Pie Crust 101

Desserts, DIY, How-To, Pie

Pie Crust 101 // www.acozykitchen.com

Pie is my love language. And this week I’ll be serenading you with butter and caramel and fruit. It’s PIE WEEK!

Each day I’ll be bringing you a new pie. Some will be classics with small twists; other’s will be new-to-me (and you, hopefully) combinations.

Thanksgiving is next week and if you’ve worked it right, you’ve got the savory stuff down. You have your turkey reserved and situated. Dessert, though, might still be up in the air. If so, I urge you to make a lil’ pie. What’s great is that all of these pies can be made the night before and then served the next day. They all keep well.

I’ll admit that the first time I made pie, years ago, it was a complete disaster. I blame myself for being a terrible reader of instructions AND pies aren’t “easy as pie.” (That might be the most inaccurate, idiotic idiom I’ve ever heard.)

Pie has its challenges, though it’s definitely not impossible. Hopefully these tips and photos will help make you successful at da pie-a-makin’.

Pie 101 // www.acozykitchen.com

INGREDIENTS: Freeze your butter. Start with frozen butter. I generally freeze the butter for about an hour or so prior to starting.

Step 1: Possible obvious advice: Careful when measuring out your dry ingredients. I always weigh out my dry ingredients (because I actually find it easier than dirtying up cup measures). If you do use cup measures, make sure to fluff the flour, scoop it and then level it off with a butter knife.

Step 2: Use a box grater to cut up the butter. I find this WAY easier than breaking it up using a pastry cutter. Just shred the frozen butter atop the mixed dry ingredients. The end goal when making pie dough is to get the butter to resemble pea-sized bits; well, if you use a box grater, you’re already there. This makes it so you handle the flour mixture less, which will result in a tender pie crust.

Step 3: The key to good pie crust is everything should be cold, cold, COLD! This includes the water. I usually drop a few ice cubes into the water so the water is chilly.

Step 4: I usually add about 50% of the water I need to the dry ingredients, mix it together, AND then add more water a tablespoon at a time, until the dough comes together. Knead the dough a good ten times and form it into one cohesive ball. If it’s a bit shaggy, no biggie. When the dough rests in the fridge, the moisture will disburse throughout.

Step 5: This is a double-crust, so I slice it in half and reshape the dough into two discs. You should see the butter striated throughout the dough, creating layers of butter and flour.

Step 6: Let the dough rest. Resting the dough for an hour usually does the trick, but ideally it should be kept overnight. Have you ever had problems with your pie crust shrinking in the oven? This usually happens because there’s too much water in the dough and/or the gluten in the flour hasn’t had enough time to relax. Overnight is always better.

Pie 101 // www.acozykitchen.com

Step 7: Have you ever started rolling, only to find out the pie dough starts to crack on you?! Very frustrating. Allow the dough to sit on a floured work surface for about 10 minutes. This way it’ll shake off its chill, making it easier to roll out.

Step 8: Flour everything. Everything!! Press your rolling pin and roll outward. Give it one push, then rotate the disc a quarter turn, and repeat the process until the pie dough has reached about a 13-inch circle. Keep flouring, too. If the dough seems like it’s sticking to your counter, lift it and sprinkle a little flour underneath.

Step 9: The transfer. I like to do it grandma style by rolling the dough onto the rolling pin and then laying it over my pie pan. Some people like to fold it like a business letter and then transfer it. Both work fine.

Step 10: Trim the dough, leaving about a 1/2-inch overhang. There will be a bit of shrinkage, so just prepare for it.

Step 11: Crimp, if you like! Or braid it. You can also take a fork and create little indentations. Place the pie pan in the freezer for 20 minutes. This is also a good time to preheat your oven. If you’re filling it with fruit, do it post-freezer trip.

Supplies:

Here’s what I like and why.

1. Pie Pan – Glass. I like this Pyrex one. I love vintage-y pie pans I find at yard sales, but they heat unevenly and get way too hot. I like that the Pyrex ones are inexpensive and see-through so I can see how the crust is doing.

2. French rolling pin. These are inexpensive, better looking (in my opinion) and way less heavy than the traditional ol’ handle rolling pins.

3. Box grater. See above for my long-winded, very passionate reason why I use a box grater! Another thing that would work is a food processor with the cheese grater attachment. But do we really want to clean a food processor? Not really.

Double Crust

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5 from 3 votes
Prep Time: 30 minutes

Ingredients

  • 2 1/2 cups 312.5g all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon 15g white granulated sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon 7g fine-grain sea salt
  • 2 sticks, 226g unsalted butter, frozen
  • 3/4 cups very cold water, divided
  • 1 large egg, beaten (for egg wash)

