ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

How to Make Perfect Pie Crust Pastry

Updated on March 17, 2017
Beth Eaglescliffe profile image

Science graduate and business advisor, health educator and author, Beth writes articles on a wide variety of subjects.

American cultural icons include apple pie and baseball.
American cultural icons include apple pie and baseball. | Source

Baking the Perfect Pie Crust

Knowing how to make a perfect pie crust is a useful skill and fun for everyone to learn. The ingredients are items you probably already have in your store cupboard. Why not have a go at making homemade pie crust? You'll be surprised how easy and quick this skill is. You'll never need to buy shop-bought pastry again.

To make perfect piecrust pastry you need cool temperatures. That is, you need cool hands, a cool pastry board or working surface, and a cool kitchen. Sometimes poor results are due to high ambient room temperatures so keep this in mind and cool it down if you want to make great pastry.

Tips for Making Delicious Piecrust Pastry

Tip
Comment
Work in a cool environment.
Keep your hands and equipment cold.
Don’t overwork the dough.
Handle as little as possible or it loses its “stretch” and becomes tough.
Don’t stretch the dough to fit a dish.
During baking the dough shrinks in size.
Pie crust can be baked “blind” (with no filling).
This is useful for summer desserts e.g. fruit and Jell-O.
Make pumpkin pie and show off your piecrust making skills.
Make pumpkin pie and show off your piecrust making skills. | Source

A pie dough comes together exactly like a biscuit only there is very, very little liquid and no leavening involved. Other than that, the same rules apply. My best advice: handle the dough as little as possible.

— Alton Brown, TV food show host

Cool Working Surface and Rolling Pin

Many people roll out their pie crust using a wooden or plastic board and rolling pin. However, you will get much better results if you make your dough using ones made from glass, marble or stainless steel. Glass pins are effective, but there is always the danger you could drop one and have shards of glass all over your kitchen, so I think marble rolling pins are the best. I like to use a Fox Run's marble rolling pin. It stays cool in use and comes with a handy stand to display it when not in use. Stainless steel rolling pins are lighter than marble, but they tend to be more expensive.

To protect my worktop, I use a Norpro Silicone Pastry Mat. It comes marked with pie crust circles and measurements and is easy to wash in the dishwasher.

Pie Dough Needs Cold Hands

Working under pressure can make a cook hot and bothered. Try not to start making pastry when you feel stressed or tired. Look on it as an activity that can be done as a form of relaxation.

Before you start getting your equipment and ingredients together, wash your hands and wrists in cold water. If it’s a hot day, splash your face with cold water too. Throughout the process, if you feel your hands are getting warm once more, then don’t hesitate to rinse them in cold water once more, making sure that you dry them well.

Thanksgiving apple pie with lattice crust.
Thanksgiving apple pie with lattice crust. | Source

What kind of pie maker are you?

See results

Keep a Cool Kitchen

Modern houses are often well-insulated and centrally-heated. For most domestic activities this is ideal however, pie crust and pastry-making are the exception. Ideally, pie crust should be made in the kind of ambient temperature in which you feel you need to wear a light sweater (i.e. cool).

If you know your kitchen tends to get hot then you will need to get some help from your fridge or freezer. Chill your ingredients and equipment before you start by putting them in the fridge or freezer for half an hour. Then follow the recipe below and with practice you will achieve a perfect pie crust.

Savory mince pie with short crust pastry. The mincemeat contains apples, beef, sugar, raisins, suet, molasses, vinegar and spices.
Savory mince pie with short crust pastry. The mincemeat contains apples, beef, sugar, raisins, suet, molasses, vinegar and spices. | Source

Ingredients for Perfect Pie Crust Recipe

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour (sieved)
  • 1 cup cubed butter (straight from the fridge)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 6 to 8 tablespoonfuls cold water

Cook at 350 degrees F or 180 degrees C

Prep time: 10 min
Cook time: 30 min
Ready in: 40 min
Yields: Make enough crust for an 8 inch pie dish
Use a dough cutter to blend fat with dry ingredients to make "breadcrumbs".
Use a dough cutter to blend fat with dry ingredients to make "breadcrumbs". | Source

Method for Short Crust Dough

1. Place the sieved flour, salt and cubed butter into a large mixing bowl. Using the “rubbing in” method, use your fingertips to mix the fat into the flour until it looks like fine breadcrumbs. It is important that the butter is cold and hard when you are making pastry. Soft or melting butter will not give you a good result.

2. Make a well in the center of your bowl and add the cold water one tablespoonful at a time. Using a palette knife or metal spoon, fold the water into the dry ingredients. Do not add so much water that the mixture becomes sticky.

3. As soon as you are able to make one big lump of dough, then with floured hands, you should scoop out the pastry and place it on your cool floured pastry board ready to be rolled out.

Dough for pie crust rolled out to full size.
Dough for pie crust rolled out to full size. | Source

4. The trick to making good pie short-crust is not to overwork the pastry. In other words the fewer times you need to roll out your pastry, the better. Use plenty of flour on your hands, rolling pin and board to prevent the pastry from sticking.

5. With your cooled rolling pin roll the dough out to a thickness of about a quarter of an inch. Use a palette knife under the pastry to support it, then drape it over the pie dish and trim and pattern the edges.

Easy Homemade Butter Pie Crust Pastry

Home Baking Tips for Rolling Out the Perfect Pie Crust

5 stars from 1 rating of Tips for Making the Perfect Pie Crust

Recipe For Pie Crust Using Oil instead of Butter

We must have a pie. Stress cannot exist in the presence of a pie

— David Mamet in "Boston Marriage"
Blueberry pie with vented butter pie crust and sugar sprinkled on top.
Blueberry pie with vented butter pie crust and sugar sprinkled on top. | Source

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Great tips, Beth. I don't think I've ever had a pie crust like my mom used to make. Maybe now I can carry on that tradition thanks to this article.

    • Beth Eaglescliffe profile image
      Author

      Beth Eaglescliffe 2 years ago from UK

      Sounds like your mom had "cool hands and a warm heart".

    • CyberShelley profile image

      Shelley Watson 2 years ago

      Beth what wonderful tips here - the pie queen! Thank you for sharing your secrets.

    Click to Rate This Article