Pie Crust

Pie crust can be pretty finicky. I didn't really get a feel for it until the second or third pie I made. I have yet to try anything but a flour-based crust, but as far as that goes, it's hard to describe when it's exactly right.

Essentially, add just enough water to keep the dough in a fairly neat ball. If you're baking a fruit pie (like apple) that will be particularly juicy, add slightly more water, but do it a teaspoon at a time so you don't make it too wet.

Here's a list of the crust recipes I've included on this page. Just click on the one you'd like to see.

Basic Flour Pie Crust

This crust isn't sweet. It worked well when I made a chocolate cream pie, but if you're making a fruit pie, I think you should use the recipe for Sweet Flour Pie Crust.

Also, I halved this recipe to make the chocolate cream pie, but found I didn't have enough to use a deeper ceramic pie pan. I think it would've been fine for a throw-away alumninum one that you can buy at Wal-Mart or Publix, but otherwise you might want to make the full recipe, which apparently will be enough for two 9-inch crusts.

Ingredients

Directions

  1. Break the shortening into large chunks. If using butter, cut it into small pieces, then add it to the dry ingredients. Cut the shortening/butter into the flour mixture using a pastry blender or by cutting in opposite directions with two knives, one held in each hand.
  2. Some of the fat should remain in pea-sized pieces; the rest should be the consistency of coarse crumbs or cornmeal. The mixture should be dry and powdery and not pasty or greasy.
  3. Drizzle 1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon of ice water over the mixture, then mix it all together.
  4. If you can't form a (barely) neat ball with the dough, then add up to two tablespoons more water.
  5. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes before rolling. If you chill it for more than 30 minutes, let it soften slightly before rolling it.
  6. When you roll the dough, be sure to roll from the center out in all directions. Instead of leaning down on the pin, lean into it. Be sure to flour your surface to prevent sticking.
  7. Recipe from Joy of Cooking, page 859, 1997 edition.

    Basic Sweet Flour Pie Crust

    This is my favorite. It's perfect for apple pie. The recipe below makes enough dough for a covered pie. Try halving it if you're not making a covered pie. Just a warning: Last time I tried that (with the Basic Flour Pie Crust), I ended up with too little dough and had to roll the crust so thinly it crumbled if I breathed too hard.

    Ingredients

    • 3 cups flour
    • 1.5 tsp. salt
    • 1 stick butter
    • 6 tbsp. powdered sugar
    • 6-8 tbsp. water

    Directions

    1. Combine flour, salt and powdered sugar; cut in half the butter with a pastry blender (or a fork), then work it in with the tips of your fingers until it has the texture of cornmeal.

    2. Cut in remaining butter and blend until the dough breaks up into pea-size pieces. Sprinkle with water, then blend it lightly into the dough with a fork.
    3. Add just enough to hold the ingredients together and stop handling it when you can gather the dough into a neat ball.
    4. Roll the dough on a floured surface from the center out. Lift the roller instead of pushing it and stretching the dough.
    5. Roll it to 1/8 inch thickness or less. Patch tears with extra bits of dough, then fold the pastry in half, lay across center of pie pan and unfold it.
    6. About covered fruit pies

      Be sure not to let the pie filling stand for more than about 15 minutes before filling the crust, otherwise it will become too juicy and make a soggy mess

      Roll out the top and bottom crusts and refrigerate, then make the filling.

      After you line the bottom of your pan with the crust and fill the crust, brush the overhanging edge of the bottom crust with cold water.

      Then place the top crust on top of the pie and press its edges together with the edges of the bottom crust.

      Cut four two-inch-long slits in the top of the pie to keep it from blowing up in your oven.

      Recipe courtesy Cherise Bartley.

      Shortbread Pie Crust

      Ingredients

      • 7 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into pieces, room temperature
      • 1/4 cup sugar
      • 1 large egg yolk
      • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour

      Directions

      1. In a bowl, combine the butter and sugar and blend to make a paste.
      2. Add the yolk and blend thoroughly. Add the flour and using your fingers, blend to make a crumbly dough, being careful not to overwork.
      3. Pat firmly into a 9-inch pie pan and let rest in the refrigerator at least 2 hours or overnight.
      4. Remove from the refrigerator and prick the bottom of the crust with the tines of a fork.
      5. Place a sheet of parchment or foil in the pie tin and fill with pie weights, dried beans or rice and bake the crust in a preheated 400 degree oven for 10 minutes.
      6. Remove the pie weights and foil and bake for another 5 minutes or until light golden brown.
      Recipe from Emiril Legasse at FoodNetwork.com

      Graham Cracker Pie Crust

      Ingredients

      • 8 ounces butter
      • 2 ounces light brown sugar
      • 2 ounces granulated sugar
      • 2 ounces honey
      • 10 ounces all-purpose flour
      • 3 ounces whole-wheat flour
      • 1 teaspoon salt
      • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

      Directions

      1. Cream together butter and sugars. Mix in honey. Stir in the flours, salt and cinnamon, and mix until just incorporated. Refrigerate dough for 2 hours.
      2. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.
      3. Divide dough equally and fill pie pans. Bake in preheated oven until just set.