How to Make Perfect Pie Crust

How to Make Perfect Pie Crust

Thanksgiving is the holiday known for pies. Pumpkin pie. Pecan pie. Pecan bourbon pie. Chocolate pecan pie. Apple pie. Sweet potato pie. You get the picture. Unfortunately, pie crust vexes so many people that often pies are purchased, or baked using a premade pie crust. Well, since it’s only a couple of weeks until Thanksgiving, I want to make your dreams of homemade pie crust come true. I absolutely adore pies, mostly because of the crust, if I’m being honest. (Weird, since I really only love cupcakes for the frosting. Hmm, what does this mean? Are there food psychologists out there?) Most families have a standard recipe. My mom’s recipe, from my great aunt, uses all shortening as the fat (I believe the index card actually calls for “oleo”), some recipes use half shortening/half butter, and there are some that use all butter. I have tried all of the varieties, and I never really had a preference until I tried this crust (all butter) for my blueberry pie. Talk about love at first… taste? It’s by far my favorite version and my standby.

Below is a step-by-step tutorial guiding you through preparing the pie crust. The two keys to fabulous crust are to keep everything COLD, and to work FAST. I have included two versions: how to make the dough if you have a food processor (my favorite way), as well how to do it by hand (with a neat trick for the butter!). Now, get acquainted with the pie dough because you’ll need it for the pies that you’ll find here the rest of the week! How does pecan and a slightly non-traditional pumpkin sound?

(You will find the recipe with the ingredient quantities at the bottom of this post.)

Method A: Food Processor

Step 1: Cut the butter into small cubes and place in freezer for at least 15 minutes.

Step 2: Combine the flour and salt in the bowl of a food processor and briefly pulse to combine.

Pie Crust: Flour and salt in the food processor

Step 3: Add the butter to the flour and salt mixture in the food processor.

Step 4: Pulse approximately 10 times (1-second pulses) until the mixture resembles coarse, shaggy crumbs, with some larger pieces and smaller pieces.

Step 5: Sprinkle the ice water over the mixture and process for no more than 20-30 seconds, until the dough clumps up (you will also notice a change in the sound of the food processor). If the mixture appears too dry, sprinkle more water on a teaspoon at a time and pulse until the dough sticks when pinched together.

Important Note: I always find that it is better to err on the side of a little too much water than not enough. You can sprinkle the dough with flour if necessary when you roll it out, but if the dough is too dry to begin with it will crack and fall apart when you try to roll it and transfer it to the pie dish.

Step 6: Dump the dough out onto a clean surface, shape it into a disk, wrap it in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.

Method B: By Hand

Step 1: Freeze the butter (in block or stick form) for at least 30 minutes.

Step 2: In a medium-sized bowl whisk together the flour and salt.

Step 3: On the small holes of a box grater, quickly grate the butter.

Step 4: With your fingers, toss the butter together with the flour mixture until evenly coated.

Step 5: Sprinkle the water over the mixture and, using a rubber spatula, fold the mixture together. Press down on the dough with the spatula until the dough sticks together, again adding additional water as necessary.

Step 6: Dump the dough out onto a clean surface, shape it into a disk, wrap it in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.

All-Butter Pie Dough (Pâte Brisée)

Yield: Dough for a single-crust 9-inch pie (double the recipe for a double-crusted pie)

1¼ cups all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon salt
½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
2 tablespoons ice water, plus more if needed

Follow the directions above for assembling the pie crust either with a food processor or by hand. Be sure to refrigerate the dough for at least 1 hour (up to 2 days) prior to rolling out.

Proceed with the pie recipe you are using.

(Recipe adapted from Martha Stewart’s Baking Handbook)

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99 Responses to “How to Make Perfect Pie Crust”

  1. Ravenous Rowie on November 10, 2010 at 5:31 am

    Great step by step demo!!! I’m sure lots of people will benefit from this post this holiday season!

    Reply

    • Sasha @ Global Table Adventure on November 11th, 2010 at 1:56 pm

      I know, right? The pictures really bring the recipe to life (you know, the pictures tell a thousand words saying …) Of course, you can’t really go wrong adapting one of Martha’s recipes :) Nice work!

