The Perfect Pie Crust

Sift the flour, salt, and sugar into a large bowl or a food processor. Add the butter and lard, a few bits at a time, blending with your fingers or pulsing in the processor, until the mixture forms a coarse meal.

Add the water, 1 tablespoon at a time (you probably won’t need all of it and should use as little as you can get away with), and mix just until the dough begins to form a ball. Shape it into a disk, wrap tightly, and refrigerate until very cold, at least 3 hours.

Flour the work surface and roll the dough into a rough circle, ¼-inch-thick or less. The circle doesn’t have to be perfectly round — ragged edges are fine. (This recipe makes a little extra dough in case of mistakes.) Lift the dough and place it in a 9-inch pie plate. (If you fold the dough in half and then in half again, it’s easier to place in the pan.) Don’t stretch the dough. You should have a lot of overhang.

Tuck the edges over and pinch decoratively. I like to squeeze the dough between the side of my middle finger and my thumb to create a tall, fluted crust, like a garland. It will collapse during baking, but the ruins of its beauty endure. You can also crimp the pie crust by pressing it against the rim of the pie plate with the tines of a fork.

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Place a piece of foil in the shell and pour in enough rice, dried beans, or pie weights to keep it from puffing. Bake for 15 minutes. Carefully remove the weights and foil and return the dough to the oven. Bake 5 more minutes. Cool before filling. If not using the crust immediately, cover and store at room temperature for up to 1 day.

In a large mixing bowl, sift together the flour and salt.

Create a well in the middle of the flour mixture with your hand. Add the shortening and butter a little at a time to the well you created. Work all the ingredients together using your hands. Gradually pull more flour from the outside of the well as you mix.

When all the shortening and butter are incorporated, continue mixing, adding water slowly until any remaining flour is incorporated and the dough forms a round ball.

Lightly flour a clean work surface and turn out the dough onto the surface. Divide the dough into two equal-sized balls. Using your hands, flatten the balls into discs and lightly flour them.

Using a rolling pin, begin rolling one of the discs from the center out, forming a circle about 1/8-inch thick.

Place a pie pan over the dough to measure the crust. There should be a margin of 3 to 4 inches of dough wider than the pan to form the edges of the crust. Carefully place the crust in the pan and use your fingers to press the edge of the dough together to form a decorative edge.

How To Make the Perfect Pie Crust

Try these no-fail pie crust recipes and tips to bake your most impressive pie ever!

Homemade pie crust can elevate your next pie or tart to new heights of culinary excellence. Try these no-fail pie crust recipes and video instructions to bake your most impressive pie ever!Plus, try out your perfect pie crust on one of yummy pie recipes.

A decorative pie edge is a perfect way to add a professional finish to your homemade pies. Try out one of these pretty options!

Making your own pie crust isn't as hard as you might think. We've broken down the process into simple steps so that everyone will feel comfortable with this pastry-making project.

A lattice crust creates a patchwork of colors and textures, revealing a pleasing pattern of baked fruit peeking out from beneath strips of tender pastry. It looks complicated, but making a lattice-top crust is easy as pie, particularly with a pastry wheel.

Instructions: Lattice Pie

Use this foolproof basic pie dough as the foundation for as many pies as you can dream up. Try it with our Old-Fashioned Pecan Pie recipe.

This cool crust with star cutouts is a unique spin on your typical double-crust pie. It works well with the Farm Chicks' Strawberry-Rhubarb Pie, but will work with any covered-crust pie. Try it for the Fourth of July or a child's birthday party!

Instructions: Star Cutout Crust

Making flaky and light pie pastry is not hard, but it does require a little patience, practice, and the right technique. Hint: It's all about the temperature!

Ingredients Needed For This Recipe:

Step One

Sift the sgar, flour and salt together into a bowl. Once all is sifted, breakup 2 tablespoons of chilled butter into the bowl and make the mixture really crmbley. Do this process slowly. You don&rsquot wnt your butter to melt too much. Cut the butter up before adding it in. Use your hands to mix the butter in until it reaches a corn mill texture. Once mixed, place it in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.

Image by. Paula Deen via YouTube video.

