The Perfect Pie Crust

apple pie stars

Over my many years of attempting pie crusts and getting impatient, I finally perfected an old recipe of my mom’s combined with multiple different recipes I’ve toyed with online and from cookbooks. It’s super flaky, delicious, is fantastic for both sweet and savory pies, and is easy to prepare. I even like to make mine the night before and sometimes even freeze pre-rolled out bits for pie art.

Trust me, the extra effort of making your own pie crust is not only worth it for the taste, but also the self-satisfaction of knowing you can make a better-than-store-bought pastry. The following instructions will provide you with a basic butter crust for 2 double crusts (1 10-inch pie with a bottom and top, or 2 10-inch pies with an open top). My biggest piece of advice is to not handle the crust too much or it will turn out a bit tough.

Ingredients

  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour + extra for rolling (I swear by King Arthur brand)
  • 1 cup (8 ounces) unsalted butter, chilled, cut into 1/2 inch cubes (I swear by Kerrygold or other European style butter)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/4 cup ice water, ice cubes removed

Instructions

  1. Put flour, sugar, and salt into a food processor and pulse 2 – 3 times to combine. *If you don’t have a food processor, use a whisk.
  2. Add half of the butter to food processor and pulse 3 – 4 times, then add the rest and pulse as many times as necessary until the largest butter bits are the size of a pea. *If you don’t have a food processor, use a pastry blender or fork.
  3. Slowly add ice water about a tablespoon at a time and pulse 1 – 2 times until the dough just barely holds together. It should easily hold together when punched together with your fingers. Be careful not to add too much water or the crust will be too tough.
  4. Gently tip bowl onto a lightly floured surface and divide into two even mounds. Carefully roll each mound into a sphere and flatten into a disc. Sprinkle with flour, cover with plastic wrap, and put into the refrigerator for at least an hour (I usually make mine the night before I bake a pie). *BE CAREFUL not to over knead dough or the dough will have too much gluten and become tough.
  5. Remove from refrigerator and let sit for about 5 minutes or until it becomes easy to work with.
  6. Lightly flour a flat work surface and remove dough from plastic wrap. Take a rolling pin and roll the dough in approximately a 1/8 of an inch thick and 12-inch circle. Be sure to turn the dough a few times while rolling to make sure it isn’t sticking to the surface you’re working on. If it is starting to stick, sprinkle a little more flour on the surface. *wine bottles make a great rolling pin in a pinch.
  7. Gently fold the dough over the rolling pin and roll down onto your 9-inch pie plate. Gently press the dough down so that it fits snuggly into the bottom and sides. Use a sharp knife or kitchen scissors to trim the excess dough within at least a half inch of the dish.
  8. Add pie filling of choice! If it’s a really juicy filling, I would brush a little egg white onto the bottom first. It will help prevent sogginess.
  9. Add top if so desired! Follow the same directions as listed in #6. If you want a full top, roll onto the top of the pie dish, flute edges using a fork or by pinching, and score top with at least four, 2 – 3-inch cuts for steam release. If you want to do a latticework, roll out as directed and cut strips into the desired width. Here’s a video on how to do a latticework! There are tons of other videos available on how to decorate a pie – feel free to rabbit hole! I know I do. Or you know, experiment and come up with your own twist!
  10. Using a pastry brush (the ones with hair work MUCH better than the silicone ones), brush egg white all over the crust. Bake according to the pie recipe you are using! If the crust begins to get too dark before the pie is done, take a piece of foil and cover.

Pie crust dough is much easier to work with when cold, so if you’re struggling with it falling apart or not cooperating as desired, pop it back into the fridge for a few minutes. For pie art, I sometimes freeze a pre-flattened bit out and then carve out my desires shapes. To apply, brush a little egg white to the bottom of shape and apply to top of the pie.

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