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How to make a flaky pie crust

Updated on September 4, 2010

Why a good crust?

The key ingredient to making a good pie is the crust, if your crust is no good, your pie will be lacking. Butter is a great flavor but I have found through trial and error that using butter in a pie crust will only cause it to burn, thus ruining all of your efforts. This is a very versatile pie crust, it can either be used for desserts or savory dinners, it’s all up to your imagination!

Basic dough recipe - super flakey!

2 Cups of flour (Plus some for rolling)
¾ Cup butter flavored shortening - chilled
½ tsp salt
Ice water - I have a glass of water with ice cubes nearby.

What you will need:
Mixing bowl
Measuring cups and spoons
Rolling pin
Pie pans
Plastic wrap

Put flour and salt in bowl, add butter flavored shortening, cut in. What this means is break up the shortening in with the flour, your going to get your hands dirty with this job, don’t be afraid! Some folks use 2 butter knives to do this making a cutting motion, others use a fork to squish it all together. I find my hands are my best tools, provided they have been washed and dried thoroughly. Get in there and mix this well, there is no easy way to do it, unless you have a ‘pastry’ blender. Once you are certain it is mixed well, and all the lumps of shortening are very small, you can begin adding your ice water. Just add 2 or 3 TBSP to start. Mix well, add more if you need it. What you are looking for; Your dough will be moist but not sticky, all particles of flour and shortening should hold together. If it’s too sticky add a little flour at a time until just right.

Cut in half, form ball with each and wrap dough in plastic wrap to rest for at least ½ an hour in the Refrigerator. This relaxes the dough so you can roll it out without it being stretchy. And it also keeps your crust from being ‘tough’ and hard to chew.

Dust area of counter top with flour, unwrap one ball, place on flour, and dust the top of the ball. Push down with the heel of your hand to flatten it a bit. Dust your rolling pin and begin to roll out a circle to fit your pie pan. Move dough around a bit, flipping it over from time to time, to keep it from sticking to your counter, dust with flour as needed. Make it bigger than the pan by 2 to 3 inches all around. When you are sure this is the size you want, place rolling pin in center of dough, fold over dough and pick up handle of rolling pin securing roller with thumb (you don’t want it falling off) slide pan under dough, adjust as necessary.

This recipe makes two crusts, if you are using a top crust repeat last step again, seal edges and make cuts in center of top for steam to escape.

If you are using single crust you will want to make the edge pretty for serving. Here is one that I have found to be quite nice. Using my finger as a guide, I tuck my finger under the edge of the pie pan, can cut off the excess dough with a butter knife PLEASE… When all edge has been trimmed, I fold under cut edges to top layer of dough, just to pan edge. Then using my knuckles of both hands, 2 on the inside 1 on the outsides, I ‘pinch’ the dough between them. It gives a pretty ruffled edge to it.

For single crust, using fork poke entire bottom and sides of dough, to prevent bubbling of dough, bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes, or until lightly browned.

For double crust, depending on the inside, I bake 45 minutes to 1 hour or until lightly browned. To make it extra pretty you can use a pastry brush to give it an egg wash. To do this: 1 egg beaten with a TBSP or two of water to thin it out, brush lightly over entire crust. Using left over dough, make pretty designs (cherries, leaves whatever you wish) to top crust, sealing with egg wash.

If you want the job done right you need the tools!


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    • Sweetsusieg profile image

      Sweetsusieg 7 years ago from Michigan

      Yep, chilling seems to be the key to flaky pie crust. Good Luck!!

      Thanks for commenting!

    • North Wind profile image

      North Wind 7 years ago from The World (for now)

      Thank you I will try this, my dough always seems to be just shy of flaky so hopefully with this recipe, things will change!