Pie crusts

When it comes to pie, two is better than none

This is my standard ratio for a single pie crust. Double it for a top and bottom sheet. I only use butter, which gives the dough a better flavor and makes it puffier.

Many things can be added to increase the crust’s flavor such as orange juice, fruit zest, and vinegar. Nuts with a lot of fat can be ground up and added as well, but the ratio of butter will need to be reduced equally. That means for every tablespoon of ground nuts omit a tablespoon of butter. When working the dough together don’t over do it. You want to form it into a smooth ball quickly. I like to refrigerate the dough for 1/2 hour before rolling it out. This chills the butter so it rolls out better.

Pie Crust

  • 1 cup unbleached white flour
  • 5 tbsp cold unsalted butter
  • 3-6 tbsp ice water

Cut butter into small chunks and add to flour. Using a fork or pastry blender cut the butter until flour resembles coarse crumbs. Take a handful of the mixture and clench it in your fist. If the flour comes together in a rough mass there is enough butter in it. If it remains too dry to hold together add a tablespoon of butter at a time until the consistency is correct. Slowly add ice water to flour a tablespoon at a time until it pulls together into a rough dough. Knead quickly to form a smooth ball adding more water if the dough is too crumbly. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for one hour. On a floured surface, roll out the dough to desired thickness, place in greased pie pan and prick with fork all over. Follow whatever recipe directions you happen to be making next. If the pie shell needs to be baked, first place a piece of tin foil inside pie shell and fill with dry beans. This helps hold the crust down while it bakes and the beans can be reused in dishes and food after baking.

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About Rufus' Food and Spirits Guide

This blog attempts to collect some of the things I try to create with food and booze. Sometimes I succeed and sometimes I fail. My hope is to entertain and maybe help people think a little harder about what they decide to eat and drink.
This entry was posted in Dessert, Recipes, Sides and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

63 Responses to Pie crusts

  1. ChgoJohn says:

    I have to admit that I wish this recipe was around several years ago when I was experimenting with (apple) pie crusts. I’ve learned to trust your recipes and this one would have saved me a lot of guess work, not to mention the poor apples. No matter. Thanks for sharing another great recipe.

  2. Great pie crust recipe Greg!
    Have a happy Sunday. :-) Mandy

  3. Just got in from a hockey game! I was planning to make pie tomorrow so this is awesome! Happy Canadian Thanksgiving:)

  4. Wow, that looks beautful and you make it sound so easy, any tips for how you crimp the edges so evenly?

  5. This is such a fantastic tutorial. I have a bit of a fear of making pastry but this makes it look so straighforward. Love the tips about the butter and flour – exactly how I like to cook. Thanks so much – will be giving this a go very soon and will let you know how it turns out for me!

  6. Zoe @ Pantry and Fridge says:

    I’m working my way into pie. I’ve only just mastered pizza dough. :)

  7. It took me ages to consistantly get a good pastry- years and years. I usually put vinegar in, but I have no idea why- it’s just seems to work!
    …actually I’m feeling a little peckish, a slice of pie would be just the thing.

  8. That photo is fantastic, keep thinking up of all the different fillings that could be used . . .

  9. Charles says:

    Don’t you find it’s a bit too rich with just pure butter? I always try to make it half butter / half vegetable fat because it’s so rich otherwise. Looks really pretty though!

  10. Wait – did you just make and unmold that beautiful fluted crust to photograph it?
    And it stayed in one piece?
    I dunno, Boy…that’s dangerously close to Dark Arts territory…. :D

  11. sallybr says:

    Usually I make the pie dough and by the time the first tear rolls down my face, my husband takes over and rolls it out for me. Let me just clarify, it is tear of anger. At that point the rolling pin is about to fly. I’ve got issues with pie crust…. (sigh)

    Will use your tutorial next time I’m feeling brave enough to make a pie! :-)

  12. My sister (Chunklet’s mom) has requested a pecan pie with homemade crust. I’ll be following your technique for sure!

  13. Oh the PIE CRUST
    it is my FAVORITE part of any pie….Actually I prefer not to even eat any pie fillings, I simplt go straight for that ‘Hopefully’ Homemade crust
    Please stop by and say hi!
    –bB
    http://www.itsybitsybrianna.wordpress.com

  14. ceciliag says:

    Oh I love pastry, or pie crust. And i completely agree, butter is the king! c

  15. Sandra says:

    Have to tell you I LOVE your blog. Made several of the recipes and have my only little Rufus Foldder set up to save them. Keep it up!

