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I have been trying to learn how to make a flaky pie crust for years. When we were moving, I found a list of New Year’s resolutions from 2011. On it? Learn to make a flaky pie crust. I even took a class a couple of years ago, and while the crust turned out fine, it really wasn’t what I wanted.

Fast forward to this year when I found the recipe and pictures for the All Butter Flaky Pie Crust. Complete with a discussion on how to make the crust flaky and other information, I thought I had found pie crust heaven. If you’re at all interested in learning about flaky pie crusts, Inspired Taste is the place to go. They even have a video!

This recipe is a little bit of work—certainly more than pulling a ready-made crust from the box—but to me, the results are well worth it for a better taste and texture, a bigger size, and a beautiful overall appearance. It will make your pie look like a professional (or at least a very experienced…😊) baker made it.   

Note: Mixing part of the flour with ice cold/frozen butter creates a buttery paste that helps prevent the development of too much gluten. Once you have the buttery paste, add the rest of the flour.  

Note: all the pros suggested using a food processor to make the flour-and-butter paste more easily. That said, I made it by hand and was very happy with the results.

Source: Inspired Taste

Prep time: 1 hour and 15 minutes

Total time: 1 hour and 15 minutes

Ingredients for one 9-inch double-crust pie

  • 2 ½ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 Tablespoon sugar, optional
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) very cold unsalted butter, cut into ½ -inch cubes (suggestion: cut the butter into cubes and then freeze)
  • 4 to 8 Tablespoons ice water

Directions (method when making by hand)

  1. Mix 1 ½ cups flour, salt, and sugar (optional) together in a medium bowl. Stir 2 to 3 times until combined.
  2. Scatter the butter cubes over the flour and mix briefly with a fork or spatula to coat the butter with flour.
  3. Cut the butter into the flour with a pastry blender, working mixture until the flour has a coarse, mealy texture similar to fresh bread crumbs—about 1 to 2 minutes.
  4. Add the remaining 1 cup of flour. Work the butter and the flour with the pastry blender until the flour is evenly distributed—about 20 seconds. (Dough should look crumbly with pea-sized pieces.)
  5. Sprinkle ice water over the mixture—start with 4 Tablespoons and add from there. Using a rubber spatula, press the dough into itself. The crumbs should begin to form larger clusters. If you pinch some of the dough and it holds together, it’s ready. If the dough falls apart, add 2 to 4 more tablespoons of water and continue to press until the dough comes together.
  6. Remove the dough from the bowl and place in a mound on a clean surface. Work the dough just enough to form a ball. Cut the ball in half and then form each half into a disc. Wrap each disc with plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 1 hour, and up to 2 days. You can also freeze the dough for up to 3 months. Thaw in the fridge overnight before using.

Directions (when using a food processor)

  1. Add 1 ½ cups flour salt, and sugar (optional) to a food processor. Pulse 2 to 3 times until combined.
  2. Scatter the butter cubes over the flour and process until a dough or paste begins to form, about 15 seconds. There should be no uncoated flour.
  3. Scrape the bowl, redistribute the flour-butter mixture, and then add the remaining 1 cup of flour. Pulse 4 to 5 times until the flour is evenly distributed. The dough should look broken up and a little crumbly.
  4. Transfer to a medium bowl, and then sprinkle ice water over the mixture—start with 4 Tablespoons and add from there. Using a rubber spatula, press the dough into itself. The crumbs should begin to form larger clusters. If you pinch some of the dough and it holds together, it’s ready. If the dough falls apart, add 2 to 4 more tablespoons of water and continue to press until the dough comes together.
  5. Remove the dough from the bowl and place in a mound on a clean surface. Work the dough just enough to form a ball. Cut the dough in half and then form each half into a disc. Wrap each disc with plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 1 hour, and up to 2 days. You can also freeze the dough for up to 3 months. Thaw in the fridge overnight before using.

