Basic Pie Crust Recipe: Tips & Secrets for Making a Perfect Crust

Once you have a great basic pie crust recipe, making pie becomes something one dreams about. Well, wait no longer. I got you. It’s easy and once you read through the tips, you’ll have a lovely, flaky crust every time.

Basic Pie Crust Tips and Secrets

  1. Chill – The butter needs to be cold. The dough needs to rest in the fridge before using.
  2. Don’t smother with attention – Pie crust is an introvert in the world of pastry, so take it easy and handle with care. Too much touching will overwork the gluten in the flour and make it rubbery.
  3. Don’t drown it – Use as little water as possible. Again, too much will make the dough rubbery.
  4. Nobody wants a soggy bottom – Be sure to parbake your bottom crust or, well, your bottom will be soggy… and rubbery.
  5.  Weight matters – use pie weights (or dry beans) to weigh down bottom crust for the parbake. This (and refrigerating and using less water) helps keep the pie crust from shrinking while baking.

Pie Crust Ingredients

  • 2 cups flour
  • 1/2 cup (one stick) unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 6 tablespoons very cold water (approximate)

Place all pie crust ingredients in food processor except for water. Pulse until butter is incorporated with flour & sugar. Preheat oven to 350F.

Continue to pulse and slowly add water until mixture begins to form a dough. Keep in mind, less water is best. Yeah. Like that.

Without touching dough too much, form into two balls. Gently wrap dough balls in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 – 60 minutes.

Yeast dough loves to be played with but pie crust does not. A cold pie crust is a flaky pie crust. Keep things cool by not touching the crust too much.

Roll each dough ball out into a large circle – just a little bigger than your pie plate.

The easiest way I’ve found to transport the pie crust into the pie plate is to fold it in quarters.

And then place it into the pie plate and carefully unfold.

The Parbake

Pre-bake (also known as parbaking) the bottom pie crust to prevent a soggy pie. To do this, place a piece of foil over the bottom crust. Place about a cup pie weights or dry beans. Beans cannot be used for eating after this as they will no longer cook properly, but they can be saved for another day of pie making.

Simply fold extra crust under and then pinch along the entire pie to for an edge. A little flour on the fingers helps the fingers not to stick to the pie crust as you do this.

Bake pie crust in preheated oven for about 13 minutes or until crust edges are light golden brown.

Pour filling into bottom pie crust.

The Topper

Place second pie crust over the pie. If you like, you can use a cookie-cutter to cut out a small circle in the center and then place it over the pie. If you want to get fancy, you can do latticework. Otherwise, you can just place the crust over the pie and then cut some slits in the middle of the top crust.

The Edge

For the edge, just fold excess under and then pinch again all around the edge. The edges look prettier with practice. Rustic is okay. No worries.

Brush top pie with beaten egg. Place in oven and bake for about 45 minutes (depending on your recipe) or until top crust is golden brown and filling is bubbling. Allow the pie to set for at least a half hour so the filling can set well. It will still be warm enough to enjoy with ice cream if you like.

basic pie crust

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