The Benefits Of The Food Processor Method
So that’s all very interesting, but the real question is: Why should you care? How does this make forming pie dough any easier?
It does so in two ways. First off, this method completely removes the variability of a traditional pie dough recipe. By weighing out a given amount of flour and fat, combining them together until they form a near homogeneous paste, and then adding the remaining dry flour to that paste, you are very strictly defining exactly how much flour is used for gluten formation and how much ends up coated with fat. No more trying to visually judge whether the fat is properly cut into the flour. No more adding ice water a drop at a time until a dough is formed. The dough comes out the same, every single time.
Serious Eats / Vicky Wasik
The other key advantage is that your dough becomes much more pliable. The flour-fat paste formed at the beginning is much softer and more malleable than pure butter, which means that your final dough rolls out smoothly and easily with little-to-no risk of cracking like a traditional pie crust, even without the vodka.
How To Make This Pie Crust Recipe
Hopefully these step-by-step photos will show you just how easy homemade pie crust really is. Don’t be intimidated!
Voilà! Can you believe it? Together, we just made a tender, flaky, buttery, homemade pie crust! That wasn’t so bad now, was it?
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How To Make Homemade Pie Crust
When you start making an all butter pie crust, you need to think ahead a little. Everything needs to be COLD. Cold butter and ice water are the keys to a successful crust. Before you start, dice your butter and then put it back in the refrigerator. Then fill a measuring cup with ice and water.
Add your flour and salt to your food processor.
Now, if you dont have a food processor, dont fret. You can do this by hand with a pastry cutter. Im just really, really lazy. If youre using a pastry cutter, just whisk the flour and salt first.
Add your butter. Its COLD, straight from the fridge. Dont touch it too much. Dont go answer the phone. Cold, straight from the fridge to the food processor!
Pulse a couple of times. If youre using a pastry cutter, now is the time to hope youre been working your arms. Put some muscle into it!
This is what it will look like:
Add your ICE water. Not the ice, just the cold water. Start with 2 tablespoons.
Pulse a few times, let it run a few seconds. I always add a third tablespoon of water at that point, always. But, depending on altitude and humidity and your kitchen and the star alignment, you might not need the thirdor you may need a fourth. Run the processor and your mixture should go from this:
If its not coming together add more water, but wait to see if it comes together. You do not want a wet dough. It takes a few seconds for it to turn into the ball.
Okay, so now you have a ball of all butter pie crust dough.
How To Avoid The Crust Slump
One of the casualties of blind baking an empty pie crust is sides that slump and slide into the middle of the pie tin so theres no sides left to be had.
Use beans in a bag for blind baking crusts. I discovered a new way to blind bake my pie crust that works like a charm. Fill an oven-safe cooking bag with 6 cups of dry beans, uncooked rice, or pie weights. Place the bagged beans in the semi-frozen, crust-lined pan then put directly into the oven. When finished, lift the bag of beans from the crust and save the beans in the bag for another baking day.
After seeing these tips from my friend Elise at Simply Recipes, I gave up trying to remember whether hot and fast, or low and slow was best for success. I went with her suggestion to blind bake the crust in a 350°F oven for a longer time, and it works like a charmand its totally simple to remember.
- For a pie that you will cook further, like a quiche, blind bake the crust at 350°F for 45-50 minutes.
- For pies that need no further baking, like fresh fruit or custard pies, blind bake the crust at 350°F for 60-70 minutes.
Freeze the pie crust for 30 minutes before baking. Baking a pie crust frozen solid helps the crimps hold shape and not melt in the hot oven.
Toward the end of baking, check in on the pie crust. If its browning too much, protect the edges from the heat with strips of foil tented gently over the edges, or use a pie shield.
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Why Butter Leaks Out Of Pie Crust
This slumping happens when too-warm butter leaks out of the pie dough while it is baking. And slumping can make an incredible mess of burned butter on the bottom of your oven!
In order to prevent this, youll want to do 2 things:
Can I Use Salted Butter To Make Pie Crust
I prefer to use unsalted butter and add a teaspoon of salt when making an all-butter pie crust.
While theoretically salted butter could work, your crust may end up turning out too salty because youre not in control of just how much salt is in those two sticks of butter. Salted butter can really vary in its saltiness from brand to brand.
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Does The Butter Need To Be Cold
Cold fats in your pie dough are a must! It helps the crust to be flaky, tender and so delicious when the bits of cold butter and shortening melt in the hot oven as the crust bakes. If butter and shortening are too warm in the crust before baking, it can result in a hard, greasy and even crumbly pie crust.
