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Basic Pie Crust Recipe

| August 13, 2012 | 7 Comments

Basic Pie Crust,
Rich, flaky, buttery tasting pie crusts made-from-scratch are easier than you think.  Great pies begin with great ingredients and there’s no reason to create a pie with anything but a homemade pie crust.  Family and friends will love it when you tell them you made the crust too.  You’ll see and taste the difference.  Put your fears aside and get ready for a whole new adventure in baking.

 


Basic Pie Crust Recipe:  Makes ONE pie crust.

PLUS….we’re including instructions on how to turn this into a pre-baked crust as well…keep reading.

 


Basic Pie Crust:  You’ll need just a few ingredients.

 

Basic Pie Crust, add flour.
Begin by scooping a couple of cups of flour into your sifter.

 

Basic Pie Crust, sift the flour.
Sift the flour into a bowl.

 

Basic Pie Crust, spoon the flour back into the sifter.
Spoon the flour back into the sifter.

 

Basic Pie Crust, sift the flour again.
Sift the flour for a second time.

 

Basic Pie Crust, spoon into measuring cup.
Use a spoon and scoop flour from the bowl to fill up your measuring cup.

 

Basic Pie Crust, fill the cup to overflowing.
Fill the measuring cup to overflowing.

 

Basic Pie Crust, level off the top.
Use the back of a knife or something similar and level off the top of the flour across the measuring cup….this equals one level cup.

 

Basic Pie Crust, mixing bowl.
Add all the flour needed into a mixing bowl.

 

Basic Pie Crust, add the salt.
Add the salt.

 

Basic Pie Crust, add the sugar.
Add the sugar.

 

Basic Pie Crust, gently whisk together.
Gently whisk the dry ingredients together.

 

Basic Pie Crust, stand butter on end.
This is the way I “cube” my butter.  Stand the stick of butter on end and slice down the middle with a sharp knife.  Remember to keep the butter as cold as possible until you’re ready to use it.  Often times, I’ll place the stick of butter in my freezer for a few minutes before I start to slice it.  Cold butter is very important to the recipe.

 

Basic Pie Crust, turn and slice again.
Turn the stick of butter around and slice down the middle again.

 

Basic Pie Crust, lay the slices down and slice into cubes.
Lay the stacked slices down and slice through the layers to create the “cubes” of butter.

 

Basic Pie Crust, add the butter to the flour.
Add the butter cubes to the flour.

 

Basic Pie Crust, toss the cubes in the flour.
I like to toss the cubes around in the flour to coat them.  It keeps them from all sticking together so much.

 

Basic Pie Crust, add the shortening.
Add in the cold shortening.

 

Basic Pie Crust, using the pastry cutter.
A pastry cutter comes in really hand to “cut” the butter into the flour.  You could use a couple of forks, couple of knives or even your fingers to work the butter into the flour.  Just remember that if you’re using your fingers, the butter will warm up pretty quickly.  Again, keep the butter cold as much as possible by working quickly at this point.

 

Basic Pie Crust, pea size.
Work the pastry cutter around through the butter and flour until you’ve reduced it down to pieces about the size of peas.

 

Basic Pie Crust, gradually add the cold water.
Gradually add the ice cold water…a little at the time.  You need to use really cold water during this step.  Begin by adding one or two tablespoons of the ice water and gently stir with a fork.  The exact amount of water you need will vary from one recipe to the next so, start with just a spoonful at a time and add more only as needed.  I think the warmer the butter gets, the less water you need because the water in the butter itself will help the flour stick together.  I used 3 Tablespoons in this one.

 

Basic Pie Crust, stir the mixture.
Use a fork to stir the water into the flour.  The secret here is to add just enough water to reach the point where the flour will stick together.  You’ll see this begin to happen as you add the ice water.  Stay on the safe side and add the water slowly.  You don’t want to overwork the dough at this point.  Stir it just a little and add more water as needed.  The more you make pie crusts, the easier it will become to recognize what’s needed in this mixing process to get just the perfect crust.  You know…as the old saying goes, “Practice makes perfect.”

 

Basic Pie Crust, sticking together.
When it starts to stick together…it’s ready to shape.

 

Basic Pie Crust, shape the dough into a ball.
Use your hands and quickly shape the dough into a ball.  If you’ve added too much water, the dough will be sticky.  You can add a little more flour if needed.  Or, if the dough is not sticking together, add a little more water until it does stick together.  Again, the more you do this, the better you’ll get at it.  Don’t be discouraged if it doesn’t come out great your first time around, just jump right back in and try it again.  You can do it.