Step Two

Begin adding your ice water into the bowl. You will use anywhere from 1/4 to 1/2 a cup of ice water and mix it in until it can for a ball. Once mixed in, spread out some wax or parchent paper onto the counter, then wrap up the dough. Place it in the refrigerator for 30 minutes more.

Step Three

Put some flour down on a cutting board and place the dough down on the board. Coat your rolling pin in flour and begin rolling out your pie crust. Make sure the dough isn&rsquot sticking, if it is, add moe flour to the board and continue rolling. Roll in a spiral technique to create the circular shape for the crust. Roll the dough a little bit further than a 10 inch circumference.

Image by. Paula Deen via YouTube video.

Step Four

Brush the bottom of the pie crust with a little bit of egg wash. You can freeze these pie crusts for a while before baking them.

Find the most delicious recipes here

In a small bowl, dissolve the sugar and salt in the water. Refrigerate until very cold, about 30 minutes. During that time, refrigerate your butter, flour, mixer bowl, and paddle, too.

Make sure your butter is cut into 1/2-inch dice. Bigger pieces will make your dough puffy. In the chilled bowl, combine the cold butter and flour. With your hands, toss the butter in the flour until each cube is lightly coated.

With the chilled paddle, beat the flour-butter mixture on low speed to just break up the butter, about 30 seconds. Add the water mixture all at once and raise the speed to medium-low. Beat just until the dough comes together in big chunks, then immediately turn off the mixer.

.Divide the chunks of dough in half and very gently pat each group into a round 1-inch-thick disk. Wrap each tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate until firm, about 1 hour, before rolling. You can refrigerate the disks for up to 1 day or freeze for up to 3 months.

1. Make sure that all the ingredients are cold.

2. Mix with your fingertips, not your palms. Fingertips are cool, while your palms are hot.

3. When mixing the flour and butter, pick up some of the flour and butter, squeeze it, and drop it.

4. Make discs with the dough -- rather than a ball -- so that it is easier to flatten.


Baking flaky pastry dough can be one of the most satisfying yet difficult tasks in the kitchen.

Pie crust was one of the first things I learned to make when I was a teenager. It’s amazing with all the pie crust experience I have, I still seemed to get inconsistent results with each pie or quiche I made. Sometimes it would be perfect, other times it would be tough or would fall apart while trying to roll it out. Part of my problem was my infrequent pastry dough baking.

I would only make dough two or three times a year and would throw caution to the wind with my methods of preparation. In order to get a crust that is consistently flaky and buttery, one must adhere to a few simple steps.

The pie gods demand a homemade pie crust to showcase the filling to its fullest expression. Have no fear, Bessie is here to show you how to bake the most delicious pastry dough time and time again!

The process you use to make a pastry dough is by far the most important. There are many different varieties of pastry dough that can be used for tarts, custard fillings, quiche, etc. French pastry doughs have different applications for mixing the dough. The method I prefer for a pie crust with fruit fillings stays the same no matter what recipe I use.

However, I have come up with what I feel is the perfect pie crust recipe. I have tried numerous recipes over the years and the one that works like a charm every time has a mixture of butter (for flavor) and shortening (for flakiness). A small addition of vodka helps to slow gluten formation because its 40% alcohol. Less water means a flakier crust. For years I have marveled at my dad’s pie crust.

His trick is to add an egg to help bind the ingredients. Many professionals urge against adding an egg because it adds too much moisture. So I came up with a compromise and added only the egg white to help with binding. I have tried recipes from cookbooks and online sources who claim they have tested over 100 recipes to get the perfect crust. When I put this recipe up against any others, I still find this one to be the flakiest I have ever tried, and less tricky to roll out. It’s win-win!

Commandment #1

Thou shalt keep all ingredients cold. That means placing the mixing bowl, liquids, flour, butter, and shortening (or other fat) in the freezer for about 20 minutes prior to mixing. If the fat is too warm, it will melt in the dough. You need the flour and fat to be separated so that the when steam is released from the fat, you have pockets of flaky dough, versus dough that is all the same texture.

Commandment #2

Thou shalt cut in fat. Whether you mix by hand with a pastry cutter or by mechanical means with a food processor, one must “cut in” the butter or fat until it’s distributed in small chunks throughout the flour mixture. Again, this will allow the fat to be separated so that steam pockets create a flaky texture.