Rolling out the dough

  1. Remove one of the dough discs from the refrigerator and let sit at room temperature for 5 minutes.
  2. Lightly flour your work surface, the top of the dough, and a rolling pin. Then use the rolling pin to roll out the dough into a 12-inch circle, about 1/8 of an inch thick. Be sure to check if the dough is sticking to the surface below—add a small amount of flour when necessary.
  3. Check for size by inverting the pie dish over the dough round. Look for a 1-inch edge around the pie dish. To transfer the dough to the dish, start at one end of the dough, roll it around the rolling pin, and then unroll the dough over the dish.
  4. Gently press the dough down into the dish so that it lines the bottom and sides of the dish. Be careful not to pull or stretch the dough. Then, use a knife or a pair of kitchen scissors to trim the dough to within ½-inch of the edge of the dish.
  5. Fold the edge of the dough underneath itself so that it creates a thicker, ¼-inch border that rests on the lip of the dish. Then, crimp the edges by pressing the pointer finger of one hand against the edge of the dough from the inside of the dish while gently pressing with two knuckles of the other hand from the outside. Refrigerate the dough at least 20 minutes or freeze for 5 minutes before baking.
  6. If making a double-crust pie, do not crimp the edges yet. Roll out the second dough disc, fill the pie, then top with the second dough round. Trim the edges, then crimp.

How to pre-bake a crust for a single-crust pie (quiches, custard, and cream pies)

  1. Heat the oven to 425⁰F. Place a baking sheet on a middle oven rack.
  2. Roll out enough dough to make one 9-inch crust (1 dough disc). Place into a pie plate and then pierce the bottom of the crust with a fork (this prevents air pockets or bubbles from forming while baking). Line the crust with two sheets of aluminum foil. Be sure to push the foil against the edges of the crust. Then, fill the foil with dried rice, dried beans, or pie weights. Refrigerate 30 minutes or freeze for 10 minutes, or until firm to the touch.
  3. Place pie crust onto a preheated baking sheet and reduce the oven temperature to 400⁰F. Bake for 20 to 30 minutes or until the crust is golden.
  4. Make an egg wash by whisking one egg yolk and 1 Tablespoon of cream together in a small bowl. Then, remove the rice, beans, or pie weights and foil from the pie crust. Use a pastry brush to brush the bottom and sides of the crust with egg wash. Bake until egg wash is dry and shiny, 3 to 5 minutes. Cool crust completely before filling.

How to make a double crust pie

 Oven temperature and bake time for double crust pies will vary, depending on the pie recipe that you plan to follow.

  1. Remove half of the dough from the refrigerator, and let sit at room temperature for 5 minutes. On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough into a 13-inch (1/8-inch thick) circle.
  2. Check for size by inverting the pie dish over the dough round. Look for a 1-inch edge around the pie dish. Carefully press the dough into the dish. Spoon the pie filling into the pie crust.
  3. Roll out the second half of the dough, then top the pie. Use a knife or a pair of kitchen scissors to trim the dough to within ¾-inch of the edge of the dish.
  4. Fold the edges of the top crust underneath the edges of the bottom crust, pressing the edge to seal it so that it creates a thicker, ¼-inch border that rests on the lip of the dish. Then, crimp the edges by pressing the pointer finger of one hand against the edge of the dough from the inside of the dish, while gently pressing with two knuckles of the other hand from the outside. Refrigerate the pie at least 20 minutes or freeze for 5 minutes before baking.  
  5. Just before baking, make an egg wash by whisking one egg yolk and 1 Tablespoon of cream together in a small bowl. Use a pastry brush to brush over the top crust. Then, sprinkle with 1 Tablespoon of sugar. Cut 3 to 4 slits in the top of the pie. Bake as directed for the specific recipe that you are using.

Nutritional Info per serving:

Serving size: 1/8 of dough

Calories: 345            Carbohydrates: 30g           Protein: 4g          Dietary fiber: 1g        Total sugars: 0g Total fat: 23g   Saturated fat: 15g Cholesterol: 61mg