Perfect Flaky Cream Cheese Pie Crust

Preparation info

  • Difficulty

    Easy

  • Makes: pastry for a

    9½ inch

    tart

Appears in

This is my favorite pie crust. It is very similar in texture to my basic pie crust, but the addition of cream cheese makes it even easier to prepare because you never have to guess at how much water to add. And it gives it a flavor so delicious it is great to eat just by itself without any filling!

The food processor method is the easiest because the dough is handled less and stays colder, but the hand method will produce just as good a crust. Be sure to keep the ingredients cold to maintain flakiness. In summer I put the flour in a reclosable freezer bag in the freezer for at least thirty minutes before mixing the dough.

KEEPS: At least 2 days refrigerated, 3 months frozen.
INGREDIENTS MEASURE WEIGHT
cold volume ounces grams
unsalted butter, divided 8 tablespoons 4 ounces 113 grams
bleached all-purpose flour 1 cup + 2 tablespoons (dip and sweep method) 5.5 ounces 156 grams
salt ¼ teaspoon
cream cheese 1 3-ounce package 3 ounces 85 grams
ice water 1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon

Method

Food Processor Method

Divide the butter into two parts: 2 tablespoons (1 ounce) and 6 tablespoons (3 ounces). Cut the butter into ½-inch cubes, keeping the two parts separate. Wrap each portion with plastic wrap (preferably Saran brand) and refrigerate for at least 15 minutes.

Place the flour and salt in a food processor with the metal blade and process for a few seconds to combine. Add the smaller amount of butter cubes and the cream cheese and process for 10 seconds or until the mixture ressembles coarse meal. Add the remaining butter cubes and process for 4 to 6 seconds or until the remaining pieces of butter are the size of small peas. Do not overprocess or the crust will not be flaky.

Add the ice water and pulse 4 times. The dough will be in moist fine particles which appear dry but should hold together when pinched with the fingers. Dump the mixture into a plastic bag and press the outside of the bag until the dough holds together. Knead the dough briefly in the bag until you can form a smooth ball.

Remove the dough from the bag, wrap it with plastic wrap and flatten it into a disc. Refrigerate it for at least 45 minutes or up to 2 days.

Hand Method

Place the flour and salt in a medium bowl and whisk to combine. Use a pastry cutter or two knives to cut the butter and cream cheese into the flour, the first addition into coarse meal, the second into small peas just as with the food processor method. When adding the ice water, sprinkle it on, tossing the mixture lightly with a fork. Use your hands to gather the dough together and knead it briefly on the counter until it forms a smooth ball. Wrap the dough with plastic wrap and flatten it into a disc. Refrigerate for at least 45 minutes or up to 2 days.

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