      Reply

  2. Tabitha @ From Single to Married on November 10, 2010 at 7:37 am

    Oh THANK YOU for this – I’m making Thanksgiving dinner this year and need some help with my pies (and pretty much everything else as it’s a first for me). :)

    Reply

  3. Katrina on November 10, 2010 at 8:23 am

    Thanks for this! I really appreciate you doing the by hand method as well :)

    Reply

  4. Tara on November 10, 2010 at 8:32 am

    What I’d love to see is a video of you forming the edges. I CAN’T do it. Ugh. My attempts are pathetic.

    Reply

    • Michelle on November 10th, 2010 at 2:20 pm

      Oooh, thank you for the suggestion Tara! I will work on that!

      Reply

  5. Eliana on November 10, 2010 at 8:35 am

    Awesome tutorial Michelle. I could not have said it better myself.

    Reply

  6. Layne on November 10, 2010 at 8:55 am

    You make it look so easy! I love to bake, but must admit that pie crust intimidates me. I am facing my fear this holiday season, though, because store-bought crust just isn’t the same!

    Reply

  7. Crustabakes on November 10, 2010 at 9:04 am

    The pics make it look as easy as pie! What a great tutorial!

    Reply

  8. Sarah on November 10, 2010 at 9:22 am

    This looks like a great tutorial! I’m really glad you showed how to do it by hand because I don’t have a food processor.

    Reply

  9. Val on November 10, 2010 at 9:24 am

    Another good pie crust trick: slowly add the lowest recommended volume of ice water. Then, to get the dough to stick together easily, add Tbsp by Tbsp of cold vodka (straight from the freezer), no greater than the volume of ice water. It all works out as malleable dough, but when you bake it the vodka cooks away, leaving a lovely flaky crust. Yay science!

    Reply

    • Michelle on November 10th, 2010 at 2:22 pm

      Hi Val, I have seen this vodka version in Cook’s Illustrated, but have never tried it. Glad to know it works, will have to give it a shot sometime and see if it makes a huge difference with my recipe.

      Reply

  10. Maria on November 10, 2010 at 9:25 am

    Thank you! My mother-in-law is always bragging about her perfect pie crust and it’s left me too intimidated to ever try it myself. But now I will, and it will be better than hers. Mwahahaha! :)

    Reply

    • Michelle on November 10th, 2010 at 2:23 pm

      Bwahaha! Love it. :)

      Reply

  11. Lisa on November 10, 2010 at 9:27 am

    This looks totally doable. I am inspired to make my own pie crust for the first time. The picture tutorial really helps!

    Reply

  12. Robyn on November 10, 2010 at 9:41 am

    i am a firm believer in all-butter pie dough! i’ve made this one before, and it also tastes great as a quiche crust.

    Reply

  13. Natalie on November 10, 2010 at 9:57 am

    How long can you keep frozen dough for and what are your tips for that?

    Reply

    • Michelle on November 10th, 2010 at 2:26 pm

      Hi Natalie, Wrap the dough tightly in plastic wrap, as you would for the refrigerator, and then place in a freezer bag (like ziploc). I would say freeze up to 2 months. I think you could probably do longer, but that’s my personal limit :)

      Reply

  14. the blissful baker on November 10, 2010 at 10:40 am

    great tips! i’m always trying to master the perfect pie crust – still need a bit more practice!

    Reply

  15. Maria on November 10, 2010 at 11:11 am

    I am SO glad you posted this. I am not a pie maker, but want to try. I am using your recipe for sure!

    Reply

  16. megan @ whatmegansmaking on November 10, 2010 at 11:31 am

    Great tutorials! I made an all butter pie crust for the first time this past summer (for blueberry pie as well!) and loved it. But then…last weekend I made a pie crust for quiche and used lard (gross I know). And it was incredible. So flakey! Seriously the best crust I’ve ever had. So now…what do I use for my apple pie this year?

    Reply

    • Michelle on November 10th, 2010 at 2:28 pm

      I don’t hate on lard :) There is an old-school Italian pastry called ‘sfogliatelle’ that I keep trying to master (haven’t yet), but you layer super thin sheets of pastry dough brushed with lard. It definitely makes things SUPER flaky!

      Reply

  17. Karen G on November 10, 2010 at 11:31 am

    I’ve tried and TRIED to make pie crust before!! I’ve been using the box kind for a long time now, but I will try one more time. I’m going to try your recipe this weekend.

