Recipes for Life

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Pie Crust

Whether it surrounds a sweet dessert or enfolds a savory pasty, nothing makes a pie like a flakey, golden pastry crust.

Quality ingredients are always key to making great food. Yet, the secret to an exceptionally tender crust is all about technique.

The goal is to create layered pockets of butter within the pastry dough. When the dough bakes, these melt creating pockets of air.

Keeping everything cold, not over kneading and using barely enough liquid are key to making great pastries.

Prep time:

15 minutes




Step 0. Chill the Water

Place the water in the freezer to make it extremely cold. 


Step 1. Cut in the Butter

Cut the chilled butter into the flour with a pastry tool (or fork) only until pea sized bits of butter remain.

Yes. It is lumpy. It is okay.


Step 2. Mix the Dough

Add the water a little at a time.  Mix using your hand to incorporate the crumbles just until the dough sticks together. 

It may seem dry and too crumbly, but here, less water is more!

Once it forms a ball in the center, grab it in your hand to mop up the remaining crumbles. Now, you are ready to roll. 

If it has gotten too warm (it will start to feel sticky), cover and place the dough in the refrigerator to chill.


Step 3. Roll the Crust 

Cut the dough roughly in half. I make one half a little bigger because generally the bottom crust needs to be a bit larger than the top.

Pat each half into a ball and flatten it on both side just a little. Cover and place the other half into the refrigerator.

Roll out one crust on a floured surface with a rolling pin.

As you roll, sprinkle the top with flour. Do not squish or press hard, just let the weight of the pin do the work. 

Flip over the dough and turn the dough 90 degrees after each roll.  Add more flour to the board and sprinkle some on the top. If it sticks, use a flat metal spatula to loosen it. Add more flour to the board and then keep rolling.

Roll in various directions to maintain a circular shape.

When the dough is a 1/4 inch thick circle, fold the dough in half and lift into the pie dish. Unfold and pat gently to form it to the dish. Place in the refrigerator until ready to fill.


Open Pie*

If making an open pie, trim dough to 1 inch. Then, pinch and fold to make the pleated edging before filling.

Fill and bake according to specific pie directions.

*If not using the second crust immediately, roll it out anyway and freeze it in a pie dish covered in aluminum foil for easy use later. Keeps for 1-2 months frozen.


Double Crust Pie

If making a pie with an upper crust, roll out the second crust as described above.

Remove the bottom crust from the fridge. Fill and cover with the top crust. Trim the dough to 1 inch all the way around.

Pinch and fold to seal the top crust to the bottom and make the pleated edging. 

Cut several slits in the top of the pie to release steam.

Bake according to specific pie instructions.


Have extra dough from the edges? Roll it out to make pretty shapes to place on the pie. Or put it on a cookie sheet and sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar. Bake until golden.