  16. Judy says:

    I always make more than I need so we can sprinkle the leftover with cinnamon and sugar, which is my kid’s favorite party.

  17. Looks like a beautiful crust. The big question is what kind of pie are you making? Guess I’ll have to tune in tomorrow.

  18. Sissi says:

    Thanks for this very useful and informative post. Even though I use ready-made crust most of the time, I only buy the 100% butter one and if I make mine I also only use butter. I think not only the taste but the texture is also important (although I have never used pork or beef fat, I am wondering what the taste would be like…).
    I also use the beans trick. I have a big jar of old beans I use only for blind baking.

  19. JamieAnne says:

    The beans are a great tip!

  20. Rachel says:

    Vinegar? In pie crust?? How? Why? Tell us more… please!!

  21. I use to make pie crusts all the time. Now, I need a little practice with kneading the dough, it you work it too much you over work the gluten and it doesn’t come out right. A fews years back I had a food science class and one of our lab assignments was to make pie crust. We had about 7 mini kitchen stations, our group had margerine to make the pie crust….didn’t come out b/c margerine has a high water content compared to butter. Lard had the best results with butter coming in second, acording to our class group discussion but that was for the perfect flaky crust. Butter won all around for flavor and color. BTW your pie crust looks perfect!

  22. nrhatch says:

    It’s amazing how a few ingredients become more than the sum of their parts. :D

  23. nancyc says:

    I hate to admit this, but I’ve never made a homemade pie crust! Maybe it’s time I did–thanks for sharing your recipe!

  24. spicegirlfla says:

    Pure and simple, I totally agree with your recipe. Of course, I do add vodka.. :) but you know me. It was my switch from using vinegar in the past. Sooo…I know SOMETHING is going to fill that pie crust…please do tell!!!

  25. Ginger says:

    Fantastic shot!

  26. Stef says:

    Your crust looks PERFECT. Seriously. I avoid recipes that ask/require me to “cut butter into” anything – as they NEVER work for me. Sad. :(

  27. I am not a good pie maker; my crusts are usually tough, probably from over working the dough! I will try this crust, perhaps with John’s thingamajig when I get back to the city.

  28. Kelly says:

    very happy to have a basic pastry recipe for pies and other yummies. I will try this with cinnamon rolls and see how i make out. thanks!

  29. TasteFood says:

    Your pastry looks beautiful!

  30. I’ll have to try this one! My mom’s recipe uses shortening, so I’d love to try one that uses butter!

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  32. I swear, I don’t think I’ve ever seen a cleaner, more delicious looking pie crust + work bench than this one… Amazing job well done!!

  33. Great tips! This is a lot like my crust recipe, but I never bothered with the refrigeration step. My crusts were always very tasty, but tended to be a bit smushed and hard to roll out. Now they will be delicious and pretty!

  34. You did a wonderful job with this pie crust. I wonder what pie you’re making but your pie crust looks amazing.

  35. Kristy says:

    You know I love pie crusts – this is beautifully done. I love a butter crust!

  36. Jessica says:

    I think I’ve been avoiding pie crust for the past several years, but finally bit the bullet last week and it was a success! The crust, anyway… Love the photo!

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  40. Sophie33 says:

    Your pie crusts look easy to make & thanks so much for the useful tips too!
    I only made pastry myself a few times & this one looks like a real winner!

    You also have a COOL foodblog! :)

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