I’ve posted a few times about things cooked in pie crusts: Tomato pie, Tomato Pie Again, and Zucchini Quiche.
And I promise there will be more.
So I figured it was about time to make a pie crust tutorial. I think if my mother-in-law hadn’t shown me how it’s done, I wouldn’t be so good at it! It’s not that it’s a hard recipe or anything (it’s super-easy) but if you’ve never seen each stage of the crust’s being, you might think something is going wrong and end up adding too much water, kneading (don’t knead!), or other crust-destroying things.
So let’s start, shall we?
Recipe for a double crust for an 8-9″ pie
Find your flour, a medium bowl, a sifter, and a measuring cup.
Measure 2 cups of flour into the sifter.
Add 1 teaspoon of salt.
Sift, sift, sift! I love sifting.
Now find some shortening (there’s no trans fat anymore… like that makes it good for you or something. hah) and a 1/3 cup measuring cup.
Measure in 2/3 cup of shortening.
Now here’s where we cut in the shortening. Some people use two knives, some people use two forks, but I use my fingertips. Just pick up some shortening and flour and crumble it. Don’t use your palms or whole hands… that will melt the shortening and destroy your crust. Don’t knead. Just crumble. Move your fingers like you have dried Elmer’s glue on them and need to get it off.
As you do this, each little morsel of shortening will get covered in flour… it should look like tiny sticky balls of dough. Not one big lump.
Do not worry about some lumps being different sizes… that doesn’t matter. If you overwork it though, that WILL matter. Now get out a fork and some ice water.
And measure out a few tablespoons of water into the flour mix. How many you end up using will depend on your location and the weather… seriously, humidity plays a big part. You can pretty safely start with 4 or 5 tablespoons of ice water, then mix quickly with the fork. Then add 1 or 2 at a time before mixing again.
This is what it should look like when you’re finished with the water. Starting to stick together, but not wet or sticky at all. I had to use 10 Tablespoons of water today, but I think my mother-in-law usually ends up somewhere in the 4-6 range.
Now push the pieces together to make a lump. Don’t knead! Just push until everything sticks together.
I don’t think I could make pie crust without my trusty Pampered Chef pastry roller and mat. They’re fantastic! I’ve considered selling Pampered Chef things just because of these products.
Divide your dough in half, and shape each into a ball. Roll a ball out flat… and circle-ish…
And then fold it into quarters. Why? Because this makes it so much easier to lift and…
Place in your pie pan.
And open it up.
Roll out the other ball and save it till you’re ready to top your pie. Cover both crusts with a damp towel until you’re ready to fill the pie and seal everything up.
Mmm! Flaky pastry pie crust!
Here’s the recipe again, just to show you how short/easy it is. And so if you want to print it you can.
Flaky Pastry Pie Crust (Makes a double crust for an 8-9″ pie)
- 2 cups flour
- 1 tsp salt
- 2/3 cup shortening
- ice water (somewhere between 4-12 Tablespoons, probably)
Sift the flour and salt together.
Cut in shortening until mixture resembles cornmeal or little balls.
Sprinkle 4ish Tablespoons of ice water over surface and mix lightly and quickly with a fork.
If dough doesn’t stick together, add 1-2 more Tablespoons, mix again. Repeat until dough starts to hold together.
Press the dough together. Divide into 2 balls.
Roll each ball until about 3″ larger than pie pan’s diameter.
Cover with a damp cloth while preparing the filling.
Cook according to filling recipe.
Hi Emily – I have gone through so much flour and shortening this week trying unsuccessfully to make pastry. Most of it went into the garbage because it wouldn’t roll out right. Desperate for help I found your site. Followed your instructions and it came out perfect. What helped me the most were the pictures which showed me how it should look after each stage of preparation. I am so grateful for your help. Thank you very much.
The best I’ve ever made
DO I USE ALL PURPOSE FLOUR FOR YOUR FLAKEY PIE CRUST
I’m going to give it a try, that looks easy!
[…] Not sure how? There are excellent step-by-step instructions with pictures at The Pioneer Woman and Joyful Abode.Â FYI, their recipes produce 2-3 times more crust than this pie needs, but the pictures and method […]
Hi Emily. Thank you for your blog. I will definitely try this out. I recently made some dim sum egg custard and the crust was not flaky at all. I want to know what kind of flour do I use for your recipe (all-purpose or self-rise)? Also, if I want to make the dim sum egg custard, do I need to roll dough out flat and cut in circles to fit in a tart pan or can I use pull out a ball dough and press it in the tart pan? Please let me know the which is better or it doesn’t matter at all as both will come out flaky. Thank you.
