How to Make Pie Crust
You Can Make Great Homemade Pie Crust!
How to make pie crust simply and easily. Learn the secrets to making perfect pie crust. Make pie crust better than any ready made crust. Learn which ingredients will make your crust flaky.
For years I used pie crust mix to make my pie crusts. I was afraid to mix up my own pie crust dough.
This was silly.
If you know how to make pie crust from a mix, you already know 2 of the most important tricks to making pie crust: how to make pie crust dough and how to roll it out.
Once I took the time to learn about the various pie crust ingredients and what they do, I was free. Never again would I have to trek to 3 stores looking for my favorite pie crust mix.
And let's not even talk about ready made pie crust.
Pre-made pie crusts are not worthy to hold your delicious homemade pie filling.
And if you are loath to surrender the convenience of frozen pie crust, take heart. The homemade pie crust recipe here will freeze beautifully for up to a month. Just wrap the finished pie crust dough in plastic wrap, flatten it into a disk with your hand and slip it into a zip lock bag.
Thaw it overnight in the fridge or for an hour on the counter.
Pie Crust Ingredients
I like to use all purpose or bread flour. Whole grain flours will make a healthy pie crust but it won't taste good. It will be too dense and heavy and probably tough.
Do not try to make a low salt or sodium free pie crust by reducing or omitting the salt that the pie crust recipe calls for. Your finished crust will be bland.
I do use Morton lite salt in my pie crust recipes and this works fine. Use any finely ground salt that you like.
Flaky pie crust is the result of the interaction between the fat and the flour.
Any fat that remains solid at room temp will make a flaky crust.
My grandmothers always used Crisco pie crust recipes. Before Crisco was introduced they probably used lard. I prefer butter because I believe it to be healthier than either of the aforementioned.
Oil pie crust tends to be tough precisely because it is liquid at room temp. Coconut oil is the best of the cooking oils to use in a pie crust recipe because it will solidify when chilled. Even so, it makes an inferior crust in terms of texture.
Fat free pie crust is something that does not exist--at least not in my kitchen.
Vinegar in Pie Crust
People sometimes add vinegar to pie crust dough to make a tenderflake pie crust. The acid in the vinegar prevents the gluten strands from becoming too long and making the crust tough.
Cooks who make vinegar pie crust use 1 teaspoon of vinegar per cup of flour. They say that the taste is not discernable in the cooked crust.
I am skeptical of this.
You can substitute lemon juice for the vinegar but this is also a strong flavor which may not blend with every filling.
I prefer to use orange juice in place of the water in the pie crust recipe. Orange juice has a mild enough taste that you don't notice it in the baked crust.
Milk makes a richer pie crust. Orange juice makes a tender, flaky pie crust. Water just makes pie crust dough.
Whatever liquid you decide to use make sure it is ice cold. This helps to keep the fat cold and solid.
Making Perfect Pie Crust
Stir the salt into the flour, then cut in the fat. You can use a pastry blender, a fork or your clean fingers. Rub the fat into the flour until it forms pea-sized beads.
Less is more when blending fat into flour for pie crusts.
If you overwork the flour, too much gluten will form and the crust will come out tough.
Stir in the cold liquid with a fork. Again, do it quickly and don't overdo it.
Add the liquid by the tablespoon. The proper amount is just enough to cause the dough ball to hold together. Too little and the dough will be crumbly--add more. Too much and it will be sticky--add a touch more flour.
Wrap the dough in plastic and stick it in the fridge while you make your pie filling. You can also store it in the refrigerator overnight.
Take it out a few minutes before you need to roll it out and let it warm just a bit.
Remember not to overwork it as you roll it out and be careful not to add too much flour to it or you risk making it tough.
How to Make Pie Crust