Why Is My Pie Crust Tough
There is one reason why your pie crust may be tough: Youve overworked your dough.
Flour has proteins in it called gluten, which gives the flour structure in recipes. When flour is mixed too much or overworked with your hands while kneading or rolling, it can result in a tough crust.
This is one of the reasons why bread recipes are left to proof. In addition to the yeast needing time to wake up and help the bread dough rise, the gluten proteins in the flour need time to relax after being tightened up when you kneaded the dough.
You know when try to roll out a pie dough and it just wont roll out, but keeps springing back into a smaller shape? This is why you need to let your pie dough rest in the fridge before rolling it out. The gluten in the flour needs some time to relax!
And so when making pie dough, you want to first, make sure that you dont over-mix or over-roll the dough and second, allow the dough at least 2 hours to rest in the fridge before rolling.
These 2 keys will prevent you from having a tough pie crust!
So go on! Make a few batches of this all butter really flakey pie dough recipe for your next pie or your upcoming holiday celebrations!
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Easy Pie Crust Recipe
This homemade pie crust recipe yields a flaky tender crust with rich buttery flavor. It has simple, natural ingredients and uses only butter . Also, learn how to form a fluted pie rim and blind bake or pre-bake pie crust.
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This pie dough recipe yields 2 single crusts or 1 double crust. Homemade pies are irresistibly delicious. Ive never been satisfied with a store-bought pie the same way. The taste and texture of an all-butter pie crust cant be beat and knowing what went into it will make you feel like Martha Stewart ). Watch the VIDEO tutorial below and you will be a pro in no time!
We included Amazon affiliate links below to our favorite tools for making pie dough!
Adding The Ice Water:
The amount of water may vary, possibly each time you make it. Sometimes Ive only needed 5 Tablespoons. Other times, Ive needed up to seven or eight. Too much is not good. Too little is not good. How will you know?
Do not pour all of the water into a puddle. It will be much harder to distribute and will likely over saturate one area of your mixture.
Once the moisture has been distributed, sprinkle another spoonful over the top of the mixture. Fluff, fluff, fluff with a fork, then repeat as needed.
You should need at least 4 Tablespoons of water, so you dont need to be too concerned until youve incorporated that 4th spoonful.
After that, look for the dough to start looking shaggy. I never really knew what shaggy meant until I experienced it. And for you, you get a photo.
Little bits of the mixture start clinging to each other in what sort of looks like scraggly little dumplings. If thats not what your dough looks like, proceed with another spoonful of water. Remember, you can always add more water, but you cant take it out.
If you think you are there, grab a handful of the mixture and squeeze it. When it holds together, you are ready. If it is still crumbly, add another spoonful of water. Fluff, fluff, fluff, then check again.
Once youve added enough water, gather your dough into a ball, turning it over and over to pick up drier areas along the way, pressing them into the ball.
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How To Blind Bake Pie Crust For Single Crust Pies
Blind baking a crust before fillingis essential for those loose pie fillings like quiches or pies that arent baked, such as fresh fruit pies or cream and pudding-like pies. Bling baking is simply pre-baking a single layer pie crust before filling it to ensure its flakey and cooked instead of soggy or underdone.
Tip: Pies can be blind baked up to 2 days in advance, and wrapped carefully and tightly with plastic wrap.
Double crust pies dont require blind baking since the crust will need to be filled and crimped with both bottom and top pie dough discs before going in the oven, and the filling acts the same as the pie weights or beans so the crust doesnt slump.
Blind Baking A Pie Crust:
Sometimes you will come across a recipe that needs a pre-baked pie crust, like my quiches. To do this we need to fill the pie with something. Either pie weights or you can use dried beans. Just make sure you set the beans aside and store for future blind baking, since you wont be able to cook and eat them after this. The weight is to help the pie crust hold its shape while baking.
To blind bake, preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Prepare the pie crust. Line with parchment paper, fill with weights or beans. Bake the pie crust for 20 minutes, then remove the parchment paper and the weights and bake for another 10 minutes. Then the pie crust will be baked and you can use for whatever recipe you are making.
Personally I do not poke holes in my pie crust when I do this because I usually use this method when I make quiche, and the runny filling goes right through those holes and makes a mess. I dont find that holes are necessary as long as the weight is in the pie crust for baking.
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How To Make This Easy Pie Crust