This simple recipe makes the best Homemade Flaky Pie Crust with an even texture that’s extra buttery. Using both shortening and butter makes the perfect golden crust.
The Best Homemade Flaky Pie Crust
There’s something infinitely heart-warming about making a pie completely from scratch and it starts with a simple pie crust. This recipe, which combines both shortening and butter makes a flaky pie crust that turns a perfect golden brown when baking.
Not only does it make the best pie crust, but it’s easy to prepare and very forgiving. This is my favorite pie crust recipe and one I prefer to use when making homemade pies.
Why Use Butter and Shortening?
An all-butter pie crust has a delicious and rich taste to it, however, butter on its own can be difficult to work with as fat because it softens so quickly. Both lard and shortening are easier to work with due to their consistency, but they don’t yield the same richly flavored crust. This is why I prefer to do a combination of both butter and shortening. You could also do butter and lard.
The other slight downside to an all-butter pie crust is that it doesn’t make the perfect edges because of the butter’s water content that converts to steam and creates flakes. It does, however, produce a lighter crust. Both are great but the combination of the butter and shortening creates the perfect texture.
How to Get a Flaky Pie Crust
The perfect flaky pie crust texture is achieved by using the right fat, which in this case is butter plus shortening, and properly working this fat into the dough before adding the water. Lard and shortening make the flakiest crusts because of their higher melting temperature.
Ingredients in the Best Flaky Pie Crust
Since there are few ingredients to preparing this simple pie crust recipe it’s key to use quality ingredients if you can. The butter especially makes a difference.
- All-Purpose Flour: for this recipe, you’ll need a standard all-purpose flour. I like to use white whole wheat flour that’s unbleached.
- Salt: adding salt will help balance the flavor so there isn’t any sweetness.
- Unsalted Butter chilled and cubed: since the recipe calls for salt you’ll need to use an unsalted butter that’s chilled (straight from the fridge). I like to cut my butter into cubes and place it back in the fridge for an additional 10 minutes to chill again.
- Vegetable Shortening chilled: measure our the shortening and then also place it in the fridge to chill before adding it to the dough.
- Ice Water: everything in this pie crust recipe needs to be chilled and the water is no different. The water helps the ingredients come together evenly.
How to Make the Best Homemade Flaky Pie Crust Recipe
- Mix the flour and salt. In a large bowl whisk the flour and salt together.
- Cut the fat into the flour. Using a pastry cutter cut the butter and shortening into the flour mixture.
- Spoon ice water in. Working with 1 tablespoon at a time add the water and use a spatula to mix together the dough.
- Work the dough. Place the dough on a floured surface and fold it together until the dough is formed.
- Separate into discs. Cut the dough in half and flatten into discs. Cover with plastic wrap and store in the fridge.
Tips for Making the Best Flaky Pie Crust
- Leave the cubed butter and shortening in the fridge until your ready to use them so they stay chilled.
- Make sure to spoon and level the flour! This is how flour should almost always be measured. To do so use a spoon to scoop the flour into the measuring cup and the back of a butter knife to scrape the excess off the top. Just scooping the flour up will cause you to have way too much.
- To get the perfect ice water measure 1/2 cup of water in a measuring cup and add some ice to it. Stir the ice around and from there measure out 1/2 cup of water for the recipe.
- Make sure to preheat the oven!
- Use the “rolling pin method” to transfer your pie dough to the pie dish. Place the rolling pin slightly to the side of the rolled out dough and carefully fold the dough over the pin. Use the rolling pin to carefully pick up the dough. Lay the pin in the middle of the pie dish and unfold the dough. Carefully press it in.
- Let the pie dough chill in the refrigerator in the pan for 15 minutes before cooking it to avoid the crust shrinking while it bakes.
Troubleshooting Pie Crust
- Avoid burnt edges: To keep your edges from getting burnt I recommend using a pie shield or covering your pie with aluminum foil and then cutting out the center to keep the edges covered.
- Fix crumbly dough: sprinkle some cold water over the dough, no more than a tablespoon, and carefully work it into the dough using your fingertips. If the dough gets to warm place it in the fridge to cool.
- Dough that breaks in the pie dish: after you’ve placed the dough in the pie dish use the excess to fill in the broken spaces.
- Camouflage a shrunken crust: use whipped cream or chocolate shavings to cover the shrunken crust or serve the pie already sliced.
What if you tend to overwork the crust?
There’s a little trick of adding vodka to the dough that helps if you tend to overwork it. Because the alcohol doesn’t encourage gluten formation it helps keep the crust flaky. To add it to your dough use 1/4 cup cold vodka and 1/4 cup cold water instead of all ice water.
How to Blind Bake a Pie Crust
Blind baking a pie crust is just a way to let the crust bake a little, or completely before adding the filling. Make sure to use pie weights when blinding baking this pie crust. Otherwise, it will puff up in the center and the edges will shrink.
- Heat the oven to 425ºF and roll out the crust into the pie dish. Place the oven rack in the lower half of the oven.
- Line the pie crust with parchment paper or aluminum foil placing it right up against the edges.
- Fill the pie with weights covering the bottom and pressing them against the sides.
- Bake for 12 to 15 minutes or until the edges begin to turn a golden brown.
- Remove the pie crust from the oven and pull the pie weights out using the edges of the parchment or foil.
- Return the crust to the oven and bake for an additional 5 minutes or until the bottom looks dry.
- Continue with the recipe for making the pie filling.
Do I need to blind bake this pie crust?
Blind baking a pie crust is usually recipe specific. If the recipe your using suggests blind baking it then this pie crust will work great, however, if not it will still be just as flaky.
Consider making these pies using this flaky pie crust recipe:
- Measuring Cups and Spoons
- Mixing Bowl
- Rolling Pin
- 2½ cups All-Purpose Flour spooned and leveled
- 1 teaspoon Salt
- 6 tablespoons Unsalted Butter cubed and chilled
- 3/4 cup Shortening chilled
- 1/2 cup Ice Water
- Whisk the flour and salt together in a large bowl. Add both the butter and shortening to the mixture.
- Using a pastry cutter or two forks, mash the butter and shortening into the flour mixture until it resembles a pea-sized coarse mixture.
- Place 1/2 cup of water into a measuring cup and add some ice. Stir the ice into the water and from this mixture measure out 1/2 cup of cold water. Add the water 1 tablespoon at a time to the flour mixture and use a rubber spatula to mix the water in. When the dough forms large clumps it's ready (A 1/2 a cup is usually all I need, but if it's dry outside or colder you may need up to 3/4 cup of cold water. Just continue to add it 1 tablespoon at a time until the right consistency is reached).
- Flour a clean surface and place the dough on top. Place flour on your hands and fold the dough into itself until all the flour is incorporated and mixed with the fats. Shape the dough into a ball and cut it in half.
- Flatten each half into a 1/2 thick disc and cover with plastic wrap. Store in the fridge for a minimum of 2 hours before using or up to 5 days.
- To prep for use, gently roll the dough using a rolling pin. Start in the center and work your way out, turning the dough as you go.