The Surprising Secret To A Super
If youve ever made pie from scratch then you probably know that one of the secrets to a super-flaky pie crust is very cold butter. But getting it evenly incorporated is easier on paper than in practice its all too common to end up with pockets of butter throughout your pie crust, all while the dough has warmed up from the effort. Once again, the Williams Sonoma Test Kitchen has come to the rescue with a super simple kitchen hack that will take your homemade pie crusts to the next, unimaginably flaky level.
Watch our video to discover the surprising secret to a super-flaky pie crust.
Pro Tips For Decorating Piecrust From Expert Judy Kim
Other Options We Tested
- Talisman Design Pastry Wheel Decorator and Cutter: These little tools give the edges of your pie crusts a finished, evenly woven look in just seconds, and help cut relatively even strips of dough for lattice pie crusts. In testing, we found that the crust cutter makes a nice scalloped edge on the strips it cuts, with only one pass to cut a strip instead of two. Unfortunately, the plastic wheels aren’t entirely straight, so the strips they cut are slightly wider and narrower at different points. Both of these tools, while cute, are really just entry points into the world of pie-making and decorating. Once you’ve used them a few times you’ll be ready to move on to better quality tools and learn to start shaping crusts by hand so we left them off of our roundup for that reason.
The Spruce Eats / Jenny Kellerhals
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Salted Caramel Pear Pie
Yield: 1 pie
I love this lesser known combination in comparison to apples and caramel, but it easily interchangeable, perhaps one the things I love most about pie. Recipes are suggestions and hope that with each pie, each baker personalizes them with small changes and substitutions when necessary.
This Springtime Garden Wreath pie design is a labor of love. In many ways the making of this is no different than the arts and crafts techniques I learned from my Mom. But I say, make a pie that suits you, and if time is a factor use a full pie crust in lieu of this detailed design, it will still taste delicious. See the video below for a demo.
1 double crust pie dough, such as Buttermilk Pie Crust
All-purpose flour, for rollling dough
1 tablespoon heavy cream for egg wash
1/2 cup unsalted butter , sliced into 1/2-inch cubes
1/2 cup heavy cream, extra for egg wash
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
1 teaspoon flaky sea salt
4 Anjou pears – peeled, cored and thinly sliced
1 tablespoon lemon zest
1 lemon, juiced
3 tablespoons tapioca flour
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon flaky sea salt
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 1/4-inch cubes and frozen
In a large mixing bowl, fold pears, lemon zest , juice of 1 lemon, 1/4 cup sugar, tapioca flour, cinnamon, vanilla extract and sea salt. In a small bowl beat 1 egg with 1 tablespoon heavy cream. Set aside.
Springtime Garden Wreath pie design demo.
Why Trust The Spruce Eats
Karen Resta, the original author of this roundup, is a writer specializing in food culture and history, cooking, pastries, and restaurants. She’s also a former pastry chef and has traveled to Budapest, Kyiv, and Paris during their fashion weeks as a photographer and writer, always finding the best authentic pastries along the way. She now spends a lot of her free time baking at home and recommends quality within your given budget. Having the right tools available and knowing how to use them well makes all the difference, and she curated this list with that in mind.
Jenny Kellerhals has been a professional pastry chef in NYC for over a decade and has a wide range of experience with both professional and home cooking equipment. She personally tested every pie cutter on this list and updated it with her expert insights.
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How To Make Super
No time to watch a video? Here are the Cliff Notes:
- The secret? A cheese grater! Take frozen butter and grate it with a cheese grater.
- Put the grated butter in the freezer for another 15 minutes to make sure its nice and cold.
- Using a fork, scoop the butter into your flour touch it as little as possible to keep the temperature down.
- Since the butter is grated, you dont need to use a pastry cutter to incorporate it! Simply use your fork to mix it in.
- Then, incorporate ice water as little as possible to moisten your dough. Mix it in 1 tablespoon at a time until the dough has just come together.
- Flatten your dough into a disc and refrigerate for about two hours .
- Roll out your pie crust, transfer to a pie pan, and fill and bake according to your pie recipe.
- Remove the pie from the oven and marvel at the golden, flaky crust youve created.
