Pie Crust

This past weekend I made two pies: Strawberry cream cheese pie and Apple pie. The best place to start with any pie is with a fabulous pie crust, such as the one that my mother is known for. She and my grandmother are always comparing pie crust recipes, tweaking them, and making wonderfully flaky, buttery crusts. So here is their recipe with a few pointers to always remember. Sorry I don’t have more photos, but I’ll work on step-by-step pictures when I make a blueberry pie later this summer.

Ingredients (enough for a covered pie, halve the recipe if you’re making an open face pie):

3c flour

18T butter

1/2 t salt (if butter is unsalted)

1/4-1/2c cold water


1) The MOST IMPORTANT thing to remember when making pie crust is that everything must be COLD. Mummy can not emphasize that enough. The butter should be straight out of the refrigerator and the water ice cold.

2) Combine flour and salt (if using) in a large bowl

3) Cut the butter into small chunks and cut into the flour until it’s the consistency of oatmeal. I like to use my hands, pinching at the chunks of butter. Mummy says the warmth from your hands adds just the right amount of heat to the butter so the crust is easy to roll out. You can also combine the flour and butter in a food processor until the butter is the size of small peas. In either case, work quickly so the butter doesn’t get too soft, especially if you’re working in a warm kitchen.

4) Stir in 1/4 to 1/2 cup of cold water, just enough to bring the flour/butter all together. The exact amount really will vary every time you make pie crust. If the dough becomes very stick you’ve added too much and it would be troublesome to roll out. Keep going, but remember to add less next time, bit by bit.

5) Separate the dough in two. If it’s cold enough, you can roll it out right now. If the butter looks like it’s melting, pat each half into a large circle, wrap in saran warp, and put it in the refrigerator for 1 hour. The best way to roll it out is between pieces of saran wrap. There will be very little mess at the end, and no worry of crust sticking to the counter top. I usually put two on the counter, and use a third on top, moving it around to the areas of dough I’m rolling out.

6) Roll the crust is 1/8-1/4 inch (3mm) thick, fold it in half, peel away the saran wrap, and lift on to a pie or tart plate lining the fold up with the center, unfold and gently press the crust into all the corners, being careful not to stretch the crust.

7) Add your favorite filling, roll out the top crust and lay it on top. Press the layers together with a fork or make a fluted edge by pinching crust between your fingers (a picture will be better than words here). Poke a few air vents in the top crust and bake until golden brown (350 degrees for about 1 hour should be fine).

Photos by bhbryant.

Published in: on June 16, 2008 at 6:35 pm  Leave a Comment  
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