February 22, 2013

How to Make Flaky Pie Crust

I cannot believe that it has been three years since I made my first blog post and posted my first recipe!  Some very exciting things have happened over the last year, the most exciting of which was being contacted by Food.com and asked to freelance food write for them!  You mean get paid to do what I love?!  Sign me up!  This post on how to make a pie crust was actually one of the assignments that I did for them.  Here's the link to the how-to that I did on Food.com's website:  Here

I had a hard time figuring out what I wanted to make for my 3-year blogiversary.  I also have been away celebrating my 9-year wedding anniversary and haven't had much time to plan for it.  For my one-year blogiversary, I made a 3-tier cake, which turned out to be humble pie.  On my two-year blogiversary, I celebrated with cotton candy cocktails.  Since today happens to be national cherry pie day, I thought I would stick with that theme and share one of my Food.com assignments, how to make a pie crust.  

Making your own pie crust is easy and involves ingredients that you most likely have lying around your house already.  The key to a flaky pie crust is very cold butter.  Once you have purposed to make your own pie crust from scratch, the very first thing you should do, even before reading through the directions, is place your butter in the freezer.  These instructions will help you achieve a perfectly delicious and flaky pie crust.   

Yields 2 pie crusts
Adapted Food.com recipe

  • 2 c all-purpose flour, plus more for rolling
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 2/3 c butter, cut into ½ inch cubes
  • 5 to 7 tbsp ice water


Chill the butter in the freezer for at least 30 minutes. 

Sift the flour into a large bowl.  Because you will be rolling out the dough over a floured surface, some of that flour will be incorporated into the dough.  Use about 1 to 2 tablespoons less of the flour amount that is called for.  Whisk in the salt and sugar. 

Using a pastry cutter, cut the cold butter into the flour until it becomes the size of peas.  You can use a food processor for this step but be careful that you do not over process the mixture. 

Add 5 tablespoons of the ice water to the flour mixture. 

Mix the dough with your hands.  The dough is ready when you pinch some of the mixture in your hand and it holds together.  If it does not hold together, add a little more of the ice water and mix again.  Be careful not to add too much water as it will cause the crust to be tough.  Handle the dough as little as possible.  Overworking the dough will result in a tough crust.  It helps to work with chilled utensils and even to dip your hands into the ice water for a few seconds and dry them before working with the dough.

Gently gather the dough together and shape it into two round disks.  You should have visible pieces of butter in your dough.  Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.  The dough can be kept in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.  For use beyond one week, you can freeze the dough.  To thaw out the dough, place it in the refrigerator overnight. 

Remove the dough from the refrigerator and allow it to sit for 5 minutes.  Lightly flour your work surface and rolling pin.  Roll the dough from the center out into a circle that is approximately 12 inches in diameter and 1/8 inch thick.  While you are rolling out the dough, pay attention that the underside is not sticking to your work surface.  If you find that it is sticking in a certain area, simply slide a little flour underneath and continue to roll. 

Place the dough over a pie plate.  Gently press the dough down into the bottom and sides of the pie plate.  Do not stretch the dough. 

If you are making a single-crust pie, cut off any excess around the edge using kitchen scissors and fold the dough underneath itself.  Use the tines of a fork or your fingers to shape the edge of the dough.  If you are making a double-crust pie, roll out the second disk and lay it on top of your pie filling.  Cut off the excess around the edge using kitchen scissors.  Fold the top piece of dough underneath the bottom piece of dough and press them together.  Use the tines of a fork or your fingers to shape the edge of the dough.  Cut vents in the top of the dough using a sharp knife.  Brush the top of the crust with an egg wash and sprinkle with sugar, if desired.  

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