Basic is best when it comes to piecrust. There’s no need to fiddle with this multipurpose flaky pastry. MAKES ENOUGH FOR 1 (9-INCH) SINGLE-CRUST PIE OR 1 (9- TO 11-INCH) TART SHELL
Blend together flour, butter, sugar, and salt in a bowl with your fingertips or a pastry blender (or pulse in a food processor) just until mixture resembles coarse meal with some small (roughly pea-size) butter lumps. Drizzle 3 tablespoons ice water evenly over mixture and gently stir with a fork (or pulse) until incorporated.
Squeeze a small handful of dough: If it doesn’t hold together, add more ice water, 1/2 tablespoon at a time, stirring (or pulsing) until incorporated. Do not overwork dough, or pastry will be tough.
Gather all dough together with pastry scraper. Press into a ball, then flatten into a 5-inch disk.
Wrap dough in plastic wrap and chill until firm, at least 1 hour.
If you’re making two desserts that call for this pastry dough, you can make a double batch.
Pastry dough can be chilled up to 2 days or frozen, wrapped well, up to 3 months.