Use Cold Fat In Pie Crust
Why the emphasis on temperature? Keeping your pie dough as cold as possible helps prevent the fat from melting. If the butter melts inside the dough before baking, you lose the flakiness. When the lumps of fat melt in the oven as the pie bakes, their steam helps to separate the crust into multiple flaky layers as explained above. Warm fats will lend a hard, crunchy, greasy crust instead of a nice tender flaky crust.
I keep some of my butter in the freezer and transfer it to the refrigerator a few hours before beginning the crust. This way it is part frozen and very, very cold. For shortening? Just keep it in the refrigerator.
How Do You Make Pie Dough In A Food Processor
- Add the dry ingredients to the bowl of your processor and pulse to combine.
- Cut the cold butter into small cubes then add to the dry mixture and pulse until you have pea-sized pieces.
- Drizzle with the ice water in a tablespoon at a time while pulsing until the mixture comes together. Youll know its ready when the dough rises and collapses together as you end a pulse. You can also squeeze a tablespoon or so of the dough in your hand, if its ready the clump will hold together.
- Transfer to pastry mat or plastic and knead together 2-3 times then flatten into a disk, cover in plastic and chill for at least 30 minutes.
How To Make Homemade Pie Crust
Okay, heres your first lesson: Homemade pies do not have to be perfect. Really. This is a hard lesson to learn because we want that perfectly crimped and beautifully burnished pie crust so badly! I completely understand. But if your pie crust rips in half while youre transferring it to the pan, its OK. Remind yourself that at the end of the day, you still have pie, and thats all that matters.
Next lesson: The more you make pies, the better youll be. Making pie crust is a lot like riding a bike it takes a lot of practice before you can pull it off every time. I was just as astounded as you the first time I pulled a pie out of the oven and saw that it hadnt shrunk, collapsed, burnt, or otherwise become disfigured. I dont want to jinx myself by saying that Im now a pie-making pro, but I really do feel that each pie Ive made has been better than the last.
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Easy Pie Dough Recipe
With just a few ingredients and in a few minutes, making your own homemade pie dough is so easy, youll wonder why you never did it before. The buttery, flakey and wonderful flavors you get with homemade pie dough with our easy pie dough recipe cant be beat. Once you make these fresh, its hard to go back to regular refrigerated dough that you buy in stores.
How To Make Flaky Pie Crust
I am very worried, friends. Worried that the fear of pie crusts may be keeping a great many of you from making your own pies at home. Is this true? Does this sound like you? Do debates over butter vs. lard or tender vs. flaky make you want to run and hide? Well, take a deep breath and grab your notebook today were going to go over how to make a pie from start to finish, one step at a time.
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Flaky And Tasty Every Time
Gabriel Bucataru/Stocksy United
The effort to make homemade pie crust pays off in a flakier and tastier result than anything you buy pre-made. Use this list of simple tips, from choosing the best ingredients to using the proper technique, to turn out a perfect pie crust every time.
The Myths Behind Flaky Pie Crust
On paper, classic pie dough is a mind-bogglingly simple recipe. Combine flour with a bit of salt and sugar, cut in some butter, lard, and/or shortening, then add just enough cold water to get it to come together into a disk. Roll it out and bake. That’s it.
The underlying difficulty in the technique comes during the first stage of cutting the butter into the flour. Unless you make pie dough day in and day out, it’s close to impossible to accurately cut butter into flour to the same degree on a consistent basis. Don’t cut it in quite enough, and you need to add extra water to absorb the excess dry flour, resulting in the over-formation of gluten, and a tough, leathery crust. On the other hand, cut it in just bit too much, and you end up with way too little dry flour. Rather than having well-structured flaky layers, you end up with a crust that crumbles into sandy pieces, like this:
J. Kenji López-Alt
That is the reason why you sometimes need to add a couple tablespoons of water and other times up to twice as much to get the dough to come togetherit’s got nothing to do with the relative humidity of the air, as many books will have you believe. Indeed, in the short time that it takes to make a pie crust, flour will absorb approximately 0.1% of its weight in water, even in the most humid of environments. That’s a small enough amount to effectively be zero.
J. Kenji López-Alt
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How To Make The Strawberry Filling
We really like to use fresh strawberries for this. Start by mashing about 2 cups of strawberries. Add some sugar, corn starch and extra flavors then cook until bubbly and thick. Thats your strawberry glaze.
Then, toss with more strawberries and add to the baked and cooled pie crust. Refrigerate for a few hours then top with whipped cream.
Recipe updated, originally posted May 2013. Since posting this in 2013, we have tweaked the recipe to be more clear and added a quick recipe video. Adam and Joanne
Tips For Making Gluten Free Pie Crusts:
- Roll the dough out on a lightly floured piece of parchment paper to prevent sticking.
- For a beautifully browned crust, brush the dough with egg wash before baking .
- Using a glass pie plate allows you to see the bottom of the crust, ensuring that it is nicely browned before removing the pie from the oven.
- If the top of the pie gets too dark before the filling is fulling cooked, tent it with aluminum foil.
I’ve included more tips in the recipe below for rolling out the dough and for making both single- and double-crust pies. Here’s to a season of fearless, delicious pie baking!
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More Easy Apple Recipes
Simple Apple Tart How to make a stunning apple tart with a buttery crust, thinly sliced apples, and toasted almonds.
Apple Pie Cupcakes A fun and easy apple pie cupcake recipe made with cinnamon roll dough, spiced apples and a crumble topping. How can it go wrong?
