Pie crust really is not that difficult to make. It seems daunting to some, but all you need is “cold” and “time”!! Cold being the key to good pie crust and once you make your pie crust for the first time, you will be making your own pie crust over and over. There really is nothing more satisfying than making an entire pie from scratch. While it is time consuming, the pie crust is the foundation for the most delicious pies ever. So, do not be intimidated and open the door to a new baking experience. Just note, everything starts 1 to 2 nights before. Freeze your butter the night before. Put your shortening in the fridge and place your pastry cutter or two forks in the mixing bowl and also place in the fridge the night before. Remember, Cold is the key to a good crust!!
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus a wee bit more for rolling out and shaping
1 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, chilled and cubed
2/3 cup shortening, chilled
1/2 up ice cold water
*This recipe makes 2 crusts
1. Place your butter in the freezer the night before and place in the fridge a few hours before staring your dough. Keep the shortening in the fridge before using. Pour your water into a container with ice cubes and keep in fridge before using. Keep your mixing bowl, pastry cutter, and/or two forks in the fridge before using.
2. In a separate large bowl, whisk the flour and salt together. Now place the flour in your cold mixing bowl and add the cubed butter and shortening. Using your cold pastry cutter or two forks, cut the butter and shortening into the flour until it resembles coarse meal. The results will look like pea-sized bits with a few larger bits of fat. DO NOT overwork this. You are only incorporating.
3. Measure out 1/2 cup of ice water and drizzle in 1 tablespoon at a time. Stir with a wooden spoon after every tablespoon. Stop adding water once your dough begins to form large clumps. It does usually take about 1/2 of ice water. Though a change in flour or the time of the year will mean less or more water.
4. Transfer your crust to a floured board or counter. Flour your hands and fold the dough into itself until the fats are fully incorporated. Your dough will not feel sticky. If the dough is dry and crumbly, add more water. If dough is sticky, add more flour. DO NOT overwork. Form into a round disc and cut in half. Wrap each half in plastic wrap and place in the fridge. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours or over night. I usually do it over night and sometimes I have left it in the fridge for a few days.
5. Once your dough has chilled, you can roll it out. Work with one crust at a time. Pound it with your rolling pin a couple of times before taking it out of the plastic wrap. Flour your rolling pin and surface and start from the center. Rotate the dough and flip as you are rolling out the pie crust. You may have to flour the rolling pin or the surface between passes. Roll out the dough to a very thin 12 inch circle. Your pie crust will be about 1/8 inch thick, this is quite thin. You will see specks of butter an shortening.
6. Use your rolling pin to place the pie crust on your pie plate and proceed according to your pie recipe instructions. Some recipes require you to par-bake the pie crust and some do not.
7. If you are making 2 or 3 pies that require a top and bottom crust or 3 pies needing just a bottom crust, you must make 2 separate batches. DO NOT double this recipe. Doubling the recipe will lead to over working the dough which will ruin the pie crust.
*NOTES: Use a glass mixing bowl. Use table salt. Pie dough can be frozen up to 3 months ahead of time. If you do freeze the dough, thaw overnight in the fridge before using. When the holidays are approaching, I usually make the dough and freeze ahead of time.
Have fun and enjoy the end results. You will LOVE LOVE LOVE and your family and friends will think you are the absolute bomb!!!
Cheers, Drew Frederic