Step by step instructions to make a perfect flaky pie crust at home.
So it’s the season of pies! I can see pies all around, they are everywhere! And that’s totally how it should be right? After all it’s the Thanksgiving week. Honestly I had only tasted apple pie back in India. I didn’t even know there were so many different types of pies! But as I got interested in baking I learnt about the different types of pies and how awesome they all are. From the rustic galette to the easy banoffee pie, I love them all.
My dad loves apple pie, and so this year when my parents visited us I wanted to surprise him by making one. And well that surprise didn’t really went as planned. I mean I made the pie but how it tasted is another story. I used a store bought crust and made a mess out of it. Seriously it turnd out so soggy and not great at all. Papa still said it was good but I know he said that just to make me happy! That day I made up my mind to learn how to make the most perfect pie crust and apple pie. And while the apple pie might have to wait, I have finally made the perfect pie crust.
So let’s see what we need to make the pie crust. Actually if you look at the ingredients list, it appears very simple. You need only 4 ingredients to make pie crust at home – 1. Flour 2. Water 3. Salt and 4. Fat [Butter/Shortening/Lard]. However in spite of the simple ingredient list, the actually crust making can be tricky. My recipe also calls for a 5th ingredient, sugar. It is optional but I like adding it to my homemade pie crust.
So the key ingredient in making the perfect crust is the fat. There has been a lot of debate over this. All butter pie crust or a crust made with butter and shortening? And what about lard. Honestly I have no idea about the crust made with lard, have never tasted it. In my opinion the other 2 crusts are equally good. The only major difference is that the crust made with butter and shortening is better in appearance, so if you want to crimp your pie crust, go for this crust. If you care only about the buttery taste, then obviously go for all butter crust. I love this article, it does such a great job in explaining the butter vs. shortening in making pie crust. Do read it if you are interested in learning more.
Few things you always have to keep in mind while making a pie crust.
Use cold fat: I have written about how important it is to have butter chilled in this recipe of apple galette and the same logic applies here. The butter and the shortening needs to be cold because you don’t want them to melt inside the dough before baking. This way when the fat melts during baking > the water is converted to steam leading to air pockets > which further leads to flaky texture. I usually cut my butter into small pieces and then put it in the freezer for around 30 minutes before using it in the recipe.
Use ice water: You need to use ice water in this recipe. Add ice cubes to a bowl and then pour water on top. Wait for few minutes till the water becomes ice cold and then measure the require amount of water from that bowl. The reason we use ice cold water is because we don’t want the fat to melt before the dough is baked.
Keep the bowl and flour cold as well: This is optional but I do it. I measure my flour, salt and sugar and then cover the bowl and keep it in the referigerator for around 30 minutes. This way everything is cold, cold!
Do not use more water than required: Add water 1 tablespoon at a time and stop when the dough starts clumping together. It might look like at that point that the dough needs more water to come together but it does not. Transfer the dough to a floured surface and bring it together.
In a bowl whisk together flour, salt and sugar. Cover this bowl and keep it in the refrigerator for 30 minutes. This step is optional. Add very cold cubed butter into the bowl next. Also add the shortening.
Using a pastry cutter or 2 forks cut the butter and the shortening into the mixture till it resembles coarse crumbs. I recommend using a pastry cutter here. It’s a very handy tool!
As you can see in the picture, few large pieces are okay. In fact I would say that few large pieces of butter are actually recommended, they will result in a flakier crust.
Now add ice water, 1 tablespoon at a time. You will stop adding more water once the dough starts clumping together.
At this point, transfer the dough to a well floured surface. Using your hands bring it all together. Once your dough comes together divide it into 2. Wrap each part with a cling sheet and chill in the refrigerator for 2-3 hours before using it in the recipe. Overnight is even better. Once the dough is chilled, roll the dough and make pie! yay! Please don’t forget to come back tomorrow to see what I made using my homemade pie crust. ❤ This recipe makes 2 pie crusts.
Homemade Pie Crust
- 2¼ cup all purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ¾ teaspoon sugar
- ½ cup unsalted butter, cut into cubes & chilled
- 4 tablespoons shortening, cold
- 8-9 tablespoons ice cold water
- In a bowl whisk together flour, salt and sugar. Cover this bowl and keep it in the refrigerator for 30 minutes. This step is optional.
- Add very cold cubed butter into the bowl next. Also add the shortening.
- Using a pastry cutter or 2 forks cut the butter and the shortening into the mixture till it resembles coarse crumbs. Few large pieces of butter are okay.
- Now add ice water, 1 tablespoon at a time. Stop adding more water once the dough starts clumping together.
- At this point, transfer the dough to a well floured surface. Using your hands bring it all together. Once your dough comes together divide it into 2 equal havles.
- Wrap each part with a cling sheet and chill in the refrigerator for 2-3 hours before using it in the recipe. Overnight is even better.
- Once the dough is chilled, roll the dough and make pie!
Homemade Pie Crust