    Reply

    • Michelle on November 10th, 2010 at 2:29 pm

      Glad you’re giving it another go! Let me know how it goes!

      Reply

  18. Kelly on November 10, 2010 at 11:55 am

    Thank you for this! But my big problem is rolling it out. I’m intimidated by pie crust, so I usually just buy the rolled up, ready-made kind (shhh, don’t tell). I did make a from-scratch crust not too long ago that was SO STIFF and really difficult to roll out. Is that a hydration issue? The recipe (if memory serves) was very similar to this.

    Do you have any suggestions for rolling out the dough once it’s chilled?

    Reply

    • Michelle on November 10th, 2010 at 2:33 pm

      Hi Kelly, Yeah I definitely think that is a hydration issue. As I noted above, I always think it’s better to err on the side of a little more water than not enough. You can always sprinkle with flour if needed when you roll it out.

      As far as rolling it out, I do one roll, from the center out, then give it an 1/8 turn and keep going the whole way around. Use a light touch, keep turning, and sprinkle with flour if necessary.

      Thinking about doing a video tutorial for this and fluting edges!

      Reply

      • Kelly on November 10th, 2010 at 4:09 pm

        Thank you! I’ll be sure to give this one a whirl – and I’l LOVE to see a video tutorial on fluting!

        Reply

  19. Yesim on November 10, 2010 at 12:18 pm

    tx for the great tips..

    Reply

  20. Susan on November 10, 2010 at 12:19 pm

    SO many people will be helped by this – wonderful tutorial!

    Reply

  21. Tanya on November 10, 2010 at 12:21 pm

    Thank you for sharing your tips. I have a fear of making pie crusts but you make it look simple and not at all scary!

    Reply

  22. Christine on November 10, 2010 at 12:37 pm

    When I make piecrust, regardless of the recipe, my crimp will never hold. It’s like it falls over and melts into the rest of the pie. Advice?

    Reply

    • Michelle on November 10th, 2010 at 2:38 pm

      Hmm, sounds like the dough is way too soft. I assume it’s firm enough to at least roll out and crimp though, right? I would try this: once you’re all done and you have the crimp finished, put the pie plate into the freezer for at least 15 minutes before baking. That may help firm it up and keep it set.

      Reply

  23. Anne on November 10, 2010 at 1:03 pm

    Thank you for the instructions and photos. I’m going to try this recipe when I make my Thanksgiving pie. I normally use the frozen shells and have tried the refrigerated kind too, but nothing beats the real thing!

    Reply

  24. eatgreek.net on November 10, 2010 at 1:04 pm

    it sound really perfect! :D

    Reply

  25. Lauren at KeepItSweet on November 10, 2010 at 1:27 pm

    great step-by-step photos! i’ll have to save this page for the next time i attempt to make a crust!

    Reply

  26. Jennifer@Jane Deere on November 10, 2010 at 1:30 pm

    Great post! I love the food processor method; it just comes out right every time. I love the step-by-step pictures too!

    Reply

  27. Rachel on November 10, 2010 at 1:52 pm

    thank you for the hand version! I’m a college student without a food processor and this helps a lot! :)

    Reply

  28. Rosie on November 10, 2010 at 2:14 pm

    Thanks for the tips!! But I have always wondered — how do you grate butter without melting it?!?!

    Reply

    • Michelle on November 10th, 2010 at 2:42 pm

      You’re welcome! You have to freeze the butter first so it’s nice and hard. Then, you just grate really quickly!

      Reply

  29. Drick on November 10, 2010 at 2:54 pm

    great tutorial – cold butter or lard is the key and not overworking it, that always seems to be my problem… overworking…

    Reply

  30. Amanda @ bakingwithoutabox on November 10, 2010 at 3:06 pm

    Fabulous post! And makes me totally want a food processor. Lol.

    Reply

  31. Annie on November 10, 2010 at 3:07 pm

    Wow, I never would have thought of grating the butter. That is so much easier than cutting it up in small pieces! I always love your recipes! I have given you an award. Check it out. http://www.anniesdish.com/2010/11/whole-wheat-pumpkin-muffins.html

    Reply

  32. di on November 10, 2010 at 3:17 pm

    Wow, thanks so so much for sharing your tips on making pie crust! I always make mine from scratch and it’s okay….but I know it could be better. I never thought about grating the butter! I will be trying that when I make my pumpkin pies this Thanksgiving, for sure!

