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Best Flaky Pie Crust
Best Flaky Pie Crust – layers and layers of pie crust with an easy tutorial to get it right every time – you’ll use this for all your pies!
A little over 10 years ago I started making pie. I quickly realized how important the crust was. A flaky, buttery crust can make or break a pie.
I tested out recipes with all butter crusts (they melted completely and browned too fast in the oven), and I tested out all shortening crusts (they smelled like chemicals and missed that buttery flavor).
I finally started experimenting with a butter + shortening combo. Shortening holds its structure better and doesn’t burn as quickly, while butter can melt too fast and burn but tastes amazing.
After many tests I came up with this recipe. And I’ve been using it for a decade now! We love this. It truly is the Best Flaky Pie crust.
It works well for filled pies that bake for a long time in the oven (like my Apple Pie or Pumpkin Pie), and it also works well for cream pies where you need to blind bake the crust first. It’s flaky and buttery. It creates enough dough to give a thick top ridge of your pie crust – this is essential to me because I’ve had too many pies with burnt pie edges.
My tips for amazing Pie Crusts:
- Don’t touch the dough too much when you’re first bringing it all together. If you have access to a food processor, make it in a food processor. This keeps the butter and shortening from warming up in your hands. If not, be sure to use a pastry cutter or knives to cut the fats in.
- Keep the dough chilled! I chill it after every step in the process. (Make the dough, chill. Roll the dough out into the pan, then chill again. If you are waiting to bake it, keep it chilled while making your pie fillings. It should go into the oven right from the fridge. This ensures that the fats stay evenly distributed throughout the pie dough, creating that flaky crust where the fats melt).
- Use a little vinegar. It sounds strange but vinegar inhibits the formation of gluten. Using a little in this dough helps it stay flaky and keeps it from being tough.
- Keep the top edge of the crust a little thick – if it’s too thin it can burn.
- If your pie crust does ever start to look dark, and your pie filling still isn’t done baking, just cover the pie up loosely with aluminum foil. The pie will keep baking and this will keep the crust from burning.
- If you blind bake the crust, line it with parchment, and be sure to fill the whole thing up with pie weights or rice – the sides need to be filled high or the sides of the pie will melt down (trust me I’ve learned this the hard way!).
Best Flaky Pie Crust
Best Flaky Pie Crust – layers and layers of pie crust with an easy tutorial to get it right every time – you'll use this for all your pies!
(Makes 1 layer of crust to fit a 9-inch pie pan. Double the recipe for a pie using 2 layers of crust.)
Best Flaky Pie Crust
- 2 cups flour (plus a little more to flour the counter for rolling)
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 cup butter, unsalted (chilled and cut into cubes)
- 3/4 cup shortening, cut up into small chunks
- 1/2 teaspoon white vinegar (vinegar inhibits the gluten from forming so the crust isn't tough)
- 1/3 cup cold ice water
Your crust will need some time to chill in the fridge before rolling out, so prepare to make it about 30 minutes before you want to start making your pie.
The pie texture will be best if you make this crust in a food processor, but if you don't have one, just be sure to cut in your butter and shortening with a pastry cutter or forks. The biggest concern is that your hands don't work with the dough a lot, so the butter and shortening don't begin to melt. The flecks throughout is what will make it flaky when baked.
To start, add the flour and salt to the food processor and pulse for 2 seconds, until mixed (or mix the flour and salt in a medium-sized mixing bowl).
Add the cubes of butter and chunks of shortening to the food processor (or to the bowl). Cut the butter and shortening in by pulsing the food processor until the butter and shortening are all incorporated, and finely minced into the dough (or if using a bowl, cut the butter and shortening in until it's all well distrubuted, finely, throughout the dough) – you don't want any large chunks.
Add the vinegar to the cold water, and pour the very cold water into the dough. If using a food processor, turn the processor on and pour the water in as it's mixing.
If using a bowl, work quickly to incorporate the water so you don't have to handle the dough for too long.
It WILL be sticky! Don't worry! Remove it from the bowl or food processor and add flour to your countertop (about 1/4 cup) and quickly knead it into the dough until it comes together in a smooth ball.
(This texture will keep it from being too dry when it bakes later, and when you add more flour later to roll it out for the pie pan. Don't worry if it's a little sticky, just mix it with a little flour on your counter and get it wrapped up and chill it.)
Form the dough into a smooth ball and wrap with plastic wrap or stick into a ziploc bag.
Chill for 20-30 minutes.
Remove dough from fridge. Generously flour your countertop and rolling pin, and begin to roll the dough out. (If it isn't well floured the dough can stick to the counter, causing it to tear.)
Roll the dough until it's about 2-3 inches wider than your pie pan (all the way around). It should be about 1/4" thick.
Using the rolling pin, roll the flattened dough back onto the pin, and use the rolling pin to transfer it into your pie pan.
Gently press the bottom of the pie crust into the pan, to form to the shape.
Fold the excess dough over onto the top edge of the pie pan and pinch to form a crust, as you like it. I like to pinch it into wide waves.
Don't worry about it being a little thick on the top edges, this will keep it from burning in the oven.
Depending on what pie you are making, you may need to blind bake (or bake before you put the filling in – this is common with cream pies, where the filling will not need to bake in the oven).
To Blind Bake this crust, preheat oven to 400°F.
Once oven is preheated, remove chilled crust from fridge. Poke with a fork about 10 times on the bottom (this will keep the bottom from bubbling up too high while baking).
Then carefully line the chilled crust with parchment paper, and fill the parchment paper with pie weights, dry rice, or dry beans.
Fill generously. You want the rice/beans/weights to go most of the way up the side to keep the crust from melting down during baking. You can even double line with parchment paper if you're worried about rice or beans spilling onto your crust.
Bake at 400°F for 12 minutes.
Then remove from oven and remove pie weights from pie pan.
Place back in the oven and bake for 6-8 more minutes, until crust is browned on the top edges and lightly colored/baked on the bottom.
Chill crust before filling with any pie filling.
This pie crust will be your new favorite. I hope you love it as much as we do! Click here to see my other Thanksgiving recipes. And tag me me @plumstreetcollective on Instagram if you get a chance to make this pie crust. Happy Baking!