Flaky Pastry Dough

The key to perfect crust? It's gin.

I’ve made many, many versions of pastry dough in my kitchen, but I found years ago that substituting gin for ice water delivers that irresistible flakiness that is so coveted.

This particular crust I like to use for quiche and savory tarts, which I frequently make in warmer months. Once you get the hang of this recipe, it’s simple to put together and is wonderfully versatile. It is also a showstopper when it comes out of the oven.


1 cup all-purpose flour

1/3 cup finely ground walnuts

Pinch of salt

Fresh ground pepper

1/2 cup (1 stick) cold salted butter

1/4 cup gin

1/4 cup ice water

Note on the walnuts: I grind my own walnuts in a blender and there is often a mix of more finely ground bits with chunkier pieces. Personally, I find the contrast in texture pleasing when it is baked into the crust.

Note on the gin: Play around with gins to discover which botanicals you prefer in the crust. It’s also fun to change it up once in a while. I think that herb-forward blends are most pleasing for a savory crust.


1. Mix the dry ingredients together in a large bowl.

2. Cut the butter into small pieces using a table knife.

3. Add the chopped butter into the flour mixture and combine with a pastry cutter or a food processor. Be careful not to work this dough too much to avoid melting the butter.

4. Add gin and mix until combined.

5. Dribble ice water into the dough just until the consistency becomes crumbly and the dough holds together when pressed.

6. Knead briefly on the counter to ensure that everything is incorporated. But don’t melt the butter!

7. Form a ball and wrap the dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for a least 1 hour.

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