    Reply

  33. Tracy on November 10, 2010 at 3:26 pm

    Your pie crust does look perfect! Great tips!

    Reply

  34. Liz on November 10, 2010 at 4:00 pm

    I don’t have a food processor, so I’m REALLY glad you shared method B with us. Thanks!

    Reply

  35. Nancy on November 10, 2010 at 4:01 pm

    Thanks for the tutorial. I’m good up to the part where i have to get the flute going on. For some reason one part of my crust always seems to shrink in during baking. I hope you do post the video tutorial on how to do it.

    Reply

  36. Sandra on November 10, 2010 at 5:35 pm

    Great lesson Lindsey, thank you. By the way where did you get the ultra cool looking whisk?

    Reply

    • Michelle on November 10th, 2010 at 9:49 pm

      Sandra, the whisk is from Pampered Chef!

      Reply

  37. Monica on November 10, 2010 at 5:39 pm

    Thanks for the post! I have always used an old Betty Crocker standby for my crusts, with all shortening. I’ve been reading other recipes with all butter or half of each, but haven’t tried one yet. I may give this one a try this year!

    Reply

  38. Macy on November 10, 2010 at 6:16 pm

    I had to chuckle when I saw this post, because yesterday I made Martha’s pate brisee too, (it is also my fave), took photos, and blogged about it, I just didn’t get around to posting it yet! Tis the season for pie, and Martha’s crust recipe really is the best!

    Reply

  39. Mackenzie @ The Caramel Cookie on November 10, 2010 at 6:20 pm

    I have tried this recipe before and loved it! I was really suprised at how easy it was. I always thought pie dough would be so difficult to make!

    Reply

  40. Jason Phelps on November 10, 2010 at 6:21 pm

    I add sugar to mine and use a pastry blender so each one comes out just a little different. Great how to on something that is classically not so easy!

    Jason

    Reply

  41. Vicki@ Wilde in the Kitchen on November 10, 2010 at 8:36 pm

    Thanks so much for the pictures and directions! Pie crusts have always been tricky for me. Maybe with my new food processor it will be easier!

    Reply

  42. Sharlene on November 10, 2010 at 9:39 pm

    That whisk is crazy. I love it! Thank you so much for the tutorial! I’m definitely going to try making pie crust by hand now. Grating the butter is such a great idea!

    Reply

  43. Nick (Macheesmo) on November 10, 2010 at 11:21 pm

    Awesome. Grate tutorial. (HA.)

    Reply

  44. Becky on November 11, 2010 at 7:45 am

    Thanks Michelle,

    I, too have been intimidated by pie crust, but your step by step, tutorial takes the fear out of pie crust. I’ll let you know how it comes out:)

    Reply

  45. Marianne @ Meal Mixer on November 11, 2010 at 8:53 am

    Loved seeing your pics of how the dough is supposed to look. I too have had moderate success with the vodka crust (defrosting some right now to test for blind baking), and am an utter failure with just about any other type. A demo on edging would be awesome!

    Reply

  46. Susan @ SGCC on November 11, 2010 at 9:31 am

    Great tutorial! Thank you for showing us how to make this crust both ways. I’m fickle. Sometimes I like to use the processor and sometimes I feel like doing it by hand.

    Reply

  47. the urban baker on November 11, 2010 at 9:56 am

    I too, have finally perfect pie crusts. I love this post! It is pie season and this is going to help a lot of people!!

    Reply

  48. LB on November 11, 2010 at 9:57 am

    Do you have a recipe for a 9.5 inch pie plate? That is how big mine is, but all recipes say for a 9 inch. :\ I tried once with a 9 inch recipe and failed spectacularly!

    Reply

    • Michelle on November 14th, 2010 at 8:32 pm

      Hi LB, One of my pie plates is an older 9.5″ Pyrex. I always just roll it out a little larger and never have any problems.

      Reply

  49. katie on November 11, 2010 at 11:21 am

    thank you for this! my most recent post was about how much i suck at pie crust. i think my problem is the water–but i will definitely give your method a try.

