A foolproof recipe and step-by-step photo tutorial for How To Make A Pie Crust!
Please tell me you’re hungry, because it’s officially Pie Week here at Gimme Some Oven!!!
I will tell you right up front that I am doing this series as a bit of a pie-making novice. Don’t get me wrong — I love pie, but my family seemed to be more into baking cookies than pies growing up. So for years, the idea of crafting pie shells and perfect fillings and lattice crusts had me 100% intimidated! I even had a pie in my logo for the first three years of blogging, but there were sadly no pies in my (Gimme Some) oven.
This summer, though, I decided that it was time to finally learn how to make pie. My strategy for
conquering learning new things in life seems to be “go big or go home”, so I gave myself a week to learn how to bake some classic pies, and figure out what my personal go-to recipe would be for how to bake a pie crust. So I started baking this past Thursday, then invited a bunch of friends over for a pie night on Saturday as motivation. About 2 full days of baking, 5 crust failures, 8 pounds of butter, 1 oven mitt fire, 10 loads of dishes, and 26 hungry friends later, I’m happy to say that we made and enjoyed 6 awesome pie recipes that will be coming to you this week on the blog.
So whether you are a pie pro or a newbie like myself, I hope you’ll join along with Pie Week!
But first, let’s start at the very beginning — How To Make A Pie Crust.
(Update: I also recently posted 7 tips on How To Keep A Pie Crust From Shrinking. Also full of great info!)
(This post contains affiliate links.)
I can already tell that the comment section on this post is going to be long, because I’m pretty sure everyone has their own opinions about how to make the perfect pie crust…which I love! To me, that speaks to the generations of traditions and wisdom that have been formed around this delicious dessert. And I love that there is not just one way to bake a beautiful pie crust, just like there is not one way to bake a “perfect” chocolate chip cookie. So if the suggestions and recipe that I offer here today differ from what you have been taught or have learned from years of experience, then I say more power to you — go with what works! This post is simply meant mostly for beginners, or to offer some new ideas for those looking for some new tips or techniques.
Learn how to make a pie crust with this step-by-step tutorial and recipe.
Pulse together flour, sugar and salt in a food processor until combined. Sprinkle in half of the cubed butter, and pulse in 2-second intervals, 2-3 times, or until incorporated. Add remaining butter and pulse until incorporated. Dough will be in little clumps.
Sprinkle dough either by hand or with a spray bottle with the vodka and ice water. Then use a spatula or spoon to mix the liquid into the dough, mixing until just combined and the dough sticks together. (You can also do this step in a food processor — just be careful not to overmix. The dough should not form a ball in the food processor.) Use your hands to pack the dough into a ball, like you’re packing a snowball, then carefully pat the dough into a 1/2-inch thick round disk. Wrap the dough tightly in plastic wrap, then refrigerate for at least 1 hour, or up to 3 days, until ready to use.
Transfer the dough to a well-floured work surface, then lightly dust the top of the dough and the rolling pin with flour as needed. Roll out the dough into a circle at least 12 inches in diameter and about 1/8 inch thick, the perfect size for a 9-inch pie plate. Carefully transfer dough to the pie plate, and gently press the dough into the plate without stretching it.
Use some kitchen shears or a knife to trim off any excess pastry, leaving about a 1-inch border of crust around the top of the pan. Then, section by section, carefully lift the rim of crust so that it sticks straight up, then fold it back about 1/2-inch (towards the outside of the pan) and pinch the crust into itself to sculpt an upstanding ridge. Use a fork or your fingers to form a scalloped edge if desired. Poke the bottom of the crust all over with a fork so that it does not bubble up while baking. Place pie crust in the freezer for 10 minutes to re-chill the butter before continuing.
