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Pie Crust Recipe

by on November 20, 2009 · 13 comments

This week I’ve been practicing my pie crust making technique. Even though I know the basic rules of tender crust – use cold ingredients and don’t over work the dough, I still run into problems. My dough usually sticks because I don’t use enough flour for dusting surfaces, I’m not good at crimping, and I always make a mess. I also jump from recipe to recipe, but I think that is a good thing because it’s led me to some of the best. A lot of basic pie crust recipes just aren’t that good.

Best Apple Pie Ever

One of my favorite recipes in the last few weeks was Dawn Viola’s. The crust that goes with her apple pie is incredibly buttery and tastes almost like a pie surrounded by crispy croissant dough. I tried recreating that crust and had good luck with fruit pies, but in other situations, like blind baking, the crust seemed almost too buttery.

This is a second crust I came up with. It’s similar to Dawn’s, but with a little less fat in the dough. And in this one, you can use regular butter rather than European. So this my favorite pie crust at the moment. I still need more practice on crimping, latticing and even rolling the dough out just right, but I do like how this crusts tastes.

Also, if you’re new to crust making I highly recommend watching some videos before proceeding. Here’s one from Epicurious that’s pretty good. I usually use my food processor, but doing it by hand will give you a good idea of how the dough is supposed to look and feel if you’re just starting out.

 

Pie Crust Recipe
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Favorite Pie Crust recipe for a double crust pie or two small single crust pies.
Author:
Recipe type: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Serves: 8
Ingredients
  • 2 1/2 cups all purpose flour plus extra for dusting (11. 5 oz plus extra)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
  • 12 tablespoons unsalted butter, cold, cut up
  • 4 tablespoons shortening
  • 1 tablespoon vinegar, chilled plus 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 4-6 tablespoons ice water (I’ve needed 6)
Instructions
  1. Combine flour, salt and sugar in a bowl and put them in the freezer for about 20 minutes. Put food processor bowl and blade in freezer as well.
  2. Assemble food processor as usual and dump in the flour mixture. Pulse a few times to mix. Add cold butter and shortening and pulse 10-15 times or until mixture is coarse. Add the vinegar/vanilla mixture and pulse to mix. Add water two tablespoons at a time, pulsing until mixture is moist enough so that when you pinch it together. It should still look pretty dry at this point, but should hold together when pinched.
  3. Turn the dough onto a work surface and shape into two portions. It should go from a raggedy mess to two raggedy disks – they should hold together, though. If they don’t, you didn’t add enough water. Wrap in plastic wrap and chill for at least one hour to rest the dough. This is an important step. Don’t skip the resting.
  4. When ready to use, sprinkle some flour over a big sheet of nonstick foil or parchment. Set the disk of dough on the foil and let it sit at room temperature for about 15 minutes. Sprinkle top with more flour, then lay another big sheet of nonstick foil or parchment over the dough and roll out from the center to the edge one stroke at a time, going around clockwise, to make about a 13 inch round. Now it’s time to put it in the pie dish. I like to invert the 9 inch pie plate or tin over round and flip, but you can also fold the circle in half, lift it up, then press it into the pie dish. Press pie dough into pan, fold edges inward and crimp.

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Published on November 20, 2009

{ 13 comments… read them below or add one }

Jessica @ How Sweet It Is November 20, 2009 at 8:44 am

I have a recipe from my grandmother for her favorite pie crust, but I have yet to try it! I’m nervous I’ll screw it up!

Dolce November 20, 2009 at 8:50 am

This sounds feasible! You might also want to check Smitten Kitchen blog : she has three tutorials for pie crust.
That helped me a lot :)

CindyD November 20, 2009 at 9:12 am

I’ve decided that practice is a big part of making pie crust. No instructions or video can tell someone when they have added enough water or how to roll it out, you just have to do it enough to learn that for yourself. I use a basic oil pastry recipe from an old Good Housekeeping which we like because it’s flaky, and rolling between waxed paper works for me, but I will try refrigerating it for an hour next time. Last time I made a pie I used KA white wheat flour and had to throw the dough out because it was too bitter!