    Reply

  50. penandra on November 11, 2010 at 11:42 am

    I am an experienced cook and baker and am not intimidated by much in the kitchen. But when I opened your blog yesterday, I just went on to the next blog in my bookmarks. I do not do pie dough. My Mom taught me how to make pie dough when I was a kid and I did okay as a kid, but I don’t know if as an adult I think about the recipe too much or I’m rushed or what. I do not make pie dough. I love pie crust, but I do not make pie dough.

    Okay. There you have it. Then today I open your blog and you have an adaption of the America’s Test Kitchen’s pumpkin pie filling. I watched the segment when they did it last year or the year before, I’ve watched it on their web page. It sounds delicious, I would love to try it, but I do not make pie dough. (I’ve even considered just putting it in a greased pie plate without the crust, but I love pie crust (just not mine).

    However (I reasoned), I’ve never been disappointed with anything I’ve tried from te BrownEyedBaker, so I went to your pie dough recipe. I read it through. I can do that. I can cut butter up and slide it into the freezer for 15 minutes. I can do this. Thanks for the recipes . . . it’s on my list for this weekend!

    Reply

  51. Candace on November 11, 2010 at 3:09 pm

    I LOVE YOU FOR THIS!!! Thanks for the “by hand” instructions too. I’ll be using this with your recipe for the Dutch Apple Pie

    Reply

  52. Marly on November 11, 2010 at 5:13 pm

    What a great tutorial! Thanks so much and also, congrats for making the Food News Journal’s Top Blogs!!!

    Reply

  53. The Pie Guy on November 11, 2010 at 8:15 pm

    First, I want to say I love anyone you makes or attempts to make pies. I bake one to two pies every week.

    I find that a little of sugar can greatly enhance the flavor of the dough. Sugar does a number of things in baked goods. It inhibits the development of gluten making a more tender crust. For your recipe above add two teaspoons of fine white sugar.

    Also not all all-purpose flours are created equal. For a tender crust pick a low protein flour. Pastry flour with a protein content of about 8 to 10% is ideal for pie crust.

    All purpose flour works fine for most pies. If you find the brand you use makes a tough pie crust substitute some of the flour with cake flour.

    If you are really serious about pie, visit http://www.everythingpies.com .

    Most people use Libbys canned pumpkin for their pies. I discovered a danger with this company that concerned me. If you know what happened in 2009 then you know what my concerns are.

    Happy Baking,
    The Pie Guy

    Reply

  54. Serene on November 11, 2010 at 10:39 pm

    What a wonderful post! It’s going to be one I refer to often. And oh, goodness, that sounds so like some spam I get that I feel like laughing at myself.

    Anyway, I’m going to make a gluten-free pie for this Thanksgiving, but your method is approximately how I usually make pie crust, so I’m planning to just send people over here when I want to tell them how to do it. :-)

    Reply

  55. Peggy on November 12, 2010 at 9:47 am

    I love making my own pie crusts! It’s so well worth it, and I agree… the food processor method is my favorite! The crust I use is very similar to yours and I love it!

    Reply

  56. Leah on November 12, 2010 at 12:06 pm

    Thank you for the tutorial. I am going to try this soon. I gave up on making pie crusts a while back and we just use the frozen ones. I would love to make one from scratch!

    And, I would love the tutorial on rolling out and fluting the edges. The few that I did make (before I gave up on them) were ugly things.

    You said:
    I absolutely adore pies, mostly because of the crust, if I’m being honest. (Weird, since I really only love cupcakes for the frosting. Hmm, what does this mean? Are there food psychologists out there?)

    I think it means you need to come up with some sort of pie-crust filled with frosting thing. :)

    Reply

    • Michelle on November 14th, 2010 at 8:34 pm

      Frosting-filled pie crust? Is that heaven? I must brainstorm! Thank you for the idea :)

      Reply

      • Sarah on November 15th, 2010 at 7:56 pm

        Yes, please!! :)

        Reply

  57. Diane on November 12, 2010 at 2:38 pm

    I love homemade pie crust too…and the storebought ones (on storebought pies) are so disgusting, I’m not surprised that many people leave them behind on the plate. I’ve been horrified at times when I make a homemade pie with a delicious homemade crust, and people don’t eat the crust because they’ve been conditioned to think it’s gross! If appropriate, I either encourage them to please try it, or ask if I can have it myself. =) I’m totally with you on the piecrust and frosting thing.

