Making your own Perfect Pie Crust doesn’t have to be complicated or intimidating. Follow this simple recipe and find out how easy it is to make light, buttery and flaky pie crusts for all your holiday pies!
Perfect Pie Crust
Pie crust is one of those things that can terrify new bakers. I always left the pie making to my mom, whose buttery crust was something of an art, and why mess with perfection? But luckily, she taught us all how her secrets to her perfect pie crust. And here’s the truth: making flaky, light pie crust is really simple and does not have to make you nervous, once you know a couple of tricks.
What Ingredients Do I Need to Make the Perfect Pie Crust?
First of all, you probably already have all the ingredients for pie crusts in your pantry right now. Here’s what you need:
- Butter flavored shortening
That’s it! For real. This is the easiest and most delicious crust you will ever taste!
Why Use Shortening in the Perfect Pie Crust?
Shortening doesn’t melt as quickly as butter or other fats, so it’s easier to mix into the other ingredients and roll out. The longer the shortening keeps the water and flour separated, the more flakes will form. Magical, right? Shortening also allows the crust to hold its shape better during baking, so you (yes, even YOU!) can make those gorgeous, decorated pie crusts.
How to Make Pie Crust With Butter
Butter will give your crusts a rich, heavenly flavor with lots of light layers. The biggest trick to using butter is to make sure it stays as cold enough so it doesn’t melt and tear the dough, but warm enough that it isn’t too difficult to roll out. If you want that buttery flavor and light texture, you can use half shortening and half butter, or use Butter Flavored Crisco shortening.
How to Mix Pie Crust
The trick to getting that fluffy, light texture is how you mix the dough.
- First, combine the flour and salt together.
- Next, “cut” or crumble your shortening into the flour mixture. You can use a pastry blender or even your fingers, but make sure your shortening or butter is really cold.
- Work the fat into the flour until it’s nice and crumbly.
- After you add the water, DO NOT over mix. Handle the dough as little as possible. No kneading! You want it to just be able to hold together before rolling it out.
How to Roll Pie Crust
Once you have your dough mixed together, here’s how to get a nice and smooth pie crust:
- Flour your rolling surface and rolling pin well. It helps if the surface is nice and cold too.
- Mold your dough into a circle, again making sure the dough is as chilled as possible.
- Roll out the dough, rotating around until it becomes a smooth circle.
- Use your hands or a spatula to transfer the dough to your pie plate.
How to Crimp Pie Crust
This simple “pinching” method makes your crust look beautiful and holds all of that pie filling in place. Our lovely mom is demonstrating this method in the photo above. Isn’t that pretty? Check out this video to see just how easy it is.
How to Pre-Bake Pie Crust
Pre-baking, or blind baking is basically just baking the crust on its own without filling for a few minutes. You’ll use this method when you want to fill it with a no-bake filling. You’ll want to avoid throwing it in the oven as is though, because pockets of steam will make the pastry puff up. Poke holes in it with a fork, add pie weights, dry rice or beans on a sheet of tin foil inside the crust. If you are using pie weights, chill for about half an hour, then bake for about 10-12 minutes minutes. You’ll have perfectly shaped, perfectly flaky crusts in no time!
Can Pie Crust Be Frozen?
Yes! You can freeze it baked or not. To freeze an unbaked pie crust, wrap it up in tin foil and store up to three months in the freezer. There’s no need to thaw them out either. Simply put your filling in and bake as directed. Baked crusts can be frozen the same way. They’ll also keep in the freezer for a good three months.
Can This Pie Crust Recipe Be Used for Other Pastries?
Absolutely! There are so many possibilities with a good pie crust recipe. Here are just a few delicious ones to try:
- Peach Pie with Perfect Pie Crust
- Traditional Pumpkin Pie
- Brown Butter Pecan Pie
- Lemon Meringue Pie
- Coconut Cream Pie from Scratch
- Butterscotch Pie
- Easy Berry Pie
- Easy Turkey Pot Pie
- Pumpkin Pasties
- Homestyle Chicken Pot Pie
- Easy Phyllo Fruit Cups
How to Make the Perfect Pie Crust
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
- In a large bowl, combine flour and salt.
- Cut in shortening with pastry cutter or hands until crumbs form (see picture above for consistency).
- Slowly add 1/4 cup water and mix until just combined. Careful not to handle too much after adding the water. You want it to just be able to hold together. Do not knead or over mix. This is the secret to getting flaky pie crust!
- Roll out dough on a floured surface and place in pie pan, pressing down to form to the pan.
- Using a fork, poke holes all around the pie crust to keep from bubbling up.
- Bake on bottom shelf of the oven for 10-12 minutes (or 50-60 minutes for a two-crust pie).