Directions

  • In a large bowl, mix together the flour, sugar and salt. Using a box grater, grate the cold butter atop the flour mixture. Working quickly, and using your hands, break the butter bits into the flour until they're evenly distributed and resemble the size of small peas.
  • Add a 1/2 cup of water and mix. The mixture will be shaggy at this point. From here, add 1 tablespoon of water at a time until the dough comes together (I usually need to add 3 to 4 tablespoons). Flour your counter and dump the dough onto it. Knead a few times more until it comes together. Divide the dough, forming two discs. Wrap the discs in plastic wrap and transfer to the refrigerator to chill for at least 1 hour, ideally overnight.
  • Remove the first disc of dough from the refrigerator and allow to come to room temperature for 10 minutes. Liberally flour your work surface and rolling pin. Begin to roll the dough, being sure to rotate it every so often to avoid sticking, to a 13-inch round. Wrap the dough around the rolling pin and unroll it over the pie tin. Gently fit the dough into the bottom and up the sides of the pie tin. Trim the dough around the pie tin, leaving a 1-inch overhang. Add your filling and transfer the pie to freezer while you roll out the second disc of dough.
  • Remove the second disc of dough from the refrigerator and repeat the rolling process as you did with the first disc. You have a couple of options, you could simply lay the second rolled out sheet of dough on top, making a few slits with a knife so steam can escape. You can do a lattice. You could even punch out holes or any sort of shape and place it on top. Crimp the edges and brush with the egg wash.
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63 Comments

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Recipe Rating




  • Reply Isabel August 20, 2020 at 6:57 am

    5 stars
    FOOLPROOF!!! I have tried so many recipes from shortening/butter blend to all butter, in the food processor or with a pastry blender or by hand, etc. and this one works for me EVERY TIME. Thanks <3

  • Reply Ally December 3, 2019 at 11:40 am

    5 stars
    This was a lovely, flaky, flavorful crust! Must admit I subbed half the water for vodka (evaporates very quickly). I love the amount this makes, and the fact it uses a whole block of butter so theres no weird measurements and no left over butter. My new go-to recipe!

  • Reply NS January 2, 2018 at 12:45 am

    Having always been terrified of pastry and with varying degrees of success in the past, I thought I’d give it a final shot with this recipe. I ended up making pie not once, but twice over the holidays and it was a roaring success both times! The recipe made the most wonderful pastry and it was so easy – I’ll tell anyone who will listen about the wonders of grating frozen butter – Game changer! Thank you for sharing

  • Reply Margie May 20, 2017 at 9:09 am

    Oops! Sorry, my mistake! It does!

  • Reply Margie May 20, 2017 at 9:08 am

    Thanks for the recipe! Trying it today! Btw, shouldn’t the recipe for single crust use half the butter as double crust? Typo?

  • Reply Pamela November 27, 2014 at 8:21 am

    I rolled the pie crust out this morning and for the first time ever — no tears, rolled out perfectly! This will be my go-to from this point on. I’ll never have pie anxiety again! Thanks!

  • Reply Pamela November 26, 2014 at 11:01 am

    I just made this and put it in the fridge to rest. But I didn’t catch the typos in the quantity of flour and water in the single pie crust. The single pie crust should have 1 1/4 c. flour and 6 T. of water. Since I used 1 1/2 c. flour as written, I ended up using about 8 or 9 T. of water to get it to come together. Is this going to screw up the pie crust?

    My first clue that something was off was when the single pie crust instructions said to add 1/2 c. water and only 4 T. was in the ingredient list.

    I don’t want to start over, but should I?

    • Reply Adrianna Adarme November 26, 2014 at 11:07 am

      Nooo…it’s absolutely fine. I actually always make my single pie crust with 1 1/2 cups of flour because I find it need more crust to make a good lattice. I use less pie crust for the topping, so that’s why I have a single pie crust as 1 1/2 cups. It’s absolutely fine that you used 8 to 9 tablespoons. I’ll make that change!

  • Reply Allison November 23, 2014 at 7:01 am

    I can’t wait to try this! Can the dough be made in advance and sit in the refrigerator for three days? I would like to make the dough tonight (Sunday) and then make the pie Wednesday night before Thanksgiving.

    • Reply Adrianna Adarme November 23, 2014 at 12:36 pm

      Yes! You can absolutely do this. Just wrap it very tightly in plastic wrap.

  • Reply Robert November 21, 2014 at 7:33 am

    Love the tutorial but there still seems to be a problem with the amount of flour in the single pie crust recipe. One half of the flour used in the two crust recipe would be 1 1/4 cups or 156 grams not the 1 1/2 cups and 187 grams that is still shown in the recipe.

  • Reply Patsy DePaula November 8, 2014 at 4:49 am

    I have made homemade crust but this one sounds great. I have a question and I need help every time I make a meringue or custard pie my crust gets wet and soggy. Can you please tell me what am I doing wrong.

    • Reply Adrianna Adarme November 9, 2014 at 12:10 pm

      Hmm…I’m not sure, are you blind baking first? Perhaps you need to do it for longer? Also, you may want to switch to a graham cracker crust?

  • Reply cyndi October 11, 2014 at 10:53 am

    Is this for a 10″ or 9″ pie? I looked everywhere and I must be missing this.
    Thanks

  • Reply Jesse May 3, 2014 at 1:58 pm

    Loved the double crust recipe– was very, very successful with the first few pie crusts. I just tried the single, though, and didn’t have as much luck. Is there a reason that there’s such a higher proportion of flour in the single recipe compared to the double? Not knowing anything about baking, I followed the recipe exactly, but I had lots of trouble with the dough being too dry and cracking, even after letting it sit on the counter before rolling.

    Thanks for the great post!

    • Reply Adrianna Adarme May 3, 2014 at 7:06 pm

      Holy crap. What the heck am I doing. I’m so sorry about that. You’re totally right. It should be just halved. That’s what my intention was: to just do the math for everyone and I did it wrong. AHH! So sorry. Please accept my apologies. Changing it now!

  • Reply Claire April 3, 2014 at 9:57 am

    Best pastry recipe ever! Thank you so much!

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