    Since I had a traditional mom to teach me everything I could ever want to know in the kitchen, piecrusts were just another chapter–a fun little challenge but not frustrating. Your photos and instructions are great for those who don’t have my mom around! You might know this already, but the one thing my mom learned late in life, which she thought the greatest trick ever, is to roll out your dough between pieces of Saran Wrap (no flour necessary), which enables you to transfer the crust to the pie plate without any anxiety. (Previously we would fold it in half, and half again, lift to the plate, then unfold it…but if you have a nice tender crust, that’s still a bit risky.)

    My mom and my grandma (who made piecrusts so perfect I can’t even describe them) would both say that lard is best, and I was pleased to discover recently that frozen Ritz crusts are still made with lard. I’ve used them for quiches and quite like them. Vegetable shortening will kill you, by the way–lard won’t. ;-) (Try searching for “lard” at the Weston A. Price Foundation website, if you’ve never heard that point of view.) However, of course butter is delicious, just not *quite* as flaky/tender as lard…but I’ve never done a side-by-side test and I would expect either to be wonderful! I’ll try your recipe when I get inspired soon…

    Reply

    • The Pie Guy on November 12th, 2010 at 7:09 pm

      Hi Diane,
      I am the Pie Guy, and I can answer your question about lard over a butter pie crust. I have made both side-by-side. I even rendered my own leaf lard, the best stuff for pastry goods.

      Many are misinformed when they say lard makes the best pie crust as you say flaky and tender. I think they get away with this belief because few had a lard crust pie. So no one could debate it until the Pie Guy.

      Some think lard is bad for you, but as you noted in your comment, shortening is the killer not lard.

      First I should say that a lard pie crust is just another excellent pie crust to try but NOT better than a butter pie crust. Let me explain the differences and then show the uses of the two pie crusts.

      Let me illustrate why a pie crust can’t be the best in flakiness or tenderness at the same time. Imagine the most flakiest being a cracker. Also imagine the most tender being cake. If you try combining these attributes you will not get the best. Have you heard of a flaky cake or a tender cracker? Now that’s ridiculous. So a lard pie crust cannot be both.

      Butter is not 100% fat; it contains some water. Lard is 100% fat; it has no water. Also butter has a lower temperature burning point than lard. Also cold butter is harder than cold lard.

      Rule #1 – A butter pie crust will brown faster than a lard crust when baking in an oven.

      Also since cold butter was hard when you incorporated with flour, it left larger pieces. When the butter pie crust starts to cook the water trapped in the butter turns to steam. This force causes the dough to have larger flakes and to separate the layers of dough as the trapped butter melts. Cold lard, on the other hand is softer than butter and can integrate with the flour easily. This will shorten the gluten fibers. The flakes will be smaller since the pieces of fat left in the dough were smaller.

      Rule #2- A butter crust is flakier than a lard crust and a lard crust is more tender than a butter crust.

      Taste is a personal preference. Butter gives your pie crust more of a French pastry taste and sweet smell. Lard gives your pie a more neutral and diner taste.

      Lard crust is good for savory pies since the flavor elevates the taste and a more tender crust is suited better in holding in the juices.

      The Pie Guy prefers butter pie crust, since I bake mostly fruit pies and I like the golden flaky crust. I do not use veg shortening.

      The Pie Guy.

      Reply

      • JenJen on November 14th, 2010 at 1:46 pm

        ……..ok so what is the science behind a combo (thirds) of butter, lard, AND Crisco in pie crust?? I tried it, had some difficulty with dough being fragile; but, talk about good! Very delicate! Melted in mouth:)

        Reply

      • Diane on November 15th, 2010 at 9:59 pm

        Thanks, Pie Guy! I’m honored that you replied to my comment, and what a wealth of followup details you gave us. Good points about flaky vs. tender, and interesting to know the science behind it. My mom was tickled to learn years ago (from an Adele Davis book) what makes a piecrust flaky…the pockets left behind by quickly melting fat, which is why it must start as cold little globules, not be fully incorporated with the flour. Of course you described that, plus more (steam, I didn’t know about).

        If I had to describe my grandmother’s perfect pie (which I watched her make), I would say it leaned more to flaky than tender (mealy) and I don’t recall what fat she used, but I do remember the ice water, light mixing, and deft handling. She also didn’t use a recipe.