Commandment #3

Thou shalt not over-mix. Only mix the dough until it starts to come together when pressed between your fingers. It will still be loose and crumbly, but over-mixing, once the liquids are added, activates the gluten, thereby creating a tough crust.

Commandment #4

Thou shalt rest the dough. Resting the dough in the fridge for one hour (or up to 24 hours) allows the gluten to relax and the fat to chill once again. It will be much easier to roll out once it has properly rested. Cover with plastic wrap and place in the fridge. Once I have rolled out and shaped the dough in a pie dish, I like to pop it back in the freezer (especially if my kitchen is warm) for 10 minutes to firm back up.

Commandment #5

Thou shalt make two crusts at a time. Ok, so I know this isn’t really necessary, but if you are going to need one pie crust, you might as well make two and freeze the second for future use. A standard food processor is big enough to make dough for two crusts.

Extra tip: Although I know of many people who can easily roll out pie dough without tearing it, I seem to be one who needs a little assistance in this department. Rolling the dough out between two layers of plastic wrap keeps the dough together perfectly.

Once the crust is rolled, the plastic removes easily. To place in a pie shell, simply remove the top layer of plastic and invert in a pie shell. Gently press it into the shell and remove the second layer of plastic and shape the edges. Chill the dough uncovered for 20 minutes before blind-baking or filling. This will help to reduce what George Castanza so memorably called, SHRINKAGE!

How about a Peach Crostata with Spiced Crumble that you bake right on a sheet pan?

Once you get comfortable making your own pie crust, you won’t want to buy store-bought ever again!

Now, what makes a perfect pie crust, you ask?

#1 &ndash LARD or TALLOW. Yep, that&rsquos right. Good old fashioned lard or tallow is the KEY to making a great pie crust. Lard is the rendered back or internal fat from pigs and tallow is the rendered kidney fat from cows or lambs. Now, before you start thinking of the words &ldquocholesterol&rdquo, &ldquoweight gain&rdquo or &ldquoheart disease&rdquo, why don&rsquot you read my article here on the TOP 3 Reasons Why YOU Should be Eating Lard. That should clear up your worries in a jiffy. If that doesn&rsquot help, you can read my other article, How long did your Ancestors live while eating Bacon, Lard, & Whole Milk? That&rsquos right folks. Traditional fats like lard, butter, & tallow are healthy, and modern factory-made fats like Crisco, Canola Oil, & Margarine are no bueno. Muy no bueno.

#2 COLD EVERYTHING. Cold lard, cold butter, cold water, & even cold flour are the keys to keeping your pie crust light and flaky. I use cold lard & butter straight from the fridge, ice cold water, and I am sure to freeze my flour in the freezer the night before to make sure it&rsquos freezing cold. So, we&rsquore all on the same page now, right? Cold everything, got it? Okay, let&rsquos get bakin&rsquo.

Start with 1 1/4 cups of cold sifted flour and 1/4 tsp. of salt. You can use whole wheat flour if you like,
but I prefer to use half white flour, and half sprouted wheat flour.

Next, you&rsquoll add 2 TBS. of butter and 3 TBS. of Lard or Tallow. I&rsquove found this ratio works the best. You don&rsquot want to make a pie crust with ONLY butter. Using butter as the only fat will make it TOO flaky and it&rsquoll fall apart when you try to slice it.

Now it&rsquos time to &ldquocut&rdquo your fat into your flour. Use can use a pastry cutter or a fork, but either way you&rsquoll want to cut it in until you have small pea sized chunks.

Now you&rsquoll add 6-8 TBS. of ice cold water and mix together with a spoon until it comes together. Add just enough water until it comes together. Start with 6 TBS. and then evaluate. Use your hands to form it into a ball. If you aren&rsquot planning on baking your pie right away, then you need to refrigerate your dough until you&rsquore ready to bake it.

Now this is my Grandma&rsquos tip for rolling out the perfect pie crust. Take a fine dishcloth or just a scrap of cotton fabric and dump a handful of flour on top of it. Yep right on top of it. This will prevent your dough from sticking to your counter top. TRUST me, you&rsquoll LOVE this method!

