How To Make A Pie Crust From Scratch

With the Fourth of July inching closer and closer on the calendar, there’s a chance you’re thinking about making fruit pies. And why wouldn’t you? Decadent, flaky and delicious, pies are a signature all-American dessert. However, the foundation of your pie is undoubtedly your pie crust.

It’s something that typically gets overshadowed by other ingredients, toppings and fillings, but it is vitally important to have a strong, solid pie crust set in place before you even begin thinking about making a pie. If you’ve been taking a culinary class online for a while now, you’ve likely been able to distinguish whether or not a pie crust is store-bought or homemade.

While store-bought pie crusts work great in a pinch, if you really want to wow your guests, you’ll want to make it from scratch.

There are a lot of pie crusts in baking & pastry arts, but the most classic of them all is the traditional French pâte brisée, or an all-butter pastry crust. This can be used for both savory and sweet pies and doesn’t have a lot of ingredients. However, it does require a bit of elbow grease and some training you’ve learned in the culinary academy.

Below is an excellent pâte brisée recipe from Simply Recipes. This version makes two 10-inch top and bottom crusts for your homemade pie, but if your pie filling only needs a bottom crust, just halve the ingredients needed for the pâte brisée.

What you’ll need:

  • 2 ½ cups all-purpose flour (make sure to leave a little extra flour for rolling the dough too, as it has a tendency to get sticky)
  • 6 to 8 tablespoons ice-cold water
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 sticks of butter, very cold, cut into ½-inch cubes

Side note: The recipe states that if you really want a flaky crust, your butter should be very cold. In fact, after you cube the butter, you could even toss it into a freezer-friendly plastic bag and let it chill in the freezer for a few hours, or even overnight. The colder the butter is, the flakier your crust will be.

The process:

After the butter has gotten very cold, place the salt, sugar and flour into a food processor bowl with a blade attachment. Mix the ingredients together by hitting the pulse button a few times, add about half of the butter, then pulse a few times more. Once it starts to get incorporated, add the remaining butter and pulse a few more times (the instructions say that you should stop once the largest chunks of butter resemble small peas).

Next, start adding about ¼ cup of the ice-cold water to the mixture and begin pulsing again, and add more if needed. Once the dough starts to form, take the mixture out of the food processor and bring it together in a disk while kneading with clean hands (don’t knead too much or the dough will get tough). Divide the dough into two disks, wrap them in plastic, then place them in the fridge for at least an hour.

Remove the dough disks, then roll them out with a pastry roller and flour until they are about a foot across. Place one of the crusts on a 9-inch pie plate, then add your filling or carry on with your pie recipe!

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