Pie Crust

Learning how to make a good pie crust has been a life long endeavor of mine.  It's something that I've really had to overcome my fears for.  I am a perfectionist, and so making a pie crust was intimidating to me.  Why?  Because I want all those yummy, flaky layers that a good pie crust should have.  It should not be tough or thick.  It should not be chewy.  It should be light, flaky, melt in your mouth.  In my opinion.

And yes, I am a shortening person for pie.  And not buttered flavor.  But if that is your speed, you can use buttered flavored shortening instead of regular in this recipe.  One thing I learned over the years is that you HAVE to use ice water.  If you use water that is room temp, it will be difficult to get a good crust.  It makes the shortening more solid and the dough easier to work with.  Yes, even if you are refrigerating it.  And if you don't own a pastry cutter, I really recommend you go out and get one.  It makes getting those chunks of shortening really cut into the flour.

The other tip I've learned through a lot (A LOT) of trial and error is that you need to add the water to your dough gradually.  If you live in a humid climate, you need less water.  If you live in a dry climate (hello!), you will need the exact max of the water required, possibly a Tbs. more.  If you've never made a pie crust, I recommend adding the minimum amount of water and then feeling the dough with your fingers.  It will most likely crumble, which is not what you want.  Add a little more water, work the dough a little, and continue until you can feel that the dough is no longer sticking to your fingers easily.  Then you should have an idea of how much water you will need.  ALSO, please remember that humidity levels vary from day to day.  So one day you may need 6 Tbs, the next day you might need 8!

The last best tip I can give you is to make sure you flour your surface well.  You want to get your crust fairly thin.  If you aren't sure how thin, place your pie plate in the center of the dough.  If you've got a good inch to 2 inches, you're good to go.  You just don't want to be pulling your crust out to the edges of the plate in order to get your flute.  If you do that, your crust will shrink and not lay flat in your plate. If it's more, you can still cut the excess off before you flute it.

Pie Crust

*This is a 2 crust recipe, simply divide in half for 1 crust.


2 cups + 2 Tbs. flour
1 tsp. salt
2/3 cup shortening
6-8 Tbs. ice water


1. In a medium bowl, mix flour and salt with a fork.  Make a well in the flour.  Cut shortening into cubes and place in well.

2. Using a pastry cutter or 2 knives, cut shortening into flour until pea sized pieces form.

3. Add 4 Tbs. water.  Toss mixture with a fork.  Add remaining water, 1 Tbs. at a time, tossing with a fork after each until dough can be formed into a ball with your hand.  **DO NOT ADD TOO MUCH WATER!** Dough should be only slightly sticky.  Leave ball in bowl and cover with plastic wrap.  Place in fridge for 30 minutes.

4. Remove dough from fridge.  Sprinkle flour on your counter to prevent dough from sticking.  Place dough ball in center and using a rolling pin, roll out dough in a circle, turning dough over every so often to prevent sticking.  Place your pie plate in the center of the dough to make sure you have plenty of dough left to hang over sides.  Gently overlap dough in half and lay in pie plate.  Unfold and trim any excess dough off.  *Tip: Your dough should drape from the top of the pie plate to just touch the counter.

5. For 1 crust pies, flute your crust by folding and pinching edges together.  Preheat oven to 475 degrees.  Pierce the bottom of the crust using a fork.  Bake crust for 8-10 minutes or until golden brown.  Cool on wire rack.  Fill with desired filling.

6. For 2 crust pies (top and bottom), after placing the bottom crust in the pie plate, fill with filling, place top dough over pie plate, and pinch edges together.  Flute.  Pierce holes in the top crust with either a fork or knife.  Bake according to directions.

Makes 2, 9" pie crusts

Want a little help on fluting your pie crust?  Watch this video: