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Hi Bold Bakers!
Fall is when we tend to make a lot of pies, so I wanted to share my Best-Ever, Buttery Pie Crust recipe which is also my master recipe so you know how to make pie crust perfectly, every time. I recently shared an article about how this recipe will make you a Homemade Pie Crust for Less than $2 and how it’s much tastier and better for you than a store bought crust.
This recipe is the best I have come across in all of my years of working as a pastry chef. It will be easy for you to recreate at home (also see my step-by-step video for guidance) so you don’t have to buy pre-made pie shells in the supermarkets anymore.
Please don’t buy pre-made pie shells. They make my heart sad. And when making crust for your pies is this simple, there’s no excuse not to — because in no time you can have the right crust for pies like Blueberry Pie, Best-Ever Pecan Pie, or even my Classic Cherry Pie. And you can even learn how to decorate pies like a pro with my 5 Easy & Impressive Pie Design Techniques.
Using Butter vs. Shortening
I’ll be honest with you, growing up in Ireland we never used shortening. It’s not really used for anything over there unless it’s a commercial production, because it’s made from oil and therefore cheaper (and lower quality). I know a lot of people swear by it here in the states, but I’m going to make this argument: Butter is fat made from cows and the best choice for quality and taste!
What you Need to Make Pie Crust
How to Make Homemade Pie Crust
Making pie crust is so easy that you’ll wonder why you’ve been buying it pre-made all this time. One of our team members use to do this, now he refuses to make pies any other way than using my techniques. Here’s how to do it two ways: using a food processor & by hand (and don’t forget to get the full recipe with measurements, on the page down below):
- In a food processor, add your flour, butter, powdered sugar, and salt. Pulse into fine crumbs form. (You can also make this by hand, just rub the COLD butter into your dry ingredients until it forms a coarse breadcrumb-like consistency. And, don’t worry about having uniform lumps!)
- In a separate jug, mix together the egg yolks and water then add to the dry ingredients.
- Pulse in the food processor until a dough forms, around 10 seconds. (Once again, you can do this by hand by combining everything and kneading just until the dough comes together.)
- Wrap the pastry in cling wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes to allow the gluten to relax before rolling.
- Roll out your dough on a floured surface to fit your tin or pie dish. A good thickness is ¼ inch.
- Bake at 180C/350F depending on how you are using it, as per the recipe.
Tips for How To Make Pie Crust:
- Add liquid bit by bit. All flour absorbs water differently, so you might need less or more. You don’t want wet pastry.
- Leaving the egg out — Replace the egg with 2 tablespoons of cold water. Egg makes it richer but if you don’t eat eggs, use water.
- Don’t freak out — If you think you pastry is too dry, keep on bringing it together with your fingers. Take care not to add too much liquid.
- Refrigerate before rolling — Wrap up and place in the fridge for a minimum of 30 minutes. This will help the gluten relax and it will be easier to roll.
- Freeze the pie crust — Freeze for up to 8 weeks. Roll out your pie crust and place it in the tin. When ready to use take out of the freezer and bake directly from frozen. If you are using it for a pie that normally needs to be baked blind just bake it as is, with no beads or beans. Just bake the crust from frozen, eliminating the task of blind baking ever again. Yay!!!
- Using for savory — Leave out the sugar and this pie works great for savory pies also, like pot pie.
[ Gluten-Free? Make my Flakiest Gluten-Free Pie Crust! ]
Why Your Pie Crust Shrinks
You are not alone here! This is a really common problem and, luckily, the solution is simple. The answer is too much WATER! Adding too much water to your pastry will cause your pastry to shrink. Think about it! When water heats up it evaporates. So in terms of pastry, that means when you go into the oven, the heat makes the water in the crust evaporate, which in turn causes it to shrink. Makes sense now, right?
The solution is to just add the minimum amount of water that you need to pull your dough together into a ball. If it seems like it might be a tad dry don’t freak out and lash in water. A fun fact about pastry is that it expresses water once it rests, so it will actually get wetter as it sits in the fridge for its resting period.
Avoiding A Soggy Pie Crust
This is not something you have done wrong, it just depends on what type of pie you are making. When it comes to how to make a pie crust, Quiche, Apple Pie, and pies with wetter filling can have a tendency to have a soggy bottom. If you want to avoid this, you can blind bake your pie crust. This simply means laying parchment in your pie crust and filling with dried beans or lentils to weigh it down as it bakes. Bake it until partially good (or fully cooked depending on the pie you are making). This will give you a crisper pastry in the end.
Once you master this Homemade Pie Crust, your holiday season will become much easier. Use this Homemade Pie Crust for my Homemade Pumpkin Pie and my Pecan Fudge Pie.
Get More Pie Recipes!
And don’t forget to buy my new Bigger Bolder Baking Every Day Cookbook!
Full (and printable) recipe below!