight to Amazon's page.
Put the dry ingredients into the bin, put on the lid and pulse for a few seconds, just to blend. Next take the butter or vegetable shortening and add it to the dry mixture. I don't use the chute for this and I cut the shortening/butter into small chunks. Put the lid back on and pulse until the butter is very finely chopped. Then add the ice water. I do use the chute for this. Pulse away and voila! Pastry dough ready to bake a pie. It's that easy and very little, if any messes to clean up.
The best homemade pie crust recipe ever. Easy as pie!