The Perfect Pie Crust Tutorial – With Pictures!

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Crust. In many cases the crust is the most difficult part of the pie. It requires a little know how. You can’t just pop it in the old blender. You have to treat it right.

One of the main things that kept me from making pies was my fear of Crust. The art of creating a perfect crust had eluded me for all of my life. My grandma seemed to be able to dip a cup in a bucket of flour, grab a handful of fat and a sprinkle of water and Bam! The perfect crust!

I tried that method. It didn’t work.

I tried following a strict list of ingredients.

Nope.

What worked was a combination of the two. The strict list of ingredients is a great place to start, understanding what just feels right is where you need to end. So let me tell you what things should feel like and how to get to that perfect point.

Ingredients for Double Crust: (you might as well always make a double crust, you can always freeze one!)

  • Flour: 2 1/4 Cups
  • Fat: 1 Cup (All butter, all shortening, or half and half – my favorite is half and half)
  • Water: 1/2 cup plus 2 T – use more by the sprinkle if necessary
  • Salt: 2 teaspoons
  • Sugar: 2 Tablespoons

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Here is the first key to good crust: Use your hands to mix. Do not use anything else. Just your hands.

Mix all the dry ingredients.

If you are using butter make sure it is cold, straight out of the fridge. Cut into 1/4 inch cubes. For shortening you can just break it up with your fingers once you are working the dough. My favorite crust is half butter half shortening, so that is what I am going to focus on in this post.

Put your fat into your flour mix.

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Mix with your fingers breaking up the shortening and smashing the butter chunks. Don’t touch it too much, you want the butter to stay cold. It should look something like this:

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Next pour in 1/2 cup of cold water. Using your fingers push the ingredients around, lifting and “folding” to push the moisture into the flour and fat mixture. Add water by the teaspoon mixing between each addition until it reaches a moist state but that probably still feels a little dry.

Like this:

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See how there are still quite a few little pieces that aren’t all incorporated? That’s ok, when you press it into balls it should stick. There shouldn’t be a lot of dry flour left, but little dry-ish pieces are fine. If a bunch of the little pieces aren’t sticking when you push it into balls then get your fingers wet and try again.

You want the dough to end up holding easily in a ball without being sticky. It should have a mat look to it. Press gently into two equal balls.

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Wrap in cling wrap and put them in the fridge for at least 3 hours or over night.

Rolling out the dough.

Clear a nice large flat surface and sprinkle with flour. Place your cold dough in the center and sprinkle some flour on top of your dough (so that the rolling-pin doesn’t stick to it)

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Press it into a flat round pancake with the heel of your hand.

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Lift the pancake and sprinkle more flour under it, when you pressed it flat it will probably have stuck to the surface. Begin rolling the dough. You don’t have to press down very hard, just roll the pin across it.

Roll once, turn dough a 1/4 turn.

Roll once, turn dough a 1/4 turn.

Roll once, turn dough a 1/4 turn.

This will keep it from sticking to your surface and ripping when you try to transfer it to your pie pan.

Continue this pattern until it is large enough to fill your pie pan and fall a bit over the sides.

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See those big yellow spots of butter? That’s great!

If you are rolling and get cracks at your edges that’s ok. Just smush them together with your fingers then keep rolling.

Crack:

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Fixed!

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Fold your crust in half and place in the pie pan. Unfold it and press lightly into the pan so that it fits just right. Cut the excess off the edges leaving about an inch hanging over the edge of the pan. Pinch or press decoratively.

If you are doing a top crust brush it with an egg wash (an egg white whisked with a Tablespoon of water) to get a beautiful browned color.

For pictures and instructions on making a lattice top crust see my Strawberry Rhubarb pie post! Or just lay the crust over the top of your pie, cut a few vents, and pinch into place.

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A delicious crust can take a pie from ok to amazing. I hope this post helps to do that for you!

 

 

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3 thoughts on “The Perfect Pie Crust Tutorial – With Pictures!

  1. Pingback: Strawberry Rhubarb Pie with a Lattice Top Crust | Friday: Pie Day

  2. Pingback: Chocolate Chess Pie – AKA Brownie Custard Pie! | Friday: Pie Day

  3. Pingback: Blackberry Pie | Friday: Pie Day

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