Your recipe may call for the crust as is (unbaked) to continue. If your recipe calls for pre-baking the crust, line the inside of the chilled crust with aluminum foil so that it is gently pressed into the bottom and sides of the crust, and hangs over the edges of the top of the crust. The foil should basically be like a second skin, fitting the mold of the crust. (A chilled pie crust will prevent the foil from damaging the crust shape.) Fill the bottom of the crust with pie weights or dried beans. Then bake immediately at 400 degrees F for 15 minutes. Remove the crust, and carefully lift out the aluminum foil layer with the beans in it, and set that aside. If any of the crust has started to bubble up, poke it with the fork a few more times. Return the crust to the oven for 10-12 minutes for a partially baked prebaked shell (should be lightly browned), or 15-17 minutes for a fully prebaked pie shell (should be golden brown).
Double the recipe, cut the dough in half and pat each half into a 1/2-inch thick round disk. Wrap the dough tightly in plastic wrap, then refrigerate for at least 1 hour, or up to 3 days, until ready to use.
Prepare the bottom half of the crust as you would for a single pie crust (instructions above), but after trimming the excess dough around the edges, do not freeze the pie crust. Instead, place your filling in bottom half of the pie crust. Then roll out your second disk of dough, just like you did the first, and gently lay it on top of the pie. Trim extra dough so that the edges line up with the bottom pie crust. Then pinch the two crusts together into a ridge that stands straight up, and then fold it back about 1/2-inch (towards the outside of the pan) and pinch the crust into itself to sculpt an upstanding ridge. Use a fork or your fingers to form a scalloped edge if desired. Place pie crust in the freezer for 10 minutes to re-chill the butter before continuing. Bake according to recipe directions.
Brush some milk or an egg white on the surface of the crust before baking. Sprinkle with a little sugar if desired.
**If you would like to substitute in some shortening, you can either use:
Just be sure that both the shortening and butter have been completely chilled in the refrigerator beforehand.
The recipe time and yield depend on whether you’re making a single or double pie crust, and whether or not they are prebaked.
If you make this recipe, be sure to snap a photo and hashtag it #gimmesomeoven. I'd love to see what you cook!
Mix the dry ingredients together. Then pulse in the butter or fat.
Sprinkle about half of your liquid in, then pulse to combine. Then repeat with remaining liquid until the mixture is crumbly. (It should not form a ball in the food processor.) You can also add the liquid in a bowl, and fold it in with a spoon or spatula to prevent overworking.
Use your hands to shape the dough into a ball like you’re packing a snowball. Then pat it into a round disk (about 1/2-inch thick), cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until firm.
Remove and unwrap the dough, and lay it out on a well-floured surface. Roll the dough into a 12-inch circle. Then — very important! — let the dough rest for 5 minutes. This will relax the gluten and help prevent the crust from shrinking.
Gently lift the dough into a pie plate. (Or if you are rolling the dough out onto a surface cover like a Silpat or parchment or plastic wrap, lay the dough on top of the pie plate then lift off the cover.) Trim the excess dough from the edges, leaving about a 1-inch border.
Lift the border up so that it is vertical, then fold the dough back about 1/2-inch and pinch it into a ridge all around the pie plate. Use your fingers or a fork to make a scalloped crust if desired. I recommend making the crust just slightly larger than you would like it to be, as it might shrink slightly during baking.
Then place the shaped dough into the freezer for at least 10 minutes to chill, then remove. If your recipe calls for an unbaked pie crust, proceed from here according to recipe instructions. If your recipe calls for a pre-baked pie crust, line the crust with aluminum foil so that it is touching the bottom and sides of the crust. Let the foil gently hang over the top of the crust. (Do not wrap the foil back around the sides and bottom of the crust, otherwise, it will not cook evenly.)
Fill the inside of the foil with uncooked beans or pie weights. Give it a good shake so that the beans evenly cover the inside of the crust.
Bake at 400 degrees for 15 minutes. Then remove the pie, and lift out the aluminum foil and beans. Prick the bottom (and sides if desired) of the pie crust to prevent bubbling. Then cook at 375 degrees F for 10-12 minutes for a partially pre-baked pie crust, or 15-17 minutes for a fully pre-baked pie crust. Then use with your desired recipe.
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