 

Basic Pie Crust, wrap and refrigerate.
Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and gently pat it out a bit.  Place the wrapped dough in the refrigerator for at least an hour or two before using.  Or, if possible, leave it overnight.  The dough just relaxes down and seems to work better when used the next day.  Dough may be refrigerated for one or two days if needed for later use.  You can also wrap the whole thing in aluminum foil and freeze it for up to several months but, who can wait that long for pie…right?

 

Basic Pie Crust, flour the surface of your counter.
When ready to proceed, remove the dough from the refrigerator and take off the plastic wrap.  Lightly flour the surface of your counter with more flour and then place the dough on that.  Lightly dust the top of the dough ball with flour as well.

 

Basic Pie Crust, pat the dough out a bit.
Grab a little of the flour in your hand and rub it across your rolling pin.  Then, take the rolling pin and smack it down on the dough a time or two to flatten it out a bit.  If the dough is really cold, let it sit for about five minutes and then proceed with rolling it out.

 

Basic Pie Crust, roll out the dough.
Using just a light pressure, begin rolling out the dough.  Start in the center of the dough and roll out to the edges.  Watch it closely because the dough likes to stick to the rolling pin when you get to the edges.  Sprinkle a little more flour on it if need be.  Roll it a time or two in one direction, then lift it and turn it to roll it out in the other direction.

 

Basic Pie Crust, turn the dough and roll again.
Lift and turn the dough to keep rolling it out into a circle.  If the dough is sticking to the counter surface or to the rolling pin…lightly dust either with a little more flour.  The dough will typically roll out with just a few turns.  Try not to overwork the dough too much but, make sure you’ve rolled it out about 1/8th to 1/4 of an inch thick.  You can lightly place your pie plate on top of the dough to make sure it’s large enough.  You’ll need a good inch or more beyond the rim of the pie pan to allow for the dough up the sides of the plate and the overhang around the edge.

Can you see those yellow chunks of butter in the dough?  You really want those.  Butter consists of water and fat.  As the pie bakes, the water will evaporate and leave pockets of air…that’s the flaky part.  The fat in the butter and the shortening is what makes the pie crust tender.

 

Basic Pie Crust, roll the dough onto the rolling pin.
Carefully lift one edge of the dough and roll it up and over your rolling pin.  Roll all of the dough onto the pin.  This will make it easier to transfer the dough from the counter top to the pie plate or pan itself.  If you’re using a rolling pin with handles, like mine, make sure you place your thumb on the large middle part that’s holding the dough when you go to pick it up.  Otherwise, it could easily turn on you and you might end up with a big sheet of dough on the floor.  You can thank me later.

 

Basic Pie Crust, drape the dough over the pie plate.
Move your pie plate onto the counter.  Place the rolled up dough on one edge of the pie plate and unroll it to the opposite side.  See how easy that was?  You’re well on you way to becoming a master pie baker.

 

Basic Pie Crust, gently press the edges into the corners.
Use your fingers and gently press the dough down into the edges of the bottom of the dish.  Pat it out so that it’s even all the way around the bottom.  This will keep it from drawing up as it bakes.

If the dough develops a hole or tears, pinch off a little of the extra from the overhanging part and patch it.  I could have rolled mine out a little bit larger because you can see on the bottom left corner of the picture that my dough isn’t totally covering the pie plates rim.  I’ve also got a bit of a separation up in the top right corner that’s bare.  Hey…I’m just trying to be a good friend and show you how things happen when you’re making a pie crust.  It’s easier to explain the “fixes” that way.  So yeah….maybe I did that just so I could tell you about repairing some problems if they arise.  Yep..that’s it…that’s what I was doing.  (Smile)

 

Basic Pie Crust, trim the edges.
Now, take a sharp knife and run it around the outside of the edge of the plate rim and trim away the excess.  I made a bit of an attempt on that upper right edge to repair that bald spot.  See it?

 

Basic Pie Crust, press a fork around the edges.
Take a fork and gently press it into the top edge of the pie crust all the way around.  It’s what mama always did to add a little bit of a fancy edge to her crusts.  Just looking at this picture floods my mind with all types of memories of her doing this with her crusts.  Of course, her’s looked much better than mine but, that was years and years of experience I was watching as she made her crusts.  Nope…that’s just a little bit of trash or something in my eye…I’m OK.  (pausing to reflect for a moment)

REFRIGERATE THE CRUST AGAIN FOR 30 MINUTES BEFORE USING.

You can lightly wrap the whole thing in plastic wrap if you want but, I just placed it in the refrigerator like it was.  The dough needs to relax a little more before you add the filling.

