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How to Make Pie Crust

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Have you made pie? This might sound silly coming from a born-and-raised Midwesterner, but I’m relatively new to pie-making. Some of my excuses: I’m spoiled with a mother, mothers-in-law, and a grandmother who make standout pies, I’ve never been good at baking, it’s too time consuming, etc. Plus, pie crust is full of butter and refined flour, which doesn’t quite fit for people who care passionately about food and nutrition. Right?

Well, just as Alex and I eat 90% vegetarian, we take the same approach with healthy eating: we eat healthy + whole foods about 90% of the time, leaving the other 10% for whatever dessert or decadent item we want. We’ve found this “moderate” approach makes our diet manageable. So when my mom asked if she could share a special summer pie recipe with you that was neither healthy or whole, we were all in.

As kids, my sister and I learned an intense love for this particular pie, which would appear just 2 to 3 times per summer. It was a lesson in moderation, and perhaps made the pie even better in our minds. More on that pie — tomorrow!

But the first step to special pie: the crust. It’s surprising how quickly this recipe comes together, and a great activity to do with friends, loved ones, or even kids.

Yes, it might take a little longer than picking up a store-bought pie, but as Alex and I drank our coffee together on a Saturday morning and rolled out the dough, we knew there was something special in spending a quiet morning in an age-old tradition.

If it’s your first time making your own dough, make sure to read the recipe carefully and don’t expect perfection. We’ve found from experience that it comes with time. And the best part: dough scraps! You can put cinnamon sugar on them and bake them along with the pie, or just eat them raw, which is our preference — any other dough fiends out there?

PS Apologies to our gluten-free, vegan and Paleo friends! This one’s all butter and flour – but we’d love to hear your favorite crust recipes!

How to Make Pie Crust
 
by:
Serves: 2 crusts
What You Need
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • ¾ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • 11 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 5-7 tablespoons cool water
  • 2 9-inch pie pans
  • Pastry cloth and rolling pin cover (optional)
What To Do
  1. In a medium bowl, mix 2 cups all-purpose flour, ¾ teaspoon kosher salt, and ½ teaspoon baking powder. Slice the butter into pieces, then cut it into the flour mixture using a pastry blender until a coarse meal texture is obtained.
  2. Sprinkle about 5 tablespoons cool water over the flour, mixing gradually with fork until the dough sticks together. Add additional water by the tablespoon until the dough comes together but is not sticky (we added an additional 2 tablespoons - if you add too much water, add another bit of flour). Form the dough into two balls. If desired, chill the dough for about 15 minutes.
  3. If you have a pastry cloth, set it up and dust it with flour; otherwise, flour a clean work surface. Put on a rolling pin cover (optional), and coat the pin in extra flour. Place one ball of dough on the cloth and roll it evenly from the center to the edge, until the dough is about ⅛-inch thick. Trim the dough to an even 12-inch circle with a pizza cutter (which corresponds to the 9-inch circle on the pastry cloth).
  4. Using a rolling pin, transfer the dough to 9-inch pie pan. Gently center and push the pastry towards the bottom of the pan. Fold the 1-inch of overhanging dough backwards and seal it to form a rim. Using your index finger and thumb from one hand and a knuckle from your other hand, crimp the edges of the crust.
  5. Repeat Steps 3 and 4 with the second dough ball in a second pie pan. Cover this shell in plastic wrap or foil and freeze it for later use, which shortcuts the time to your next pie.
Notes
Source: Kristi Kuhnau

 

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14 Comments

  • Reply
    molly yeh
    July 21, 2014 at 8:33 am

    i LOVE these photos! i’ve been getting lazy and buying store-bought these days… but you may have inspired me to break out the pastry cloth.

    • Reply
      Sonja
      July 25, 2014 at 7:06 pm

      Thanks, lady! It’s actually wasn’t so bad – and freezing the second one made the second pie WAY easy!

  • Reply
    Jeanine
    July 21, 2014 at 1:53 pm

    You look like a pie pro! Gorgeous!

    • Reply
      Sonja
      July 25, 2014 at 7:05 pm

      Thanks so much, friend!

  • Reply
    hayley
    July 21, 2014 at 8:56 pm

    Lovely pictures and post! Seems super easy to make too! dailydoseofdarling.com

    • Reply
      Sonja
      July 25, 2014 at 7:04 pm

      Yes, it’s surprising how easy it was! Though we have tried a few times so have some practice…

  • Reply
    Chloe
    July 21, 2014 at 9:33 pm

    Love this post! It’s really all about moderation :) Who doesn’t enjoy a few spoonfuls of dough every once in awhile?!

    Chloe
    alattelipstick.com

    • Reply
      Sonja
      July 25, 2014 at 7:03 pm

      Haha, yes please! I’m a sucker for dough :)

  • Reply
    Elyse
    July 21, 2014 at 10:44 pm

    I love your pastry mat- so much easier than trying to guess when rolling and cutting.

    • Reply
      Sonja
      July 25, 2014 at 7:02 pm

      Yes! It’s a huge help – we love it!

  • Reply
    Nina
    July 22, 2014 at 9:19 am

    I started making my own pie dough a few years ago when I realisez how easy it was, and much healtiher than store-bought pie crust. Yeah, it may contain butter, you may use unrefined flour, but other than that there’s no hydrogenated fats or preservatives or nasty taste enhancers, food dyes, or anything with a name exceeding 12 letters that only a chemist would understand… So I’m convinced that homemade pie crust is way healthier! Plus, it tastes better and cooks better in the oven than store bought. If you want to make fit a bit more in your whole diet, you can use semi-whole wheat or spelt flour, and olive oil. I usually mix 150g of flour, 4 tbsp olive oil and a pinch of salt (plus 1 or 2 tsp sugar if making dough for a sweet pie like yours, but this is optional) in a bowl until crumbly and add water gradually until a ball forms. In the end, the taste of olive oil is very faint (but if you use strongly flavoured olive oil, you will taste it, which is sometimes a very good thins in savoury pies or even in sweet ones! Try it and you’ll be amazed!) and you can flavour your dough with herbs, spices, seeds, citrus peel, dried seaweed etc according to your needs and taste, or add in cornmeal or oats for a different texture!

    • Reply
      Sonja
      July 25, 2014 at 7:01 pm

      Nina, thanks for this wonderful idea! We’d love to try the whole wheat / olive oil variation! Next time :)

  • Reply
    TimedEating
    August 6, 2014 at 4:42 am

    Pie crust looks lovely. This shortcrust pastry is exactly the pastry I use for lemon meringue tart and it works a treat, although I crumb the butter and flour together by hand as I love getting my hands in there. Wondering why you add the baking powder though as it’s not traditional in shortcrust (pate brisée) but it might add some lift. The recipe for the lemon meringue tart is here if you’d like it timedeating.co.uk/lemon-meringue-tart

  • Reply
    TimedEating
    August 6, 2014 at 4:45 am

    Oh, one tip I picked up in prokitchens… when rolling the dough take two layers of cling film (I think you guys call it Serran Wrap in the US?). Place the dough on top of one and cover with the other. Then when you roll the dough won’t stick to the rolling pin and stays more even – this means you don’t have to add more flour which tightens the dough and reduces the crumbliness (which is the best bit!). Then to transfer the dough you simply remove one layer and can use the other layer to transfer.

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