This is the flakiest, easiest, best pie crust we've ever tested. Master chef Jacques Pépin has created a virtually fail-safe recipe that is completely hassle-free: You don't even need to chill the dough before you roll it out. F&W's Grace Parisi tops it with apples, but you can use almost any firm fruit in season, such as pears, peaches, apricots, plums or rhubarb. If using especially juicy fruit, add 1 tablespoon of ground nuts to the 1 tablespoon of flour and 2 tablespoons of sugar that are sprinkled over the pastry before the fruit is added.
1 1/2 cups plus 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
Pinch of salt
1 1/2 sticks (6 ounces) cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces, plus
2 tablespoons melted
1/3 cup ice water
3 1/2 tablespoons sugar
4 large Golden Delicious apples—peeled, cored and cut into 1/4-inch-thick
2 tablespoons melted and strained apricot preserves
How to Make It
In a food processor, pulse 1 1/2 cups of the flour with the salt. Add the cold butter and process just until the butter is the size of peas, about 5 seconds. Sprinkle the ice water over the mixture and process just until moistened, about 5 seconds. Transfer the dough to a lightly floured work surface and knead 2 or 3 times, just until it comes together. Pat the dough into a disk. On a lightly floured work surface, roll out the dough into a 16- to 17-inch round about 1/4 inch thick.
Line a large unrimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Roll the dough around the rolling pin and unroll it onto the prepared baking sheet.
In a small bowl, combine 2 tablespoons of the sugar with the remaining 1 tablespoon of flour and sprinkle over the dough. Arrange the apple slices on top in overlapping concentric circles to within 3 inches of the edge. Fold the dough over the apples in a free-form fashion. Brush the apples with the melted butter and sprinkle with the remaining 1 1/2 tablespoons of sugar. Refrigerate the unbaked tart until slightly chilled, about 10 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 400°. Bake the tart in the center of the oven for 1 hour, or until the apples are tender and golden and the crust is deep golden and cooked through. Brush the apples with the melted preserves. Slide the parchment onto a wire rack and let the tart cool slightly before serving.
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