Making the Perfect Pie Crust is easy with this step by step tutorial. The results are a perfect crust every time. And all perfect pies start with a perfect pie crust. That is what makes pie crusts so intimidating.
I used to be scared of pie. Because nothing can ruin a good pie quicker than a bad pie crust! Pie crust should be flaky and tender and never tough. And there are so many pie crust recipes out there. Some swear by shortening and others promise perfect results with butter. I am here to take all of the worry out of baking the perfect pie crust.
Perfect Pie Crust
Several years ago a friend and I did a pie crust bake off. We tried all different recipes and combinations to see which one we thought was the flakiest and the most tender. And today’s recipe is the one I liked the best. It is a combination of shortening and butter, so you get the best qualities of both.
Pie Crust is really pretty easy to make. The trick is to remember to be gentle and to handle it as little as possible. Overworking the dough and handling it too much will pretty much guarantee a tough crust. Today I’m going to share with you my Perfect Pie Crust Tutorial for flaky and tender pie crust every time!
How To Make Pie Crust
Step 1: Combine shortening, butter, flour and pinch of salt in a deep bowl.
Step 2: Using your hands or a pastry blender, combine the ingredients until little pebbles form. Using a pastry blender will help keep the dough from getting too warm.
Step 3: Your water needs to be cold. I put some water in a cup and then fill it with ice cubes. You don’t need much water. I can’t tell you the exact amount because it will vary according to the day, the weather, etc. I just splash a small amount into the bowl and then use a fork to start “fluffing” the dough until it starts to hold together.
Do not pour a bunch of water into the bowl! Add it teaspoon by teaspoon just until the dough holds together. Use your hands to form it into a ball. The dough should be soft and moist, but not wet.
Step 4: Divide dough into two balls. While working with one keep the other covered so it doesn’t dry out. Or if you only need one pie crust, you can freeze the second piece for later. If the dough has gotten warm, wrap it in plastic wrap and chill it for 30 minutes or so to make it easier to work with. When ready to work with it, place the dough you are using on a layer of wax paper and flatten it.
Pie Crust Tutorial
Step 5: Using a rolling pin, roll the dough out into a circle. If you are using a 9 inch pie plate make sure your circle is bigger than 9 inches. Use flour to keep the dough from sticking to the rolling pin.
Step 6: Lift up the wax paper and flip the pie crust over and into the pie pan. Remove wax paper and press the dough into pie pan.
Step 7: Using your fingers, form an edge around the pie and then if you are not using a top crust, flute the edge of the crust.
Step 8: Cover the pie with foil or plastic wrap. Put covered pie in the freezer for about 30 minutes to allow the pastry to firm up a bit and to prevent shrinkage while baking.
Step 9: Then, depending on the type of pie you are making you may fill the pie or bake the crust first. For Grandma Zola’s Chocolate Meringue Pie I blind baked the crust first.
How to Blind Bake a Pie Crust
Blind baking is the process of baking a pie crust without the filling. Baking blind is done for cream pies where the filling will not be baked. It is also used for pies and quiches when the filling has a shorter bake time than the crust. Blind baking is also used to keep a pie crust from becoming soggy due to a wet filling. It is also called pre-baking.
There are a couple different methods for blind baking a pie crust.
- After placing pie crust in pie plate, freeze for 30 minutes.
- Remove from refrigerator and line your pie crust with parchment paper. Fill with pie weights which are ceramic or metal beads. You can also use rice or dried beans. Remove the weights and paper after Bake at 425 degrees F for 12-15 minutes and then remove weights and paper, the crust will just beginning to turn golden brown. Bake for an additional 5-10 minutes or until crust is totally golden brown
- An easier method is to pierce the crust with a fork to produce small holes after freezing for 30 minutes. The holes will allow steam to escape and prevent crust from bubbling up. Bake at 425 degrees F for 15-20 minutes or until crust is golden brown.
What to Bake with Your Perfect Pie Crust
- Grandma Zolas Chocolate Meringue Pie
- Beef Pot Pie
- Skillet Apple Pie
- For a fun idea to use up your pie crust scraps check out my Pie Fries post!
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Perfect Pie Crust Recipe
- 2 1/2 C all purpose flour
- 1/2 C butter
- 1/2 C shortening
- pinch of salt
- ice cold water add teaspoon by teaspoon until right consistency has formed
- Place flour, salt, butter and shortening in bowl.
- Use your hands to combine ingredients until small pebbles form
- Add cold water a teaspoon at a time until the dough begins to hold together and form a ball.
- Do not over handle the dough. Dough should be soft, moist but not wet.
- Divide dough in half.
- Place ball of dough onto wax paper and flatten. Place another piece of wax paper over the top and roll out the pastry into a circle. If your pie pan is 9 inch make sure your circle is bigger than 9 inches so you have enough for the edging..
- Remove the top layer of wax paper and place pastry into pie tin. Remove other piece of wax paper and press pastry into pan. Use your fingers to crimp the edge of the crust.
- Freeze for 30 minutes to firm up the pastry. This helps prevent pastry from shrinking during baking.
- Prick the bottom of crust to prevent bubbling during baking.
- If pie calls for a baked crust bake at 400 degrees. For the first 10-12 minutes keep the edges of pie covered with foil and then remove for the last 15 minutes. Bake until golden brown.
Recipe makes two 9" pie crusts
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Originally posted November 2012