Taking pie crusts a few steps further.  The following is just for your information and is in by no means the complete and last word in pie crust making.  We’re just gradually touching a few topics that you might want to look into further.

 

Depending on the TYPE of pie, you may want to either hold moisture in…or…let moisture out.  If you’re making a juicy fruit pie, you’ll want to hold moisture in.  Some folks make an egg wash and brush it into the bottom and up the sides of the pie to help seal the dough before adding a juicy type of filling.  To do this, break an egg into a small bowl and add about a tablespoon of water.  Whisk it together well and brush the bottom of your pie crust in the dish.  Add your filling and bake.

Other types may need to let moisture out of the crust as it bakes.  Quiche or savory pies may need this.  To do this we’ll use a fork to poke a few holes in the bottom of the crust.

 

Basic Pie Crust, run the fork around the bottom.
Simply take a fork and “Dock” the bottom of the crust…or…what it simply means is…poke holes in the bottom.  Add your filling and bake.

You may also come across a recipe that calls for a pre-baked crust.  The steps below will help you with that.

 

Pre-Baked Pie Crust Recipe:

OK…we’re going to take this one step further and make this a Pre-Baked Pie Crust.  I’m using this particular crust for a Tomato Pie recipe that can be found here on Taste of Southern that calls for a pre-baked crust.

 

Basic Pie Crust, line with foil to pre-bake.
To begin the pre-bake process, take some light aluminum foil and gently press it into the dough in your pie pan.  Fold the edges of the foil over the edges of the rim of the crust.  Don’t press it into the dough but just gently resting on the dough.

 

Basic Pie Crust, add some dry beans or rice.
Open up a bag of dry beans and pour them into the foil lined crust.  You could also use dry rice for this…just something that will give it a little weight as the pie bakes.  Your favorite Kitchen Store will probably also carry some “pie weights” that can be used and re-used for this purpose.  Until you’re ready for those, about any type of dried beans will work great and…you can also re-use them as needed.

 

Basic Pie Crust, spread the beans around evenly.
Spread the beans around evenly.

Preheat your oven to 425º and bake the pie crust for 20 minutes.

 

Basic Pie Crust, remove the beans and foil.
Remove the pie crust from the oven.  Remove the beans and after they cool, store them in a Mason Jar for the next time you need them to pre-bake a crust.

REDUCE OVEN TEMPERATURE TO 375º and return the crust to the oven.

Return the uncovered crust to the oven and bake for about 10-15 minutes longer until lightly browned.  Remove from the oven and let cool completely before adding your ingredients.

 

Basic Pie Crust, notice the air pockets.
Notice the air pockets that have formed in the crust.  This is where the water from the butter has evaporated and left the air pockets.  That’s the “flaky” part of our crust.  Cool huh?

 

Basic Pie Crust, your pre-baked crust.
Here’s another view.  The completed crust, pre-baked and ready to be filled with all kinds of great things.

Enjoy!!!

 

Basic Pie Crust Recipe

Rating: 51

Prep Time: 50 minutes

Total Time: 50 minutes

Yield: 6 - Slices

Basic Pie Crust Recipe

Rich, flaky, buttery tasting pie crusts made-from-scratch are easier than you think. Great pies begin with great ingredients and there's no reason to create a pie with anything but a homemade pie crust. Family and friends will love it when you tell them you made the crust too. You'll see and taste the difference. Put your fears aside and get ready for a whole new adventure in baking.

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups of All-Purpose Flour, sifted twice before measuring.
  • 1/2 cup of Unsalted Butter, cubed and chilled.
  • 2 Tablespoons of Shortening, chilled.
  • 1 teaspoon of Sugar.
  • 1/4 teaspoon of Salt.
  • 3-5 Tablespoons of Ice Cold Water.

Instructions

    Makes ONE pie crust. Can be doubled if needed.
  1. Place a couple of cups of flour in a sifter and sift.
  2. Spoon flour back into sifter and sift again.
  3. Spoon sifted flour into measuring cup to overflowing.
  4. Run the back of a knife across the cup to equal one level cup of flour.
  5. Place flour in a mixing bowl.
  6. Add Salt.
  7. Add Sugar.
  8. Whisk dry ingredients together lightly and set aside.
  9. Slice chilled butter into cubes and place in flour.
  10. Toss the butter to coat each piece.
  11. Add the cold shortening.
  12. Using a pastry cutter, cut butter and shortening into the flour until it's about the size of peas.
  13. Gradually add Ice Water one Tablespoon at a time, stirring the dough mixture. Add water as needed just until the dough will stick together when pressed between the fingers.
  14. Press dough together, shape into a ball and wrap with plastic wrap.
  15. Refrigerate dough for at least one hour or overnight if possible.
  16. Unwrap dough and place on lightly floured countertop or board.
  17. Rub some flour on the rolling pin and roll dough out, beginning at the center and turning as needed until it makes a large enough circle to fill your pie pan.
  18. Place the dough in pie pan and gently press dough into the dish.
  19. Trim off any overlapping dough pieces from around the rim.
  20. Use a fork to make some indentations into the rim of the dough all around the dish.
  21. Refrigerate the dough again for about 30 minutes.
  22. Add filling and bake as directed depending on your recipe.
  23. Enjoy!!!