I use all-purpose flour for this crust.
For tarts, I would definitely roll out, cut in circles, and lay in the pans… If you roll into balls and press them in, it will be more “handling” for the dough and it will not be as flaky.
I know I’m a day late and a dollar short on making this recipe, which was posted nearly 3 years ago, but wanted you to know that I went straight to your site when I decided I wanted to bake a pie and needed a pie crust. 🙂 Hope all is well in CA! ~Betsy from WU
Thanks for letting me know, Betsy! I hope it turned out well.
Are there an equivalent quality flours appropriate for fine pastries that does not have any gluten in it?
[…] Finally, please, please, please make your own pie crust if you’re able.Â You probably have the ingredients in your pantry, and even if your pie crust isn’t as pretty as store-bought (mine wasn’t) it will taste infinitely better.Â There are excellentstep-by-step instructions at The Pioneer Woman and Joyful Abode. […]
Thanks for wonderful photos to make the pie crust. Wondering if you can use butter instead of shortening. Where I live, shortening doesn't exist so could I use 2/3 cup butter instead?
I made a vegetable pie yesterday and I made the pie crust from scratch. It turned out really hard, even though the filling was really good. Reading your article just now, I cannot stop laughing at how proudly I went about kneading the dough and thinking I was badass because it seemed so easy, at least until the dough turned hard in the oven. I will definitely try this again, this time, without kneading of course. Thanx a lot
DAMNIT! That must be why mine is so damn hard.
[…] I made a flaky pastry pie crust, and filled it with cut-up skinned, de-seeded tomato chunks. And sprinkled on some Kosher salt. In […]
Thank you for putting some good instructions and some good pictures. Tonight was my first time ever attempting to make pie crust. Attempt 1…dry and hard…into the garbage. Attempt 2…really kind of wet…but my wife figured out how to use it. Frustrated, I found your web site. After reading your instructions, I decided to make the crust like an art, not like I was making rolls or bread. And it worked!! A Thanksgiving miracle. I made two double pie crusts and used them for apple pies. With more practice, I think I could get good at this. Thanks!
Great recipe, we had apple and pinaapple pie for desert, on our early Thanksgiving dinner. I only had to use 4 tbs of water. Thanks for all ur help.
shirlt… though maybe i think shirly?
My fingertips are almost always cold! haha. Anyway, my crust doesn’t turn out tough. It’s yummy and flaky! If you want to use a pastry cutter or knives or forks, go for it! I find this is the easiest for me.
You are using your fingers to mix your pie crust!
Science 101 ….heat will react with wheat gluten …making your pie crust tough.
[…] here it is. Start by making a flaky pastry pie crust (double crust). And preheat your oven to 350 degrees […]
i use the exact recipe you do! but i always use a pastry cutter . . .
two things – which you touched on and i will vouch for from experience. 🙂
1 you said not to knead pie crust. if a flaky pie crust is desired, never, NEVER knead it. also, don’t mix it too hard or long, or squish it too hard and long when readying it for rolling. be VERY gentle with the crust!
2 yes, humidity plays a huge role in how much water is needed! i live in minnesota – where one day one needs a sweatshirt and jeans, and the next day is tanktop weather. one day the air is so heavy one can hardly breath and the next day is nice and dry.
anyway – i made a pie last week and only used 4 TBS ice water. in the winter i end up using 6 – 10 TBS and always wonder if i’m using too much . . . but it always turns out!
a fun idea – for the top crust, cut out as many star shapes as there is room for in the crust rolled out for the top. when the pie is full, lay the stars all over the top – overlap them a bit. this is very pretty and a fun (easier) twist on lattice.
[…] a useful tutorial on making a flaky pie crust from Joyful […]
I’m hosting our From Scratch club this Saturday and have been searching for a good pastry recipe (we’re going to make Quiche Lorraine). I read your blog anyway, but this is such perfect timing! Thanks for sharing the recipe!
Good timing with that tute, I’ve been meaning to look into pastry so I can make a quiche from scratch. My nan’s quiche is famous (well, in our family!) and I recently asked her for the recipe. She cheats and uses pastry mix! The shame, lol!