We had some beautiful weather (25 degrees!) this weekend so we decided to have a barbeque and I decided to make a lemon tart. Every time I make a pie I swear I will never again make it from scratch but sure enough, two months later, I'm rolling out dough swearing under my breath.
I was smart this time, I made the pastry 3 days prior and froze it (which believe it or not is actually good for pastry dough). Pie Pastry was one of the more interesting skills I learned in my cooking classes, and while I am actually pretty good at it, I have a minor aneurysm every time I make it.
This is a classic recipe. The results are very light, very buttery, very flakey. The thing about pastry is that you don't want to overwork it. If it gets warm, gluten strands can start to form which makes it all rubbery and bad. So, while you are working it, keep your hands floured at all times and make sure everything is cold when you start: your butter, your bowl, the water, even the room if possible. If at anytime it starts to warm up, just pop it in the fridge for 20 minutes and come back to it when it has cooled.
There are a ton of various tart pastry recipes but I use a really basic one.
Adapted from Epicurious
1 stick cold unsalted butter
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 to 4 tablespoons ice water