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Make your own homemade pie crust. This tutorial guides you through the blending and some common questions regarding homemade pie dough. Get the hang of it and start banging out homemade pies in all your favorite flavors.
Ingredients & substitutions
- Flour – All purpose is the standard. Combining half all purpose flour and half whole wheat flour or something like buckwheat can work, too, but will give a different, nuttier taste.
- Unsalted butter – Avoiding dairy? The vegetable shortening Crisco is a standard replacement. In fact, many older recipes call for a mixture of butter and Crisco. However the baking experts at King Arthur Flour recommend vegan butter as the best working swap for butter.
- Sugar – Granulated white sugar slightly sweetens the dough. It can be left out if you wish.
- Salt – Standard fine-grained sea salt or table salt works best for baking because the grains dissolve quickly. Kosher salts vary in their salinity, but generally you need to use more. For Diamond Kosher salt use 2x the amount of table salt. For other brands, check their websites.
- Water – Make sure it is ice-cold.
How to make pie crust
Mix the ingredients
- Place the flour, sugar – if using – and salt in bowl of food processor fitted with a dough blade or a stand mixer with the paddle attachment and thoroughly combine.
- Put the cold, cubed butter on top of flour mixture before processing or mixing.
- Pulse (or mix) the butter-flour mixture a few times to break up the butter chunks. There will still be some pieces of butter unblended.
- Add the water and pulse/mix until combined. This is a rough dough. Each piece of butter has some flour on it, but the chunks may still be irregular in size. Do not pulverize and break up every butter bit. Bits equal flakiness in pastry.
knead the dough
- Dump the rough dough out onto a floured work surface and press all the dough together into a pile.
- Using two hands press down on the top of the mixture. Fold the dough into itself until most of the butter dissolves into the flour.
- The dough is done when it looks smooth with less bumps.
- Form into two 1 inch discs. Wrap in plastic and chill for 4 hours.
Tips for making homemade pie crust
- Cube your cold butter and keep cold. Place the cubes on a small plate or tray in the freezer to stay as cold as possible while you ready the other ingredients.
- Sub vegetable shortening Crisco or vegan butter to make it dairy-free. If you are subbing in another fat, make sure it is cold as well.
- Have your ingredients measured and ready to be mixed together. This one recipe where temperature – keeping the mixture cool – is important.
- Let the plastic wrap do some of the work of forming the discs. The dough can still be a bit wonky when you wrap it in the plastic. Cover the dough and use the plastic as a guide to shape.
recipes with pie crust
Frequently asked questions
Yes. Salt content will vary by brand, but there is around ¼ to ⅓ teaspoon of salt per ½ cup of butter. For this recipe, that would mean reducing the salt added to just over 1 teaspoon about 1 ¼ teaspoons.
Chilling makes a better crust. It lets the gluten relax, the flour absorbs more of the water, the fat firms up and the dough becomes easier to handle when rolled out. However, sometimes, dough straight from the fridge needs five minutes to warm slightly.
If the dough is very dry and won’t come together on the work surface sprinkle some of the ice water over it and fold. Start with 1 teaspoon. If it is too wet, try the same with a small amount of flour.
Pie crust is one of those tactile recipes. Once you feel your way through it a couple of times, it becomes second nature. This recipe makes two standard pie crusts.
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How to Make Pie Crust
- Using the dough blade or paddle attachment, combine the flour, sugar and salt in the bowl of a food processor or stand mixer. Pulse to ensure the mixture is evenly distributed.
- Add in the cubed butter and pulse a few times to break up the chunks, but there will still be some pieces of butter unblended. Add in the cold water and pulse until combined; it should form a rough dough.
- Transfer the mixture onto a floured work surface and press all the dough together into a pile. Using two hands press down on the top of the mixture. Fold the dough into itself until most of the butter dissolves into the flour.
- Form two dough balls, and flatten each into 1-inch thick discs using your hands. Wrap each tightly in plastic, and store in the fridge for 4 hours before using in a pie recipe.
Nutrition information provided is an estimate. It will vary based on cooking method and specific ingredients used.