8 ounces cream cheese, room temperature, cut into 8 pieces
8 ounces (1 cup or 2 cubes) unsalted butter, room temperature cut into 12 to 16 pieces
2–1/2 cups unbleached white flour or
2–1/2 cups Bob’s Red Mill 1-to-1 gluten-free flour
1/4 teaspoon salt (optional)
Extra flour or tapioca flour (also called starch) for rolling out crust
In a medium mixing bowl, using a fork, mix the ingredients together until they are in small pieces. Using your hands, gather the pieces of dough, and shape into a ball. If you want to use a food processor, pulse the main ingredients until they begin to form a ball. Remove from the processor and shape into a ball.
Divide the dough in half and shape into two flattened discs about 6-inches in diameter. Wrap with wax paper or plastic wrap and chill at least 2 hours or overnight. This helps the moisture to distribute more evenly.
When you are ready to make the pie, remove the dough from the refrigerator and allow it to warm up just enough to handle easily.
Dust the surface you are using with flour. If you are using gluten-free flour, use that or use tapioca flour, which is a lot less expensive. Tapioca flour adds extra body to help the crust hold together more easily.
Roll the crust into a circle making certain you don’t roll the dough too close to the edges or they will become too thin.
You will want a 12-inch circle for a 9 inch pie pan, or 13 if you are making a fluted edge. You will want a 13 -14 inch circle for a 10-inch pie pan. For tartlets, you want the dough circle to be 3/4 inch larger than the tartlet pan.
If the dough rips or breaks apart, don’t panic. This dough is completely forgiving. Gather it up into a ball, dust the surface and the rolling pin again, and roll it out. Don’t worry if it isn’t a perfect circle. Gently lay the pie pan top onto the pie crust to use as a guide. Using a paring knife, cut about 1/2 – 1 inch out from the pie pan, into an approximate circle.
Now, using the rolling pin, carefully roll the crust around the pin but don’t leave a flap of crust; roll it all around the pin. Carefully place it over the upright pie pan and roll it out over the pan, making sure there is ample crust all around. Now, very gently press the crust into the pan. Press the bottom into place and press down gently on the sides so that the crust is set firmly in place.
Fill the bottom crust with the filling.
Roll out the second circle and shape it as well as you can. Roll it over the rolling pin and gently place it over the pie. If you find it’s a little lopsided, gently ease the crust into place.
If you have too much pie crust, cut the extra off carefully. You will want to have enough extra crust to overlap the top crust over the bottom crust. Pinch the two together gently and tuck it under. Once the crusts have been joined, gently shape (flute) the crust edges. Finally, cut at least 6 vents in the top crust to allow steam to escape.
Place the pie in the refrigerator for two hours or until it is fully chilled.
Heat the oven to 425 degrees F.
Bring the pie out and, using a pastry brush, brush the pie gently with cool water. If you prefer, you can use milk or egg yolk.
Lightly dust the top of the pie with your choice of sugars.
Place the pie onto a baking sheet and put into the oven. Immediately drop the oven heat to 400 degrees. Bake for 25 minutes. If your oven heat is uneven, turn the pie once during this time.
Lower the heat to 350 and continue baking until the contents are fully cooked and the pie is golden-brown.
Cool on a rack.