So next time you are making homemade pie crust, ditch the pastry cutter and grate your butter instead. Swap in this technique with any pie crust recipe.
Can These Be Used For Cookie Cutters As Well
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Inspire a pie lover with our ultimate gift set. The centerpiece is a ruffle-edged Emile Henry pie dish, handmade in France and perfect for oven-to-table prep. It comes with five professional-quality essentials for making pies and countless other sweet …
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A Recipe For The Flakiest Piecrust
In our opinion, the rich flavor of butter and the flake-making quality of vegetable shortening produce a pie pastry that is both versatile and delicious. The butter and shortening should be very cold. This will help them to form layers in the crust that contribute to the overall flakiness. If you are making a savory pie, omit the sugar.
Dont Overwork The Dough
Take care not to overblend the fat and flour. Cutting the butter into the flour mixture is a key step in making a good piecrust. The butter must be very cold and hard and in pea-sized pieces before the liquid is added. If the butter warms up and softens, the flour will absorb it, become sticky and ultimately yield a tough crust.
Handle the pastry no more than necessary. Overworking the piecrust will work the glutens in the flour and melt the butter into the flour, again creating a tough crust.
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How To Make Flaky Piecrusts
A tender, flaky crust is the best part of any pie, whether its filled with fresh fruit or nuts and warm fall spice. The rich taste of real butter produces a versatile and delicious pie pastry, but for a crust thats easier to handle, try incorporating butter and shortening. The combination of butter and fat provides both stability, from the shortening, and flavor from the butter.
A perfect crust is relatively simple to prepare if you make sure to always follow these three guidelines for making pie dough.
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Cherry Slab Pie With Lattice Crust
This pie is guaranteed to impress, both with its good looks and its taste. The woven lattice crust lets you show off your baking skills and is really quite easy to prepare. There will be plenty of pie for everyone since its made in a baking sheet! If fresh cherries arent in season, thawed frozen fruit is a fine substitute.
- 7 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
- 1/4 cup plus 2 Tbs. granulated sugar
- 2 tsp. kosher salt
- 3 cups cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch dice
- 10 to 12 Tbs. ice water
Autumn Leaf Pumpkin Pie
- y_2022, m_6, d_27, h_20
- loc_en_US, sid_recipe.pumpkin-pie, prod, sort_
The traditional finale for a Thanksgiving dinner, pumpkin pie is the iconic fall dessert. Use decorative piecrust cutters to create leaves, acorns or other autumn shapes to top the pie for a dramatic finale to your Thanksgiving meal.Looking for more Thanksgiving inspiration? Head to Thanksgiving Headquarters and our brand new recipe app for holiday menu planning ideas and cooking tips.
- 2 rolled-out rounds basic pie dough
- 4 whole eggs plus 2 egg yolks
- 2 1/2 cups pumpkin puree
- 3/4 cup rmly packed light brown sugar
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 1 Tbs. plus 1 tsp. all-purpose our
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 1/3 cup milk
- 1 1/4 tsp. vanilla extract
- 1 Tbs. brandy
- Lightly sweetened whipped cream for serving
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Add Just Enough Water To Hold The Dough Together
Add enough water so the dough can be rolled out easilybetter a bit too much water than not enough. Try adding the water a tablespoon at a time, stirring and tossing with a fork after each addition. Stop adding water as soon as the dough comes together in a rough, shaggy mass and can hold together when pinched.
Rolling Out The Dough
Once youve made the dough and chilled it, youre ready to roll out your piecrust. On a lightly floured board or rolling mat, flatten the dough disk with six to eight gentle taps of the rolling pin. Lift the dough and give it a quarter turn. Dust the top of the dough and the rolling pin with flour as needed.
Begin rolling from the middle of the dough round, pushing outward and stopping the pressure 1/4 inch from the edge so that the edge does not get too thin. Lift the dough, give it a quarter turn and repeat rolling. Use this frequent lifting and turning of the dough to gauge the thickness and to dust the work surface and dough lightly with flour. Roll the dough out about 1/8 inch thick. Now youre ready to fill it with whatever your heart desires!
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