Louise November 20, 2009 at 9:15 am

So do we get to see the results too? :-)

Sue November 20, 2009 at 9:23 am

Thanks for sharing this. I used to only make shortening based pie crust. It was always very reliable,flaky, familiar, and easy to work with. While I wasn’t wild about the shortening, I figured a couple of times a year wouldn’t be the end of the world. Then I started messing around with different crust recipes. All butter, half shortening, half butter, etc. I even tried that CI pie crust with vodka instead of water for the liquid. In other words there have been a lot of interesting experiments. I’m looking forward to trying this crust. Maybe after this I can put this issue to rest.

Chris Mower November 20, 2009 at 9:29 am

I haven’t made pie crust in years. I’ve been rather lazy and have just purchased pies from the stores because it’s always a last minute, “hey, I feel like eating pie for dessert.” A neighbor of mine used to make the best pie crusts I’ve ever had. I wish I had her recipe, but I’ll give this one a shot. It sounds pretty tasty. I didn’t see in your post, is this crust flaky?

Martha in KS November 20, 2009 at 11:04 am

Anna, I’m wondering if you’ve ever rolled out dough on a silicone mat. Do you use these mats for baking? I recently bought some Wilton mats – disappointing because they’re much smaller than my baking sheets – but I used one for baking breadsticks and the bottoms didn’t get too brown as in the past. Appreciate your feedback.

Katrina November 20, 2009 at 11:14 am

For some reason, I’ve always been pretty successful at pie crust making, BUT, I stink at crimping the edges pretty. I used to also only use a shortening based recipe.
Then my MIL had a recipe I’ve loved, she gave me the recipe and it was exactly like one I’d found at the time on Allrecipes, called Never Fail Pie Crust.
BUT, since I’ve been taking some cooking classes, this chef has “shown me the light”. jk
Here’s the recipe for my new current favorite crust. It just seems perfect to me. Course, I’ve only had it with amazing desserts she’s made and presented to the class. No wait, I used it once and made a quick crust for chicken pot pie. Anyway, love this one.
Actually, I just went and got the recipe and some of her instructions are too long to type up. For first time though, it’s good to have that much instruction. So, if you DO want the recipe (and I’m not at all hurt if you don’t), let me know and I”ll copy it for you.
This is the recipe they (the chefs) learned at Le Cordon Bleu training in London. It’s called Pate Brisee, but that really just means Basic Pastry Dough.
Let me know if you want it.
Otherwise, I’m happy you’ve found one that makes you happy!

Sarah November 20, 2009 at 1:54 pm

Thank you so much for this, Anna. I was, literally, writing a grocery list that included European butter so that I could make Dawn’s pie crust recipe when I saw this. I think for my pecan and pumpkin pies, your version will be a better fit, I was a little worried that Dawn’s might be a bit too rich for those fillings and you’ve confirmed my suspicions AND given me a great recipe to try :) Thank you!

marina mott November 20, 2009 at 4:05 pm

Great recipe!!

Suzy November 20, 2009 at 8:40 pm

I have found that freezing a pie crust before putting it in the oven makes it really flaky. The piecrust section in Cook’s Illustrated’s Best Recipe book has a lot of good info (including this tip).

Carrie Zerafa November 21, 2009 at 1:04 am

Wow, so many great tips on pie crust. It is true that practice makes perfect – recipes are a must, but working that dough is all about the feel. http://thedailypie.com

cccobsessed October 6, 2010 at 11:38 am

I made Dawn Viola’s pie crust for an apple pie this weekend and it was AWESOME! Buttery flakey perfection. I don’t like food processors(too messy, i lazy), prefer to “cut in” by hand & it was super easy. My girls used the leftover dough for pie crust cookies, so fun.

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