Easy Pie Crust
This pie crust is as close to fool-proof as crust can be. If you’re looking for a homemade crust recipe that is as easy as going to the store this is it!
I made five batches of crust the other day, it’s easy to freeze and use later (more on that at the end). Pro tip – for one them I added in lemon zest because I anticipated a pot pie in my future and the lemon zest will add a little something-something extra. If I’ve sparked your interest, this optional added deliciousness is added in the recipe below.
Easy Pie Crust
2 1/2 cups of Flour
1/2 tsp of Salt
1 cup of COLD Shortening
3 TSBP of COLD Butter
1/4 cup of COLD Whole Milk
1 Lemon Zest (optional)
It’s very important to keep the ingredients as cold as possible for your recipe, this is the key to flakey crust! I usually measure out all of the ingredients and keep it in the refrigerator, pulling out only what I need as I work through the recipe.
In a bowl add your flour and salt, stir to combine the salt throughout.
If you’re adding lemon zest, which I highly recommend for pot pie! You will want to add in the zest at the same time of the flour and salt.
Break up the shortening and cube the butter into small squares. Add to the flour.
Using a pastry cutter you will slowly combine the ingredients. You will push the pastry cutter through the ingredients and then pull it up and push back down cutting through the cold shortening and butter creating smaller and smaller individual pieces (see picture below). You want this to happen so that when it bakes it will create soft flakey layers in your crust.
If you do not own a pastry cutter you can also do this step with a bench scraper. Cutting through the ingredients over and over again. This will take a little more muscle but trust me it works! This is how we did it in culinary school and I may even prefer this method.
When you get it to this stage, you want to keep on going for 30 more times, trust me, count it out and it will then be PERFECT. You want to look for the dough to start sticking to each other, but still have individual pieces of the butter showing through.
At this point, you will take your whole milk from the fridge and pour it in the dough. I use the entire 1/4 cup of milk.
If you find that the dough become too sticky after the milk is added in, you can sprinkle a little more flour in to make it easier to handle. It should not drip milk but it should be wet to the touch.
As you can see in the disk of dough you will still see butter pieces and swirls of milk.
Since this recipe makes two 9-inch pie crusts, you will want to divide the disk into two. At this point, you can also admire all of your hard work…let me show you.
See your dough showing off all of her layers and butter pieces?!?! Yay!! – soft and flaky crust is in the making. You did that with all of your muscle!
Now you will form the dough into two dough disks so that you can put back in the refrigerator to chill.
Chilling is important!!! Do not skip this step. It will allow your cold ingredients to get cold again which is very important. Science has proven that the cold ingredients will create the best flakey crust.
Also, it makes it easier to roll out. I know that sounds backwards but chilling will allow your crust to firm up making it easier to keep shape while rolling out without sticking to your rolling pin.
At this point, you can also freeze your dough disks to use in the future. Just make sure you wrap it up tightly to prevent freezer burn. When you want to use the dough, I recommend taking it out of the fridge and allowing it to thaw out in the refrigerator – remember you want to keep your ingredients COLD. This can take a day or two so plan ahead!
Okay, rolling out the dough. I’ve found a few tricks along the way that will hopefully help you too!
Make sure you have flour handy. Also a piece of parchment paper. I roll my dough out on parchment paper to make it easier to put in the pie pan.
Step One: Sprinkle flour on the parchment paper and place your dough disk in the center.
Step Two: Sprinkle flour on top of the dough. Using your rolling pin start in the center.With medium pressure, press down as you roll from one end to the other. You want to try to keep the same pressure on the rolling pin during the entire roll so that the dough stays even in thickness as you roll it out back and forth.
Don’t forget to stop (quickly) to admire your butter pieces. Woohoo!
Step Three: Measure. Once you think you’re done rolling, test it out. Place your pie pan over the dough top down to make sure you rolled your dough out enough to fit inside of the pan.
Step Four: Once you know it will fit, you will want to put the dough in your pie pan. This is an easy-fool-proof way. With your pie pan upside down on your dough (like the picture above), pull your parchment paper off the edge of your counter slowly and with your other hand underneath the parchment paper so that you can turn it upside right to look like this:
Step Five: Slowly pull the parchment paper off your dough. You may pull a piece of the dough off but don’t get discouraged, just press it back down and slowly peel the the parchment paper away from your dough. Remember, any holes in the dough is be patched up (and no one will see it because it’s on the bottom of the pie).
Step Six: Dust your hand with flour and repair any crust holes, piece together crust that may have been separated during the transition.
Step Seven: The most important part if you ask me – step back and admire your hard work!!
Pro tip – I usually put the crust back in the refrigerator for one last blast of cold. You can also do all of these steps ahead of time and bake it the next day. If you do that, just loosely cover the crust with a little piece of parchment paper and foil, then remove, fill with your pie filling and bake.