After you&rsquove rolled out your dough, you can hold your pie plate right above the
rolled out dough to make sure it&rsquos big enough.

When you&rsquore ready to transfer it to your pie plate, simply used your rolling pin to roll it all the way up,
(it won&rsquot stick together) and then unroll it in your pie plate.

Form the edges with your fingers to make everything smooth.

And now you and make any pretty edge you want. Here&rsquos my fancy pancy design.

Now, if you&rsquore making a custard pie, you&rsquoll need to pre-bake the pie crust before you add the filling. You&rsquoll also need to add a weight to the bottom so it doesn&rsquot rise while baking. You can purchase these pie weights, or you can just use some parchment paper and some dried beans.
A typical custard recipe will have you pre-bake for 15 minutes at 375 degrees and then let cool for 15 minutes before filling.

If you&rsquore making a fruit pie with a top crust, you&rsquoll need to double this recipe and then you can just bake it straight away.

I like using a pastry mat to roll out my crusts, but it isn’t necessary. Sprinkle a little flour on your rolling surface and your rolling pin. Put your ball of dough in the center and slightly flatten it with your hand. With medium pressure, roll evenly away from you two or three times, then roll from one side to another. This starts to stretch out your dough. It won’t be perfect, so don’t fret. Gently pull your dough off of the surface, re-flour the surface, and flip the dough to the opposite side.

Now repeat the process, going one direction (not back and forth) and shaping it into a circle. You can flip it from one side to the other to keep it from sticking to the surface, I always do. I like to get my crust as thin as I can without it getting holes in it or breaking apart. You can always add a little extra dough in the holes to refill them. For a 9″ pie try to roll it about 11 1/2″ in diameter.

When your dough is the right size, dust it with a tiny bit of flour, gently fold it in half, and then in fourths. It makes it easy to lift off the mat and put the point into the middle of your pie plate. Then you can unfold it and it will be perfectly centered.

How to make pie crust

  1. Make the dough: Combine the flour, salt and sugar. Then cut the butter and shortening in with a pastry cutter until it forms crumbs. You’ll want to work fast so the butter doesn’t have time to warm up. Next add 2 Tablespoons of water. Stir and add more water until it forms a dough.
  2. Refrigerate: Cut dough in half and wrap with plastic wrap. I like to press it into disks so it’s easier to roll out. Place in refrigerator for atleast an hour.
  3. Roll it out: Roll out on a floured surface, rotating your rollin pin 45° to insure even thickness.
  4. Place in pie dish: Then carefully place dough in pie pan. Press the crust edges using your thumb and index finger. You can also cut off the extra dough around the edges or press it down with a fork.

The Perfect Pie Crust Recipe

*makes two, 8-9 inch pie crusts


2 sticks unsalted butter
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sugar
1/2 cup ice water


Slice 3/4 cup of butter into slices and freeze before adding it to the dry ingredients.

1. Take a 1 1/2 sticks of butter and cut into slices. Lay the butter pieces on a parchment-lined baking sheet, and freeze until hard, at least 30 minutes. Refrigerate the other 1/2 stick of remaining butter

Ingredients combined in food processor until small clumps form.

2. Combine flour, salt, and sugar in a food processor. Add refrigerated butter, and pulse to combine, about 10 times

Pie dough rolled out between two sheets of plastic wrap

3. Add frozen butter, and pulse until mixture resembles coarse meal, with some pea size clumps

4. Add ice water, and immediately pulse until water is incorporated. Squeeze a small amount of dough to make sure it holds together. Pulse a few more times if needed.

5. Lay out 2 pieces of plastic wrap. Empty half the dough onto each piece. Bring edges of wrap together to gather dough into a ball. Press dough ball down until dough is flattened.

6. Unwrap dough &ndash leaving the plastic wrap as a bottom layer. Add a second piece of plastic on top of the dough. Using a rolling pin, roll dough to between 1/4 and 1/8 inch-thick rounds (8-9 inches in diameter).

7. Refrigerate dough in the plastic wrap for at least 45 minutes and up to 2 days.

** Dough can be frozen up to 1 month.

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