        Anyway, thanks again! The other day when I posted, your comment caught my eye and I went to your site, where I got lost for quite a while…reading your state fair story (ha!) and marveling at your dedication to pies and pastries. Your recipes sound great, so someday…again, when I get inspired…I’ll check back. I’m especially looking forward to seeing the “World’s Best Blueberry Pie,” not for myself but for a friend who loves blueberry pie. The Raspberry Apple Pie sounds fabulous to me, though! I love anything raspberry.

        Reply

  58. Marisa on November 12, 2010 at 10:41 pm

    Hi Michelle,

    I had no problems getting a flaky, all-butter pie crust that tasted delicious, but I seem to be having a problem with shrinkage…HA! Any recommendations for a pie crust that is actually stays the size of the plate?

    Thanks!

    Reply

    • Michelle on November 14th, 2010 at 8:36 pm

      Hi Marisa, Ha, shrinkage! Love that Seinfeld episode ;-) Anyway, back to pie… the key to keeping the crust the right size/shape is to make sure it is weighted down well when you par-bake it prior to filling. You can buy ceramic pie weights or use dried beans, but make sure you fill up the foil or parchment-lined shell the whole way to the rim.

      Reply

  59. Pie Guy on November 13, 2010 at 2:41 am

    Hi Marisa ,
    A few things could be going on.
    1. Over rolling the dough which activates the gluten. Try rolling from the center to the edges. Lift up the pin and repeat until desired thickness.
    2. Your dough is too warm. Chill it and keep cold while rolling.
    3. Relax the dough. After placing your dough into the pie pan chill it for an hour or freeze. Put this directly into a 400+ deg oven and reduce the heat to desired temp.

    Hope this helps,
    The Pie Guy
    http://www.everythingpies.com

    Reply

  60. jami on November 16, 2010 at 12:47 am

    Like penandra, I used to make good pie crust, and recently, I have been overthinking it. I’m eager to try your recipe. I have also been experiencing shrinkage, which is so frustrating when the unbaked crust is so pretty.

    I am, however, very good at rolling out pie crust. One tip is to roll the piecrust between two wide pieces of plastic wrap. Not totally environmentally-friendly, but it does help keep it from sticking, you can easily roll it very thin, using less flour, and you can transport it to the pie dish without it sticking to your board or rolling mat.

    Reply

  61. Pie Scientista on November 17, 2010 at 1:37 pm

    I am glad you posted a recipe with 100% butter. I make a lot of pie, and I am absolutely opposed to shortening. It has no flavor! And with a little practice, it is no harder to work with all butter.

    Reply

  62. Wendy on November 25, 2010 at 3:10 pm

    I really thought I was going to have good pie crusts this year. I tried this recipe with butter (instead of the usual Crisco I’ve always used). The only difference is I added a bit of sugar to the crust. I made 2 – one Pecan and one Buttermilk. Both crusts turned out a complete rubbery mess. (And no, I barely worked the dough) There were plenty of “pockets” of what should have been flakiness…. but it was all rubber. Has this happened to anyone else when using butter? Any idea what could have happened or how to fix it? (Also, I made them ahead of time, froze them, then pulled them out to make the pies last night – they were frozen approx 2-3 days). Any advice from anyone would be much appreciated!

    Reply

    • Michelle on November 29th, 2010 at 7:38 pm

      Hi Wendy, I’m so sorry to hear that the crust didn’t turn out for you. A rubbery pie crust is usually attributed to too much water. Also, how did you thaw the crust? Ideally you’d want to take it out of the freezer and thaw in the refrigerator then, when thawed, let it sit at room temperature about 10 minutes so that you can roll it out easily.

      Reply

  63. Allison on December 8, 2010 at 1:18 am

    This is my favorite article about pie crusts, testing how different types of fat affect the final product: http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9B01E6DC173EF936A25752C1A9609C8B63&scp=227&sq=melissa+clark&st=nyt
    (New York Times, “Heaven in a Pie Pan” by Melissa Clark November 15, 2006)

    Reply

  64. Jen @ How To: Simplify on December 10, 2010 at 12:15 pm

    This is such a helpful post! I love the step-by-step photos!

    Reply

  65. Jessie on December 11, 2010 at 1:27 pm

    Great recipes, I’ve always found pie crust daunting, but I’ll give one (or both!) of these a try.

