Pie dough can seem intimidating. It’s one of those things that only pastry chefs or grandmas are supposed to be good at making. But making your own piecrust isn’t as hard as people make it out to be, and a homemade crust makes all the difference between a good pie and a great pie. The only tools you need are two dinner knives and a bowl. Then you’re set to impress with a flaky, buttery crust that melts on your tongue. Even Grandma will love it.
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 10 minutes
Servings: 2 double crusted 9-inch pies, or 2 10-inch galettes or tarts
5 ¼ cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon kosher salt
12 tablespoons unsalted butter, chilled, cut into small pieces
1 ¾ cups solid vegetable shortening, chilled, cut into small pieces
1 cup ice water
1. Combine the flour and salt in a large bowl (or the dough can be made in a food processor).
2. Add the chilled butter and cut into the flour until it is coarse and crumbly (the crumbs should be a little bigger than pea-sized) – to cut the butter into the flour, take two dinner knives and moving them parallel to each other, in opposite directions, cut the butter until it is mixed into the flour (watch the video to see a visual). You can also use a pastry cutter instead of two knives.
3. Add the chilled shortening and cut into the flour until the mixture is crumbly again and pieces are pea-sized.
4. Add the ice water and mix just until the water is incorporated and the dough sticks together when pinched (if your dough isn’t sticking together then you can add more water, a little at a time, until it does stick together).
5. Dust your hands with flour (the dough should be sticky) and pull the dough out onto a lightly floured surface.
6. Pat the dough into a block and wrap it tightly with plastic wrap. Let chill in the refrigerator at least 1 hour before using.
Tips: Cut up your butter and shortening into small cubes and then put them in the freezer so they can get really cold. Only take them out right when you need them – for the best crust you want your ingredients as cold as possible.
The dough will last in the fridge up to 4 days or in the freezer up to a month. Double wrap in plastic if planning to freeze. Defrost by placing the dough in the fridge for 1 day, or by leaving it out at room temperature, but in that case, re-chill the dough for 1 hour before using (you always want your dough to be cold).
Many recipes call for a pre-baked piecrust (quiches, some pies). Here are instructions for how to pre-bake the dough:
1. Shape the chilled pie dough into a ball on a floured surface with floured hands.
2. Flatten the ball slightly then roll it out into a 14-inch circle (or whatever is a little bigger than your pie pan) and ¼ of an inch thick, rotating and flipping your crust over so it doesn’t stick. If needed you can add a little flour to the surface to prevent it from sticking.
3. Roll the dough onto your rolling pin or fold it into quarters and lift it into your pie pan. Unfold the dough and press it into the pan, trimming the edges so you have 1/4 –inch hanging over the edge.
4. Fold the overhanging edge under and press it together to form a nice border – you can get fancy and make scalloped edges or just leave it plain.
5. Chill in the fridge for at least 30 min or up to overnight. You can also wrap it in plastic and freeze it for a month.
6. When you are ready to bake the pie shell, preheat the oven to 375°F.
7. Line the pie shell with an oversized piece of parchment paper or aluminum foil and fill it with dried beans, rice or pie weights (I filled mine with a mixture of lentils and rice). Press the beans down to make sure there are no air pockets.
8. Bake shell on the center rack for 25-30 min until the edges are golden brown.
9. Remove shell from the oven and let it sit for 15-20 minutes then take out the beans and paper to see if the bottom is done.
10. If the bottom of your crust still looks wet, put it back in the oven for 2-3 minutes until it is dry and light, golden brown. If bubbles appear, carefully press them with a dishtowel.
11. Let the pie shell cool completely before you fill it. If there are any cracks in your pie shell, fill them with just enough raw pie dough so that the filling won’t leak out.