So many recipes and posts and cookbooks out there talk about how they have an easy flaky pie crust recipe, so I know you are skeptical. Because you’ve made pie crust and you’re not an expert and it was never as easy or as flaky as promised. Guess what? I’m not an expert pastry chef either! I love making pie so I’ve made LOTS of pie crust and there have been times when I’ve wished that pie crust wasn’t so darn fiddly. With this pie crust I finally have a recipe which is easy and is flaky and isn’t fiddly. It simply requires that you do everything differently.
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Over the years I’ve tried every sort of recipe on pie crust that I’ve seen, and they all make a pie when I’m done. But don’t get anything wrong or you’re in trouble! I’ve had my share of crusts which tore, cracked, got tough, or just wouldn’t come together.
Vinegar? Tried it. Egg? Tried it. (And I do like egg in a tart dough!) Vodka? Been there. All shortening? Grew up on that. By hand? Food processor? Butter and shortening? Yes, yes, yes! Beat the heck out of the dough? I still like that one – good for getting out aggressions and makes a great, homemade puff pastry.
But I would throw out every one of those crust recipes for this one! I discovered it on the Serious Eats site when I clicked on their recipe for Easy Pie Dough earlier this year and I am a convert. It’s flaky. It’s easy. And it overturns everything every other crust recipe gives as gospel.
This year don’t buy a premade supermarket crust and don’t make a fiddly ‘flakes of butter’ crust which turns into a mess if you get it warm. This year make my easy flaky pie crust. Perfect pie crust isn’t for pastry chefs anymore. It’s for anyone with a food processor.
For more info on how this crust works: The Science of Pie Dough
Eight ounces of the flour is in my mixer and four and 1/2 ounces are in the bowl. I use my scale to measure all the flour into the bowl and then scoop out until I get to about 4 ounces left.
As for the sugar, only use that if you are making a sweet crust! I personally find it weird tasting when I’ve forgotten and added it to the crust for a savory dish.
See how completely mixed that is? Don’t be afraid!
Get it all mixed in.
The spatula is important! You want to fold and mix the water in and the flat side of the spatula is perfect for that.
And then when you’re done? Look at those smooth discs of dough. Like play-doh and as easy to form into shapes.
– Happy Pie Making, Annemarie
For this recipe I used the following:
- 2 1/2 cups (12 1/2 oz) all purpose flour
- 2 tbsp granulated sugar
- 1/2 tsp table salt
- 2 1/2 sticks (10 oz, 20 tbsp) cold unsalted butter, cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch thick pieces
- 6 tbsp (3 oz) cold water
Add 2/3 (about 8 oz) of the flour to the bowl of food processor. Add in the sugar and salt and pulse to combine. Lay out the butter evenly over the surface of the flour. Begin pulsing the flour and butter together. Continue until the flour and butter are completely combined and there is no dry flour in the processor and the dough has clumped up.
Spread out the dough with a rubber spatula and then sprinkle the remaining flour over the top. Pulse just few times, 5-6 quick pulses, to break up the dough. Transfer the dough to a large bowl.
Sprinkle the water over the dough and use the rubber spatula to fold and mix the water into the dough. Once the water is mixed in and the dough has become a cohesive ball, turn out the dough onto a well floured surface. Divide the dough in half and shape each half into a disc. Wrap each disc in plastic wrap and let it rest in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours and up to 3 days.
After the dough has rested, use it in any recipe calling for one or two 9-inch pie crusts.
Adapted from Easy Pie Dough by Serious Eats.
This recipe will make two 9-inch pie crusts.
Don't be afraid to work the dough after you've added the water and are forming it into discs. I fold and press the dough a few times by hand so that it makes a nice, smooth ball which I can shape into a disc.
I have found that this dough is forgiving even if your butter isn't completely cold. I made a perfect pie on a hot day where my butter had softened before I made the dough. However, I would recommend going with the cold butter since that does remove a variable.
As you can see from my pictures up above, I like to roll out my dough on sheets of wax paper. I find it helps when it's time to transfer the rolled crust to the pie pan. I put two sheets below the dough and sprinkle both the wax paper and the dough with flour. Once I'm done I can lift up the whole crust with the wax paper and easily move it to my pie pan and then peel off the wax paper.
Whether you use wax paper or not, make sure you use a well floured surface, dough, and rolling pin. Flour everything!
One more thing - when you are ready to roll make sure you let the dough sit out until it's pliable. Refrigerated dough is too cold to roll and will crack as you work. Your fingers should leave an imprint but not sink in.