    Reply

  66. lauramich on January 20, 2011 at 9:22 pm

    I just made this crust for my first-ever from-scratch pie crust, for my husband’s birthday. It came out perfectly. Thank you, once again, for a dead-on recipe!

    (The pie was pecan, using the recipe off the Karo syrup bottle—nothing fancy, but it’s tasty and his favorite.)

    Reply

  67. Babycakes! on March 8, 2011 at 11:10 pm

    Oh my goodness…i just made this pie crust dough and its sooooooo delicious…havent baked it yet but the raw dough already taste sooo flaky and buttery….u must try this!! Thanks soooo much Michelle….

    All my love….all the way from the Caribbean…

    Reply

  68. Karissa on April 17, 2011 at 4:25 pm

    Wow, I never knew you could just grate the butter like that–what a genius idea. Must try this. I adore pecan pie, but have never made one myself. Yours looks incredible…and I did just buy pecans for this reason. Can’t wait. :)

    Reply

  69. Tashia on June 17, 2011 at 11:25 am

    BEB….how long would you blind bake this for? I’m tempted by the Chocolate Burbon Walnut Pie this weekend (let’s be honest every single one of your recipes tempts me) and although my grandma’s pie crust is great it never quite works…

    Thanks!!

    Reply

    • Michelle on June 17th, 2011 at 11:31 am

      Hi Tashia, I usually do 15 minutes covered with foil and with pie weights, then remove the foil and do 5 to 10 more minutes until just light golden brown.

      Reply

      • Tashia on June 17th, 2011 at 11:51 am

        Thanks darlin! :)

        Reply

  70. MamaToi on October 5, 2011 at 6:20 pm

    great recipe!!!!!! the only thing I did different is added ice cold 7-UP instead of water. makes a great tasting, flaky crust…… one year I just wanted to try something different and have continued to ever since

    Reply

  71. Helen on November 1, 2011 at 11:06 am

    Ive never thought of using my food processer for pastry! I must try that! Thanks for the great photos as well! :D

    Reply

  72. Kammie on May 29, 2013 at 4:30 pm

    I just made this crust and it was EASY! Could not believe how delicious it is. I’ve always used the ones from the refrigerator case at the grocery store because I was intimidated to make my own. Those already made crusts can get expensive though. Anyway, this is so delicious and easy it will now be my go to pie crust recipe. Thanks!

    Reply

  73. Olivia on October 2, 2013 at 3:31 pm

    I used this pie crust recipe for an apple pie and it was amazing! The crust was so flakey. I just need to figure out how to store the pie to keep the crust flakey. I put it in the fridge after people were done eating and the next day the crust was not as nice texturally (it still tasted amazing though). Any advice?

    Reply

    • Michelle on October 3rd, 2013 at 2:59 pm

      Hi Olivia, I’m not sure what type of pie you made, but I usually store my leftover pies at room temperature. Putting it in the refrigerator can definitely change the texture of the pie crust.

      Reply

  74. Mary on November 7, 2013 at 8:20 pm

    Absolutely awesome! I’ve always had trouble making pie crusts and always had to resort to store-bought crusts. But this recipe and method is perfect. Using a food processor? Genius! I will never buy another pie crust again.

    Reply

  75. Charlotte on November 24, 2013 at 11:31 am

    I feel so much better knowing that I am not the only one who has trouble making pie crust. I bake constantly but I can never make pie crust. I usually buy the rolled up ones in the dairy case but today I am going to try to make my own. I have read through everyones comments and didn’t find this question, how long do you bake and at what temp, a prebaked pie crust? I make a lot of pudding pies.
    Thank you so very very much for this posting. (And I am sure my family thanks you also.)

    Reply

    • Michelle on November 24th, 2013 at 6:24 pm

      Hi Charlotte, For a completely pre-baked pie shell for pudding pies, I do this… Make the dough, line your pie plate and crimp the edges. Then, place in the freezer for 1 hour. Heat oven to 375 degrees F and use the center rack. Remove the pie plate from the freezer and poke holes all over the bottom with a fork. Cover the bottom and sides of the pie plate with aluminum foil, then fill with pie weights or dried beans. Bake for 15 to 17 minutes, or until the dough looks pale, but dried out. Carefully remove the foil and weights and return the pie plate to the oven for another 15 minutes or so, until golden brown.

      Reply

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