How to make pie crust!

OK, I have to admit, I don’t like making pie crust, but I dislike the refrigerated more.  I love the convenience, but am not crazy over the flavor.

So if you want to give homemade pie crust a shot, here’s how you do it.

Lets start off with a few tips for success.

Cold ingredients, cold fat, cold water, cool room.  The cold ingredients will help the crust become flaky, the cold water will help the dough stay cool, and the cool room will help the crust stay easy to work with.  I don’t preheat my oven while working with the dough, because my kitchen is small and enclosed and can heat up fast.

Don’t over work the dough.  Overworking the dough can make the crust tough, and ruin all the work that you did, to cut in the fat.


Here we go, here’s what you’ll need.

Ok, got your stuff?  Lets get started!

Now combine the dry ingredients in a bowl.

Then take your cold fat, cut in chunks, and add to the dry ingredients.  I like to use 1/2 shortening and half butter.  The shortening makes for a tender crust, butter helps with flakiness, and flavor.  Don’t be afraid of the fat, this is pie, dessert, live a little!

Now with a pastry cutter, cut the fat into the dry ingredients.

Now cut in the fat until it resembles coarse meal with larger chunks of fat still remaining, about the size of peas… or corn kernels, whichever you like better.

Now add just enough liquid to form a crumbly dough.  You want to stay slightly on the dry side, too much water will activate the gluten too much, making it less tender.

If you are making a one crust pie recipe, wrap the entire ball of dough in plastic wrap.  If a two crust divide in half and wrap individually.

Now roll the edges on the counter to make nice flat sides.  This will help when rolling out dough, it will minimize the cracking around the edges.

Now place in the fridge for about a 1/2 hour, in this time the dough will soak up the liquid and become a bit less dry.  If you leave in the fridge longer, let it sit out for 10-15 minutes to soften slightly, this will make it easier to roll.

When ready to roll out, dust a clean surface with flour and coat a rolling pin with flour as well.

dust the dough with some flour, not too much, just enough to prevent sticking.

No fancy schmancy rolling pin here, just an old basic one.

Now start rolling.  Go slow, be patient, this isn’t a race.  Keep checking to make sure that the crust isn’t sticking to the counter.  Roll from the center out toward the edges, lifting the pin when you get near the edges, try not to roll the edges too much, this will help minimize splitting edges.

now for a standard 9″ pie, you will want to roll the crust to at least 11 inches, this will give you enough slack to crimp the edges.

Don’t have a ruler or tape measure?  No problem, just use a roll of plastic wrap, it is about 12 inches wide, just roll out a little smaller than that!  Didn’t think of doing that did ya?

Look, name brand plastic wrap, as cheap as I am, I don’t skimp!

Now lets get it in the pan.  Now this is where a warm kitchen can cause problems, the dough will be hard to handle if the room is warm.  If you made sure that the dough wasn’t sticking, it should just roll right on to the rolling pin.

now unroll over your pie pan, and help guide the dough into the shape of the pan.

Using scissors, or if you have a flat edge like mine use a knife to remove the excess dough.

If you are doing a one crust pie, like pecan or pumpkin, you can flute the edges now and fill.

Or you can fill

and using the procedure above, roll out the second crust and place on the top

trim the excess, leaving a bit of overhang.

Now tuck the top crust under the bottom crust all around to seal the pie shut.

Now you can crimp the crust simply by pressing with a fork, or crimp in a more decorative way.  I used my thumb and forefinger, placing on the edge of the crust, and using a finger from the other hand (preferably your own) press the crust in between your thumb and forefinger creating a V shape, continue all around the edge.

Now bake as directed.

Now if you want a single baked crust, for a cream pie, you can blind bake the crust.  Blind baking is baking the crust empty.  This can be tricky, often if you just place the crust in the oven, it will shrink into the bottom of the pan and puff up in the middle, I’m going to show you how to avoid that,

First, take the crust that you have rolled out, placed in pan and crimped, and line with aluminum foil, gently pushing it into the shape of the pan.

And fill with about 2 pounds of beans, rice or pie weights.  I keep using the same beans over and over, I only use them for this purpose, they were much cheaper than pie weights.

Bake the bean filled crust for 15-20 minutes @ 350 degrees, or until the edge of the crust is light brown.

Remove the beans by lifting out with foil

As you can see, its a bit undercooked so we will place it back in the oven for another 10-15 minutes until it is golden brown all over.

Still awake?  I know it was a long post, but I wanted to show you step by step.  I encourage you to try making your own pie crust, you’ll be the Thanksgiving hero, and you’ll finally be loved by the in-laws, all because you now have pie crust skills.  Go ahead, bask in the glow!

Dough for 2 crust pie

  • 2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup cold shortening, in chunks
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) cold butter, cut in chunks
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 6-8 Tablespoons ice water.

Make a half recipe for a one crust pie.


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