Pie Crusts

There are a few types of pie crust that you need to be familiar with when making pies.  They vary in difficulty and in texture.  They are a Traditional Pastry Crust and a Graham Cracker Crust (or Crumble Crust).  I'm also including Sarah's recipe for Gluten Free Pastry Dough for those that are interested.

The Traditional Pastry Crust is made using a fat (typically shortening or butter) and flour.  It can be savory or sweet, but the typical pie crust is savory (using salt instead of sugar).  When making this type of crust, you use a pastry cutter, or two knives, to "cut" the fat into the flour.  This takes practice.  Practice, practice, practice.  But if you are patient, and your guinea pigs willing, you will end up with a fantastic crust.  My biggest piece of advice when making this is to not overdo the water.  You will be tempted!  But DO NOT!  The dough should not be sticky, but moist enough to hold itself together.  I have also learned that refrigerating your dough is an important step.

Graham Cracker Crusts, or Crumble Crusts, are simply made of exactly that - crumbs!  Mostly you would use graham cracker crumbs, but I've also used cookie crumbs.  Most often used are Oreos, shortbread cookies, or sugar cookies.  This type of crust uses the crumbs as your dry ingredient, and butter as your fat.  They do not have to be baked, but baking them does solidify your fat and dry the crust out.  BUT, they should not be used as a base for pies that need to be baked for a long period of time.  Generally, Crumble Crusts are good for pies that do not require baking such as pudding pies or fresh fruit pies.

Here are the recipes for both types of crusts, including the Gluten Free recipe from Sarah.  Again, practice makes perfect.  Don't let pie crusts intimidate you.  If you go to my Amazon Store, you'll find pie plates, pastry cutter, rolling pin, and other items that you need to make pies.

Pastry Crust

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*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

Graham Cracker Crust

1 1/3 cup graham cracker crumbs (about 8 graham crackers)
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. ginger (optional)
6 Tbs. butter, melted


1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

2. In a medium bowl, combine graham cracker crumbs, sugar, cinnamon and optional ginger.  Stir until all ingredients are incorporated.  Add melted butter and toss with a fork until all crumbs are coated and small clumps start to form.

3. Press mixture into the bottom and sides of a 9" pie plate, smoothing out ridges and holes with the back of a spoon.

4. Bake for 6-8 minutes or until crust begins to brown.

Gluten Free Pastry Crust


3 ½ cups gluten-free pie crust mix (Sarah uses Augason Farms brand)
½ tsp. salt
1 cup vegetable shortening (or any other substitute)
1/2 cup sour cream (Sarah uses Tofutti dairy-free brand)
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
¼ cup very cold water


1. Add salt to pie crust mix. Cut shortening and sour cream into mix using a pastry cutter or 2 knives, until the mix resembles small peas.

2. Add eggs, vanilla, and water and stir into flour mixture until smooth. (I recommend mixing with your hands.)

3. Form 2-3 balls. Place one ball between two pieces of wax paper (or parchment paper) and roll out to fit your desired pie tin. You can also cover these with plastic wrap and let them chill in the refrigerator until you need them.