2 tablespoons granulated sugar (optional, but recommended)
1 teaspoon kosher salt
18 tablespoons (2-1/4 sticks) chilled unsalted butter, cut into small cubes
6 to 8 tablespoons ice water
In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, sugar (if using), and salt until well combined.
Sprinkle butter over flour mixture.
Use a pastry cutter, 2 knives, or a fork to break the butter into smaller pieces. This is an optional step, but I always do it because using utensils instead of your fingers keeps the butter cooler.
Once the butter pieces are small, use your fingers to work the butter into the flour mixture: Rub your thumb against your fingertips as if you're making the universal sign for "money," smearing the butter as you do.
When you first start out, the flour will be white and the butter will be yellow. As you continue to work the butter in, the flour will begin to look moist and slowly turn pale yellow, too.
Stop when the mixture looks like cornmeal with lumps and bean-sized bits of butter remaining.
Sprinkle 6 tablespoons ice water on top and stir with a fork until the dough begins to come together. If needed, add more ice water, a tablespoon at a time, but proceed cautiously.
Turn out onto a lightly floured surface and knead three times, or just enough to make a cohesive dough--do not overmix!
Gather the dough into a ball and divide into two pieces, one slightly larger than the other. The larger piece will be the bottom crust.
Press each piece into a disk and wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.