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Foolproof Flaky Pie Crust: The Ultimate Guide

Simple Homemade Pie Crust Recipe - Perfect for Any Pie

Conquer your fear of pie dough with this easy, Flaky Pie Crust recipe that turns out perfectly every time!

Pie crust has long been the nemesis of home bakers everywhere. But fear not! This foolproof recipe will have you crafting buttery, flaky crusts like a pro. Say goodbye to tough, leathery disasters and hello to pie perfection.

Our goal? A crust that’s sturdy enough to hold up to juicy fillings, yet tender enough to shatter into buttery shards in your mouth. We want deep, defined layers with tiny air pockets in between – a crust that flakes and cracks rather than crumbles. And of course, it must have that irresistible buttery flavor with just the right balance of sweetness and salt.

The Science Behind Flaky Pie Crusts

Contrary to popular belief, the key to flaky layers isn’t about coating flour with fat – it’s the opposite! By creating a paste of flour and fat, then adding more dry flour, we can precisely control the gluten formation. This method eliminates the guesswork and produces consistent results every time.

Butter vs. Shortening vs. Lard: The Great Debate

Butter

  • Pros: Unbeatable flavor and large, distinct flaky layers
  • Cons: Trickier to work with due to its narrow temperature range

Shortening

  • Pros: Easy to work with and produces very tender crusts
  • Cons: Lacks flavor and can lead to crumbly rather than flaky texture

Lard

  • Pros: Ideal workability and creates tender, flaky crusts
  • Cons: Quality lard can be hard to find, and it imparts a distinct flavor

Our recipe uses all butter for maximum flavor, but feel free to experiment with combinations to find your perfect crust!

Top Tips for Pie Crust Success

Invest in a Kitchen Scale

Precise measurements are crucial for consistent results. A kitchen scale eliminates the guesswork and ensures your flour-to-fat ratio is perfect every time.

Embrace the Food Processor

Nothing beats a food processor for quickly and evenly incorporating butter into flour. If you don’t have one, a pastry cutter or even your fingertips will work in a pinch.

Keep It Cool

Cold ingredients are key to flaky layers. If your kitchen is warm, chill your dough between steps to prevent the butter from melting prematurely.

Use a Spatula for Water

Gently folding in the water with a spatula creates more distinct layers than using the food processor for this step.

Roll with Confidence

A French-style rolling pin offers superior control and is easier to clean and store than its handled counterparts.

Easy Pie Dough (Crust)

Ingredients

  • 2 3/4 cups (12.5 ounces; 350g) all-purpose flour, divided
  • 2 tablespoons (25g) sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons (5g) Diamond Crystal kosher salt; for table salt, use same weight or half as much by volume
  • 2 1/2 sticks (10 ounces; 280g) unsalted butter, cut into 1/4-inch-thick slices (see note)
  • 6 tablespoons (3 ounces; 85ml) cold water

Directions

  1. In a food processor, combine two-thirds of the flour with sugar and salt. Pulse twice. Spread butter slices evenly over the surface. Pulse until no dry flour remains and dough begins to clump, about 25 short pulses. Spread dough evenly in the bowl, sprinkle with remaining flour, and pulse 5 more times. Transfer to a large bowl.
  2. Sprinkle water over the dough. Using a rubber spatula, fold and press until it comes together. Divide into two 4-inch disks, wrap tightly in plastic, and refrigerate for at least 2 hours.
  3. On a well-floured surface, roll out one disk into a circle, rotating and flouring as needed. Aim for a thickness that will overhang your pie plate by 1-2 inches.
  4. Carefully transfer the dough to your pie plate using your rolling pin. Gently press it into the corners and sides of the dish.
  5. For a single-crust pie, trim the overhang to 1/2 inch. For double-crust, fill the pie and cover with the second dough round before trimming both to a 1/2-inch overhang. Tuck the edges under themselves around the pie’s circumference.
  6. Flute the edges using your fingers. For a single crust, it’s ready to be blind-baked or filled. For double-crust pies, brush with egg white, sprinkle with sugar, and cut vent holes before baking.

Notes

For a slightly more tender crust, replace up to 6 tablespoons of butter with vegetable shortening. Pie dough can be frozen for up to 3 months. Thaw in refrigerator before rolling and baking.

Nutrition Facts (per serving)
211 Calories
14g Fat
18g Carbs
2g Protein
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 16
Amount per serving
Calories 211
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 14g 18%
Saturated Fat 9g 44%
Cholesterol 38mg 13%
Sodium 124mg 5%
Total Carbohydrate 18g 7%
Dietary Fiber 1g 2%
Total Sugars 2g
Protein 2g
Vitamin C 0mg 0%
Calcium 8mg 1%
Iron 1mg 6%
Potassium 28mg 1%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.

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