Since writing this post, I’ve made a video, which will help you make that perfect pie crust.
It’s no secret. I’ve made and published my pie crust many times here. I’ve made peach pie, blackberry pie crust cobbler, raspberry, pie, apple pie baked in cast iron pan, lemon pie, pumpkin tart, apple grape tart shown above, and even hand pie. My pie crust turned out perfect every time, even when I used an alternative flour such as spelt flour for these blueblerry hand pies.
I thought it would be convenient to put my pie crust recipe in just one place to find it quickly. I also want to share with you what I truly believe is the path to demystifying the daunting pie crust.
Let’s face it, before we pie bakers got our first real success, we were terrified. I decided I love pie so much I was going to learn how to make pie crust with ease. Pie crust is one of those things that is best learned hands on with a mentor, because while it’s easy with few ingredients, it’s counter intuitive. But I had to just dive and start rolling dough. My first pie crust was terrible because I didn’t understand the flour/fat/liquid interaction.
I only use butter, salt, a little sugar, all purpose flour and ice cold water. Their is a good amount of fat in my pie crust (not as much as some recipes), but it guarantees a good success, a crumbly, tender crust.
What I never understood, though, is how the butter works to meet the flour in the oven, melting as it bakes to bring that flakiness. I always heard that a pie crust should not be over worked because it will be tough, so the butter must still be in cold granules inside the dough. Think tiny polka throughout flour instead of smeared butter touching every bit of flour.
- I freeze everything, butter, flour, blade to food processor.
- I never let my hands touch the mixture of flour and butter because the warmth melts the butter.
- I refrigerate my pie dough before I roll it out at least 30 minutes.
My Process for the Perfect Pie Crust
I use butter, all purpose flour, salt, sugar and ice cold water.
Freeze everything. I cut my butter into cubes, then I freeze it, along with the flour and the blade to the food processor. Mix 2 cups of flour with 1 teaspoon sugar (optional) and 3/4 teaspoons salt.
Add 12 tablespoons of frozen butter to the flour mixture. Mix in food processor for 10 seconds on medium low speed. If you don’t have a food processor, you can cut the butter into the flour by hand using a pastry blender tool.
Your butter is still intact in small less than pea size pieces, still cold, and evenly dispersed. You don’t want your hands touching this process (warmth will melt the butter). You don’t want the butter smeared into the flour. You want it to be in tiny, cold, hard pieces so that as the crust bakes in the oven, the butter melts and the result is tender and flaky.
Add 4 tablespoons of ice cold water, streaming into the food processor on low speed for about 3 to 5 seconds. Add up to 4 more tablespoons water one tablespoon at a time. If you pinch the dough together with thumb and finger and it stays together, it pie dough. It may not look like pie dough. Believe me. It’s pie dough. This is the hardest part, because there is great temptation to add more water. To test it, pinch it together and you will see that it does stick together. If it doesn’t add more water one tablespoon at a time. Do the press test again.
Pour into a plastic bag. Once the mixture is in the bag, form it together. Magically, you will see pie dough that stays together.
Refrigerate for one hour or overnight.
Take out of refrigerator about 20 minutes before taking out of bag, flouring and rolling. You will have the most manageable pie dough, which will roll out evenly and not fall apart. If you can look closely, you will see the butter dispersed through the pie dough.
If you are not ready to use the pie dough or only need one crust, you can roll it out and fold it, wrap it in plastic and refrigerate. You can also freeze.
This recipe is good for a double crust pie or a tart as above cutting the pastry dough out with cookie cutters. Recipe for the apple grape pie and apple grape tart can be found here.
- 2 cups all purpose flour
- 12 tablespoons unsalted butter, cubed
- ¾ teaspoons salt
- 1 teaspoon sugar (optional)
- 6-8 tablespoons ice cold water
- Place flour and cubed butter into freezer for 30 minutes.
- Using a food processor, mix flour, salt and sugar for a few seconds to evenly disperse.
- Add butter evenly in food processor. Mix on medium low speed for 10 seconds or until the butter is evenly dispersed, but still in tiny parts. You might want to
- Slowly add in the water and mix for 3-5 seconds. It will not look ready, but you can test this by pinching the mixture together and it should hold. If not add in one more tablespoon water. Pour this mixture into a plastic ziploc bag. Form together and refrigerate for at least one hour. It will magically turn into pie dough.
- Take out and allow to rest 15 minutes. Flour the dough and roll out.
- This will make enough pie dough for a double crusted pie or 24 hand pies.