Dutch Baby Pancakes with Apples How to make the best tall, fluffy Dutch baby pancakes with tender apples. The perfect breakfast or dessert!
Easy Apple Crisp This apple crisp recipe with oats has sweet tender apples and a crisp and crunchy topping made with flour, oats, brown sugar, butter, and cinnamon.
Baked Cinnamon Apples These cinnamon baked apples are easy enough for tonight, but double as the perfect dessert for friends and family .
Creamy Apple Salad with Celery and Fennel We love this fresh and easy apple salad recipe made with crisp apples, celery, fennel, and an easy creamy dressing.
My Idea Of The Very Best Homemade Pie Crust
Ah the humble pie crust made with the most basic ingredients yet its always something that leaves people smitten.
Ive made countless pie crusts over the years and it wasnt until this past year that I finally felt I could make the best pie crust weve had.
Just how good were they? They tasted incredibly delicious bare without the need of a filling. Many of them we were breaking off generously sized, super flaky pieces before they had a chance to be filled.
My mom finally gave me the this is better than mom and grandma made approval so I knew Id finally gotten in right.
I hope you love it as much as we do in all its glorious, golden brown, tender, buttery deliciousness!
It is one of those things that takes some practice but to get a great head start Ive listed a step-by-step photo guide and have shared many tips for success so you can have a picture perfect pie crust youll be proud of this holiday season!
There are also directions included for making the pie dough in the food processor as well if youre interested .
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Using Sweet Or Tart Cherries
As far as the cherries go, we like to use fresh cherries, but if you need to, use thawed frozen or canned/jarred cherries. . Both sweet and tart cherries will work well in this pie. We usually use sweet because fresh tart cherries are almost impossible to find where we live. No matter which you use, be sure to check for how sweet they are then adjust the sugar accordingly. We love serving each slice with freshly whipped cream, but ice cream would be divine.
How To Make Our Favorite All
Weve been making pie crust the same way in our kitchen for years. We cut butter into flour until the butter and flour look crumbly and have pieces of butter the size of peas. Then, we add just enough water to form the dough into a ball. That was until we found a better way. A homemade pie crust recipe, rather a pie crust method, thats consistent and makes dough thats a dream to roll out.
Its not that our previous method failed us. We just came across another way of how to make it. A while back Cooks Illustrated reworked pie dough.
You may have heard of it they added vodka to their recipe. .
Cooks Illustrated looked at the science behind pie crust and it made sense. Our high school science teachers would be proud.
Heres all you really need to know: Gluten is an enemy to pie crust. Some gluten is okay and actually needed for structure, but too much can really mess things up.
So, remember this: less gluten formation = flakier and more tender pie crusts.
Back to the vodka. Thats what got all the hype why wouldnt it, right? In their recipe, the vodka replaced some of the water.
The theory is that vodka doesnt promote gluten formation, whereas water does. So, by replacing part of the water with vodka, it helps the pie crust become flakier and more tender.
We love the idea and many swear it works, but adding a 1/4 cup of vodka to our homemade pie dough recipe just didnt sit well with us. Its not something we store in our home often and its expensive.
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Use Very Cold Butter Or Fat
Butter, shortening, lard, or suetwhatever fat the recipe calls for should be well-chilled and cut into small pieces to start with for the flakiest crust in the end. The fat in a pie crust must maintain some of its integrity in the dough to make the crust truly flaky. Starting with very cold fat makes it easier to keep from overworking the fat into the dough. On a hot day, you may need to chill the fat in the freezer for 10 to 15 minutes before you start making the dough.
How To Make A Pie Crust
To start, youll whisk together the all-purpose flour, salt, and sugar. Then add the cold cubed butter and cold vegetable shortening and cut it into the dry ingredients with a pastry cutter. If you dont have a pastry cutter you can also use a fork to cut the fat into the flour mixture.
If you want to make this step even easier, feel free to use a food processor. If you do use a food processor, I recommend just pulsing the mixture. You want to see pea-sized pieces of fat, but a few larger pieces are fine too.
Next, youll slowly mix in your ice water. One tablespoon at a time is the perfect amount, so you dont end up with too much water in your dough and a sticky mess. The recipe calls for 1/2 cup of ice water, but you may not need the full amount. Just use enough ice water to get the dough to come together.
Once you add enough water, the mixture will start to look like the picture above and when you squeeze it in your hand it will hold together. Just try not to use your hands too much when making the dough because your hands are warm and can quickly melt the fat in your dough.
Once the dough comes together, turn it out onto a lightly floured surface and gently pack it into a ball. Cut the dough in half and flatten it out into two discs. Wrap each disc of dough tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate them for at least one hour. You may also store these in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. If its too hard to roll, just let it sit at room temperature for 10 to 15 minutes.
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Different Types Of Pie Crust
As any home baker knows, the number of pie crust styles can be overwhelming. Crumb? Lattice? Double crust? Apple pie alone comes in so many varieties that you can become paralyzed before you even begin baking. One way to avoid this is to keep things simple and work your way up to more complex crusts. Once you get the hang of making a basic pie crust, a lattice is much less intimidating. Plus, the style of pie will help make your decision easier. Some just flat out need a graham cracker crust, for example.
Before you choose your pie crust and start your dough, take this one tip to heart: Make sure your ingredients are COLD. If you take away only one tip, make sure its that! I promise, this will be the easiest way to improve your dough.
Now, choose your crust below, and get started. And, if you need a helpful guide, check out my .
Check out my essential tools for making pies + tarts.
How To Blind Bake Homemade Pie Crust
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