Made from Scratch Pie Crust is something most people want no part of. To be honest, for years I used the store bought pie crust (and still do if I am short on time). One of the main reasons I did this was because I had convinced myself I was not a pie maker. For years, during the holidays (especially at Christmas), I was the cookie maker. I made plates and plates of cookies for family and friends. And my grandmother, Gertie, was the pie maker. She made the best pies you ever tasted. Therefore, she was the pie maker and I was the cookie maker. I remember telling myself (because I talk to myself on a regular basis), “Pam you need to buy the store bought crust because you know you will never be able to make the crust the way your grandmother does”. Does anyone else ever do that – tell yourself you can’t before you even try?
That was until after my grandmother passed and I decided I was going to master making a pie and making a made from scratch pie crust. Let me tell you – I made more crusts that I threw away than actually used when I first starting homemade pie crusts. But I was determined to make a good pie. So I tried numerous recipes some including butter and some including shortening (I am pretty sure my grandmother used lard). After many failures, I decided to use butter and shortening. I had read so many articles detailing the correct fat to use in your pie crusts and the consensus was the mixture of butter and shortening make a buttery flaky crust. Honestly, through experimenting I had to agree combining both butter and shortening did make a better crust.
So now I can call myself a pie maker. I am pretty sure my grandmother would be proud knowing I am carrying on her tradition of pies for the holidays. My pies don’t in anyway look perfect, but I do think they are delicious.
Disclaimer: When I am working on my recipes I usually have a kitchen full of family including grandbabies. My crust is not the prettiest by no mends but taste really good. These photos were taken on the day before Thanksgiving in the mountains of Virginia when I had lots of hands on help. They are not fancy just family photos and fun.
Perfect Buttery Flaky Made From Scratch Pie CrustCourse: DessertCuisine: American
A few simple ingredients come together in this perfect pie crust recipe. So tender and flaky, you’ll never use another pie crust recipe again
12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) of very cold unsalted butter
3 cups of all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon of kosher salt
1 tablespoon of sugar
1/3 cup of very cold vegetable shortening
6 to 8 tablespoons (about 1/2 cup) ice water
- Dice the butter and return it to the refrigerator while you prepare the flour mixture. Place the flour, salt, and sugar in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade and pulse a few times to mix. Add the butter and shortening. Pulse 8 to 12 times, until the butter is the size of peas. With the machine running, pour the ice water down the feed tube and pulse the machine until the dough begins to form a ball.
- Transfer the pie dough to a floured work surface. The dough should come together easily and should not feel overly sticky. Using floured hands, fold the dough into itself until the flour is fully incorporated into the fats. Form it into a ball. Divide dough in half. Flatten each half into 1-inch thick discs using your hands.
Wrap each tightly in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours (and up to 5 days).
- When rolling out the chilled pie dough discs to use in your pie, always use gentle force with your rolling pin. Start from the center of the disc and work your way out in all directions, turning the dough with your hands as you go. Visible specks of butter and fat in the dough are perfectly normal and expected!
- Proceed with the pie per your recipe’s instructions.
- This recipe is enough for a double crust pie. If you only need 1 crust for your pie, cut this recipe in half OR freeze the other half per the make ahead tip instruction below.
- Make Ahead & Freezing Instructions: Prepare the pie dough and freeze the discs for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator before using in your pie recipe.
Pie Crust Tips
- One of the most important thing about making the perfect pie crust is that you have to keep everything cold. Cold fats are key!!! On a hot day, you can even measure and chill your flour in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes prior to making your crust.
- Always, always preheat the oven so that the cold dough goes directly into a hot oven.
- I prefer using a deep dish glass pie dish when I am making a pie. Glass pie dishes conduct heat evenly, which allows the bottom of the crust to bake thoroughly. Also, you’ll be able to see when the sides and bottom of the crust has browned.
- If your pie recipe requires pre-baking– let’s say you’re making a pie with an especially wet filling, use pie weights . Without pie weights, the dough will puff up, then shrink. Pie weights are made from metal or ceramic beads and work to weigh down the crust to prevent the puffing/shrinking. Dried beans can also be used! Whichever you choose, be sure to line the crust with parchment, then fill the empty pie crust with the weights all the way to the top of the pie dish rim prior to baking.
- Use a pie crust shield to keep the crust edge covered, which protects it from browning too quickly or worse– burning. If you don’t have a pie crust shield you can also cover the pie with a piece of aluminum foil. Cut a large circle in the center of the square so the center of the pie is exposed.