Love a home-baked pastry? Then you know the labor of love that is a pie crust (or any pastry crust, really). The process is simple — flour, a touch of salt, and chunks of cold butter, blended by the fingertips until the butter is broken up to resemble bread crumbs, with lumps no larger than a small pea. Then, adding ice water to create a pastry dough. What’s tricky here is the sheer amount of time it takes to blend up the butter with your fingertips, or even a pastry blending tool. You can use a food processor for this as well, however, you first have to chop the cold butter into pieces, and even this method takes some effort to get those crumbs down to the perfect size when blending. Frankly, there is a better way.
Since the purpose of butter in pastry is to melt and create steam pockets which give the pastry that flaky texture we know and love, it’s incredibly important not to have big chunks of butter. It’s also important for the right consistency when you add the ice water as to bind the dough together. To get the perfect pastry faster, and easier, skip chopping the butter. Instead, use a frozen block of butter and take it to a cheese grater. You’re going to achieve perfect size shavings for easy, quicker mixing, with minimal blending. Your pie game is about to get strong.