Pie crusts are as versatile as they are tasty, but it's hard to beat the delicious flakiness of a classic butter crust. Though they can be hard to master, a good pie crust is definitely worth the effort. Knowing how to make a perfect pie crust is a staple skill that allows you to create everything from mouth-watering savory dinners to classic sweet desserts. Plus, you can show off your creativity with some custom edges and unique scoring.
All-purpose flour contains a small amount of protein, iron, calcium, magnesium, potassium, phosphorus, and copper. One serving of all-purpose flour provides 19% of the daily recommended amount of selenium, too.
Butter contains 11% of the recommended daily intake of vitamin A, as well as low amounts of vitamins B12, E, and K. It's also a good source of conjugated linoleic acid.
Place the flour, sugar, and salt into a mixing bowl. Mix using a food processor, fork, or spoon.
Add about half the butter and mix it into the dry ingredients. Add the rest and mix until the butter cubes are roughly pea-sized.
Add about half of your ice water to the mixture, mixing thoroughly. Add more, a tablespoon at a time, mixing after each addition.
Divide the dough into two evenly-sized mounds. Slightly knead each mound with your hands to create a small disk. It should just barely hold together without cracking. Sprinkle both disks with some flour and wrap them in plastic wrap. Place them in the refrigerator for at least an hour, up to two days.
Remove one disk from the fridge and let it sit at room temperature for five to 10 minutes. This allows it to soften a bit, making it easier to roll out.
Lightly flour your work area and use a rolling pin to flatten the pie crust. It should be roughly 12 inches in diameter and about ⅛ of an inch thick. Carefully place your dough into the pie plate. Use kitchen shears to trim the dough to within a ½-inch of the pie dish's edge.
Some pies require you to bake the crust before adding the filling. Preheat your oven to 350 F and line your pie crust with aluminum foil or parchment paper. Fill it with pie weights like rice, dry beans, or sugar, to prevent air bubbles. Bake for 45 to 50 minutes if you plan to bake it again after adding a filling, otherwise bake it for 60 to 75 minutes. Allow it to cool completely before filling.
If you pre-baked your pie, remove the aluminum foil or parchment paper and the pie weights. Add your filling. Remember that some pies may rise in the oven, so don't overfill your pie crust.
Roll out your second disk of dough as you did the first. Gently place it onto the filling and pie crust, trimming any excess. Leave enough dough for around a ¾-inch overhang. Fold the top piece of dough over and under the edge of the bottom section, pressing them together as you work.
Flute the edges using your fingers or press them with a fork.
Score the top of the pie with at least four two-inch cuts so the steam can escape.
Follow the recipe for the pie filling to determine your baking temperature and timing. If there aren't any specifics available, preheat the oven to 350 F. Place your pie on the middle rack and bake until the top is golden brown.
One of the hardest parts of making a perfectly flaky pie crust is making sure that your butter doesn't melt while mixing the dough. By freezing your butter, you ensure that it stays cold as long as necessary. Quickly grate the frozen butter into your dough.
For a great looking top crust, simply beat a tablespoon of heavy cream, milk, or half-and-half with a large egg yolk and apply it to your crust with a pastry brush before baking.
Don't worry about having extra length when rolling out your dough. You can trim it down if necessary, but extra dough allows you to create more interesting edges, crimps, flutes, and folds.
While pie crusts can be surprisingly demanding in terms of technique and consistency, you don't need very many tools to create the perfect one. Make sure you have the basics, like measuring cups and a rolling pin. You can use a food processor, but it isn't required. If you're mixing by hand, sure you have some mixing spoons and a large mixing bowl. You also need at least one 9-inch pie pan.