Perfect Homemade Pie Crust
The Perfect Homemade Pie Crust
Everything you need to know to make the best pie crust ever.
On our recipe blog we get straight to business and give you what you want (the recipe) first and save the chit-chat for later. That being said, this "chit chat" may be essential to a successful homemade pie crust if you've never made one before. So hit that "print" button, get that out of the way, then scroll down and learn all the nitty gritty about making the perfect pie crust.
- 1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour, sifted
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 6 tablespoons butter, very cold and cubed
- 3 tablespoons lard (or shortening), very cold and cubed
- 3-4 tablespoons water, ice cold
- 1 tablespoon sour cream, optional
I've been baking pies with my mama for as long as I can remember. She would never be caught dead using a pre-made store-bought anything. She got that from her mom who made everything from scratch. I, however, am not above using a little pre-made something every now and then when it doesn't really compromise my dish. That being said, I would never DREAM of using a store-bought pie crust. Once you've tasted the real deal, nothing else can compare. So today I'm going to share with you my perfect pie crust recipe that comes from years of baking and tweaking.
First thing's first: if you just follow my recipe above without reading any of the tips below, your pie crust will still be eons better than the pre-made crusts. But if you follow my tips, your pie crust will leave your pie-consumers in a pie-coma. Guaranteed. So let's dive in:
KEEP IT COLD
The most important aspect of making a flaky but tender and delicious pie crust is to keep everything cold. First I dice up my butter and lard (or shortening, but if you have it, try the lard, it won't disappoint!) and stick them in the FREEZER for about 10 minutes. It may sound crazy, but if I'm really trying to impress someone with my pie, I'll even refrigerate my flour.
CUT THE FAT
After sifting together your [cold] flour and salt (yes, sifting makes a difference, too), add your [very cold] fats and either combine quickly with a pastry cutter or give your food processor 10-20 pulses. You want your flour/fat mixture to resemble coarse cornmeal. Work as quickly as possible because you want everything to stay cold (are you seeing a pattern here?). The idea is to have small chunks of fat in your dough that will melt in the oven and not before (that makes it FLAKEY!).
ADD THE LIQUID
Now, at this point, you can either continue using the food processor, OR, if you're aiming to make the best pie crust in the world, empty the contents of your food processor into a CHILLED bowl. Add the sour cream and [ice cold] water, 1 tablespoon at a time, mixing until the mixture just begins to come together. If you're not trying to impress everyone with your mind-blowing pie crust, you can do this in the food processor. It'll still be quite tasty. But if perfection is your goal, do this part by hand. You don't want it to be overly-wet so mix until you can pick up a bit in your hand, squeeze it, and the dough stays together but isn't sticky. If you add too much water, just add some more flour. But, you won't do that because you're adding your liquid 1 tablespoon at a time ;).
When ready to bake, follow the instructions for cooking your pie. Keep an eye on your crust. If the crust begins to brown too early, simply cover it with a pie shield (or a DIY pie shield made from aluminum foil). If you want a shiny, golden crust, brush lightly with egg whites before baking.
That's it. The perfect pie crust. But remember, you can follow my recipe without all the crazy, over-the-top chilling protocols and your pie crust will still be WAY better than the kind you buy at Walmart. BUT if you want your pie crust to rock your world, follow these steps exactly and you will not be disappointed.
Over and out.
Now, you'll want to pat your dough together into a ball then smash it into a disk and wrap it in plastic wrap and refrigerate it for about 30 minutes. While your waiting for everything to chill, stick a bag of ice on your countertop to cool it down. Yep, really.
ROLL OUT, HOMIE.
Now it's time to roll out! Remove your pie dough from the refrigerator and allow it to rest on the counter for about 5 minutes. You want it to be cold but not too cold. It's a delicate balance.
Now remove the bag of ice from your counter, wipe it dry, flour your counter and roll out your pie crust. Notice the beautiful little morsels of butter visible in your crust as you roll it out. Perfection. Place your crust in your pie dish (preferably a pyrex dish as aluminum can heat too quickly and cause your crust to burn easily), trim the excess and finish the edges as you wish. If you're baking with a filling (such as classic pecan pie or pecan pumpkin pie), fill your crust and refrigerate again for 10 minutes before baking. If you're baking an empty crust to fill later (such as chocolate turtle pie), line with parchment paper, fill with pie weights, and refrigerate for 10 minutes before baking.