Notes

This recipe makes ONE pie crust. If you need two, you can easily double the recipe but do NOT double the water amount. Instead, continue to work the water in as described in the recipe until you have reached the right tackiness with the dough to where it will just begin to stick together.

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Your Comments:  Have you always been afraid to make your own pie crusts?  Tried it but it just didn’t work out?  Well, I do hope you’ll follow our recipe and photo illustrations and give it another go.  I think you’ll be surprised at how easy it can be to make a homemade pie crust…from scratch.  Then, come back and let us know how it turned out.  I’d love to hear some of your pie baking stories.  Feel free to leave us your thoughts and comments in the section below.  It’s actually the only way I have of knowing that you’ve tried one of my recipes or that you just stopped by.  It will only take a minute or two and I’d greatly appreciate hearing from you.  All comments are totally moderated by me.  That means, I read each and every one of them before they are approved for posting here on Taste of Southern.  Your comments will not appear automatically so it could take up to 24 hours before it shows up.  And, be sure to check back because I reply to as many of your comments as I possibly can.  Again, thanks for stopping by.  I hope you’ll tell your friends about Taste of Southern and help us spread the word about our home here on the Internet.

Be Blessed!!!
Steve

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Category: Desserts

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Award Winning Food Preservationist, Fisherman, Online Contributor to Our State Magazine Newsletter.

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  1. Southern Pecan Pie Recipe Our State Magazine | February 4, 2014
  1. Dave says:

    Brother Steve,
    I just gave your pie crust recipe a try. But I’m a little confused about the amount of flour to use. The ingredient list calls for “1 1/2 cups;” the printable instructions say: “… knife across the cup to equal ONE level cup of flour;” and the instructions above say: “Add all the flour needed into a mixing bowl.” Can you clarify which one is right, or does it matter?
    Thank you, Dave.

    • Steve Gordon says:

      Hi Dave, Thank you for your question. I’m sorry I caused the confusion for you, so let’s see if I can straighten this out.

      What I was trying to say, is that you always measure flour in “level” cup measurements. I was trying to point that out by just showing myself doing that with the one full cup as opposed to showing the full cup then the half cup. You will need to use 1 1/2 cups of flour to make the dough. Make sense? I hope so.

      Again, I apologize for the confusion, perhaps I should have worded it differently. I’m glad you asked the question though, as it might have confused someone else.

      I’m thankful you found Taste of Southern, and that you’re trying our Pie Crust recipe. I hope it turned out well for you. I appreciate your comments and your visit, and do hope you’ll stop by for another visit with us… real soon. Be Blessed!!! -Steve

  2. pat says:

    To all you pie-makers….I’m an Italian from central NY…I have a super simple pie crust recipe from my mother….3 ingredients….2/3 c shortening 1/3 c boiling water 2 cups flour….Boil water add to shortening ..whip with fork until creamy then add flour….That’s it….makes 2 pie shells..super easy and super good…………

    • Steve Gordon says:

      Hi Pat, I’m looking forward to trying out your pie crust recipe real soon. It certainly is a switch on having all the ingredients really cold, that so many other recipes require. It should be interesting, and I’ll let you know how it turns out once I get the chance to make it.

      Thank you for sharing and thank you for your visit, I do hope you’ll visit with us often. Be Blessed!!! -Steve

  3. Nicole says:

    I have never made a pie from scratch so this looks like a great way to learn. Once I have the crust, I’ll just need something to put in it. Out of curiosity, do you have a recipe for Pecan pie? Of all the pies there are, pecan is my absolute favorite. I would love to see a recipe for it here. *Hint hint*

    :)

    • Steve Gordon says:

      Hi Nicole, I hope you’ll be making your own pie crust real soon. You can fill it with all types of things. I’ve been asked to do a Pecan Pie recipe for the Our State Magazine website. I’m doing it for February, but it will be about 35 days later, before I can post it here on Taste of Southern. It’s coming though. Thank you for your suggestion and I do hope you’ll stop by for another visit with us… real soon. Be Blessed!!! -Steve

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