All credit for this ultra-buttery, easy-to-work-with dough goes to my friend Donna Meadows, the best pastry chef I know. In addition to being extra rich and flaky without any overly-precious techniques (like freezing the butter or icing the water), it doesn’t need to be chilled before using which is a major, major advantage if you’re strapped for time.

I’ve reworked the original recipe here so that it makes just one crust, though I usually make the doubled or quadrupled version (also below) then freeze disks of dough for future use.

I also converted the recipe to work with vegan ingredients. The results were different – less buttery, more nutty, because of the flaxseed meal—but so delicious that I actually baked off the excess as crackers.

Donna’s Extra-Buttery Crust Dough – 1 crust

1 egg yolk
about ¼ cup/40 ml. milk
1 ¼ cups (200 g.) all-purpose flour
¼ tsp. salt
¼ tsp. sugar, optional
4 oz./1 stick/125 g. cold butter, cut into small pieces

CRACK the egg yolk into a liquid cup measure, and add enough milk to make 1/3 cup. Whisk with a fork to combine.

WHISK together flour, salt and sugar in a medium bowl. Rub the butter into the flour mixture with your fingers until the mixture is mealy but still has some pea-sized butter bits. Form a well in the center of the flour-butter mixture, then pour in about ¼ cup of milk mixture. Stir with a spatula until the dough just comes together—it should be firm enough and dry enough so that it doesn’t stick to your hands. Add the remaining milk mixture, if necessary. Shape into a disk, and either roll out immediately, or chill up to 3 days.

Donna’s Extra-Buttery Crust Dough – 2 crusts

1 egg
about 1/2 cup/80 ml. milk
2 ½ cups (400 g) all-purpose flour
½ tsp. salt
½ tsp. sugar, optional
8 oz./2 sticks/250 g. cold butter, cut into small pieces

CRACK the egg into a liquid cup measure, and add enough milk to make 2/3 cup (160 ml). Whisk with a fork to combine.

WHISK together flour, salt and sugar in a medium bowl. Rub the butter into the flour mixture with your fingers until the mixture is mealy but still has some pea-sized butter bits. Form a well in the center of the flour-butter mixture, then pour in about 1/2 cup of milk mixture. Stir with a spatula until the dough just comes together—it should be firm enough and dry enough so that it doesn’t stick to your hands. Add the remaining milk mixture, if necessary. Shape into a disk, and either roll out immediately, or chill up to 3 days.

Donna’s Extra-Buttery Crust Dough Full Recipe (4 crusts)

2 eggs
about 1 cup (180 ml.) milk
5 cups (800 g.) all-purpose flour
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. sugar, optional
16 oz./1 lb./500 g. cold butter, cut into small pieces

CRACK the egg into a liquid cup measure, and add enough milk to make 1 1/3 cups (240 ml). Whisk with a fork to combine.

PULSE the flour, salt, and sugar in a food processor until combined. Add 1 cup of milk mixture, and pulse until a firm dough just begins to come together, adding more of the milk mixture if necessary. Turn out the dough onto a well-floured work surface, and knead several times to have a smooth, round ball. Shape into a disk, and either roll out immediately, or chill up to 3 days.

Vegan Version of Donna’s Crust Dough

¼ cup vegetable milk
1 Tbs. ground flaxseed meal
1 ¼ cups (200 g.) all-purpose flour
¼ tsp. salt
¼ tsp. sugar, optional
4 oz./ 125 g. chilled coconut oil or vegan margarine, cut into small pieces

STIR together the vegetable milk and the flaxseed meal. Set aside to allow to thicken.

WHISK together flour, salt and sugar in a medium bowl. Rub the coconut oil or vegan margarine into the flour mixture with your fingers until the mixture resembles coarse meal. Form a well in the center of the flour mixture, then pour in about ¼ cup of milk mixture. Stir with a spatula until the dough just comes together—it should be firm enough and dry enough so that it doesn’t stick to your hands. Add the remaining milk mixture, if necessary. Shape into a disk, and either roll out immediately, or chill up to 3 days.

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