Pie Crust Recipe – How to Make it in 23 Simple Steps

While some people may believe that making a pie crust from scratch is too hard for beginning bakers, our instructions can help you tackle this skill. It can be tricky at first, but after you've made a few pie crusts, you'll develop a knack for making crusts.

Pricking the pie crust with a fork.

Pie Crust Recipe

When you make a pie crust for the first time, you'll probably have a few moments of frustration. Getting just the correct amount of water incorporated, making sure the dough isn't too wet or too dry, having dough stick to the countertop, and transferring the rolled out pie crust to a pan are all common problems for novice pie crust bakers.
Prep Time20 mins
Baking Time1 hr
Total Time1 hr 20 mins
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Pie Crust
Yield: 10 servings
Author: April Freeman

Equipment

  • Oven
  • Medium-sized mixing bowl
  • Fork
  • Pastry blender
  • Rolling Pin
  • Spatula
  • Refrigerator

Materials

  • 2 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup cold butter (You can also use shortening or lard. Shortening crusts are actually the easiest to make and are perfect for beginners, but chill the shortening before using.)
  • 1/4 to 1/2 cup ice water

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
  • In a medium-sized mixing bowl, using a fork, combine the flour and the salt.
  • Using a pastry blender or a fork, chop and cut the butter into the flour mixture.
  • The fat will be shredded into tiny bits.
  • When you have combined them enough, the mixture will resemble cornmeal.
  • Slowly drizzle the water into the flour, keeping the ice out of the mixture.
  • Start with 1/4 cup and then give it a little stir.
  • Add a few more splashes, stirring a bit after each addition. Only add enough water to make the dough start sticking together in large blobs.
  • Don't beat or whip the dough. Just give it a few stirs with the fork; overbeating the dough makes for a tough pie crust.
  • Once the pie crust starts coming together in a ball, use your hands to gather it up and gently squash it into a ball. There should be no dry areas left, but it shouldn't be sticky and gummy either.
  • The texture of playdough is about what you want. If the butter feels melty and soft, put it in the fridge for ten minutes or so.
  • Divide the ball into two halves on a clean, lightly floured surface.
  • Using a lightly floured rolling pin, gently roll the dough out into a 12-inch circle.
  • If you are worried about the dough sticking to the counter, use a spatula to kind of scrape underneath the pie dough round as you roll it out a little at a time.
  • You can flip it over after you have it rolled out about a third of the way, making sure that the surface underneath the pie dough is floured and not sticking.
  • Once you have the dough rolled out completely, dust the top of it with flour and then gently fold it into quarters. This will help you to more easily move the pie crust to the pan.
  • Unfold the quarters of the dough into the pie pan, centering it as best you can.
  • Create a decorative edging if you are going to blind bake the pie.
  • If you are making a traditional baked pie, put the filling in the pie crust, roll out the other piece of pie dough and top the pie with the top crust.
  • Create a decorative edging, pressing together the rims, and cut some vents in the pie to keep it from bubbling over in baking.
  • If you are blind baking the pie crust, refrigerate it for 30 minutes and then prick it all over and put the pie weights or dried beans in the crust.
  • Bake it at 475 degrees for 10 to 15 minutes.
  • If you are creating a traditionally baked, filled pie, follow the baking instructions for your recipe.

Notes

"Easy as pie" may be something that people say, but if you have never made a pie crust before, you may not be sure about how hard it is to make a pie crust. Some may have attempted making pie crust and decided that this project is not for novice bakers.
True, pie crust is one of those things that can be a bit tricky to learn on your own. While it's best to have an experienced baker to help you learn this skill, if you really want to, anyone can master making a pie crust even on their own. It is like any other skill--it just takes a little practice.
Have no fear though. You can learn how to do this. Your first pie crust may not be perfect, and that's okay. The second one will be a little better. By the time you have made four or five crusts, you start feeling better about making pie crusts and you'll start to develop the knack for it.
Eventually, if you keep at it, you won't even worry about making pie crusts, and you'll be able to do it with confidence. The main thing to remember is: Don't quit! Make at least four or five pie crusts before you give up. We're pretty sure that you will be able to do this much more easily after the first few times.
Pie crust consists of just a few simple ingredients. Generally, these are some sort of fat, like butter, lard, or shortening, flour, salt, and water. The fat is cut into tiny bits and incorporated into the flour mixed with salt. When you bake the crust, the tiny bits of fat melt into the flour and are absorbed by the dry ingredients.
This makes the pie crust flaky, light, and tender. The water in the pie crust combines with the flour on a microscopic level to create a protein called gluten which gives stability to the pie dough. When you bake the pie, the water evaporates creating flaky air pockets in the pie crust which can give a lightness to the crust.
Have you ever had a pie in which the bottom crust was soggy and underbaked? This often is related to using a pie pan that is not heavy enough. To make sure that the pie bottom bakes completely, use a heavy pan that absorbs heat evenly and slowly releases it during the baking time.
Those disposable aluminum pie pans from the grocery store are the worst! Buy a simple, basic glass pie pan, and it will bake your pie perfectly. You can also use a ceramic or cast iron pan. Metal pie pans are okay but go for the heaviest one that you can find.
If your pie is baked with a hot filling and top crust, you do not need to prebake the pie crust. However, if you are making a cold pie, like cream pies or another pie with a chilled filling, you'll want to prebake, or blind bake, your pie crust. Line the pie pan with the unbaked crust, and then prick it all over with a fork. This will help avoid bubbles forming while it bakes.
You can bake the pie crust without anything in it, but expert bakers know that it will work better if you put some pie weights in the crust. This helps the pie crust stay in place as the fats melt and the pie crust bakes. Baking supply stores have metal weights, but you can also use dried beans as you bake the pie.
Simply place a piece of parchment paper in the unbaked pie shell and put the beans or pie weights in that. Prebaking a pie shell doesn't take long. Usually, you'll only need to bake it for 15 minutes or so. Also, if you chill the pie crust in the fridge for half an hour before you blind bake it, it will help the crust to not shrink in baking.
Below is the recipe for a basic double pie crust. This will make a top and bottom crust. If you don't need both crusts for the pie that you are making, you can simply cut the recipe in half. Alternately, you can take half of the dough, gently shape it into a ball, wrap it in plastic wrap and store it in the freezer for up to three months or in the fridge for up to two weeks. Then, you will have a crust handy for your next pie. To thaw a frozen pie crust, just put it in the fridge overnight.

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