The Perfect Hand Pie Crust = 3-2-1 Pie Dough (Pate Brisee)
12 ounces flour
8 ounces butter/fat
2-4 ounces ice water
½ teaspoon salt
A simple equation to remember: 3 parts flour; 2 parts fat; and 1 part water.
Combine the flour, salt, and butter in a mixing bowl (I like to freeze the butter and use a box grater or wide microplane to grate the butter into the flour -- it's almost already perfect size and there's less opportunity to warm up the butter with your hands) -- you can use a mixer or a food processor for this step too but more dishes to clean!
Add just enough water so the dough comes together; start with two ounces only add more if you need too. If you work the dough too hard it will develop too much gluten and become tough.
Shape the dough into two rectangles of equal size (best to weigh the full piece of dough and divide) and refrigerate for at least 15 minutes before rolling to full size needed for recipe.
This will yield 1 pie shell and a top or two 9-inch tart crusts or 12 hand pies
Variations include: Sweet: add 2 tablespoons sugar (Pate Sucre); Savory: add ¼ cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano; Nut: replace some of the flour with nut flour (no more than 50/50 ratio) plus an egg and a teaspoon of vanilla extract.