I guess you could say that I’m a bit of a pie crust snob. I love a tender, flaky crust that is just barely brown on the edges, never burnt or crispy. And don’t even try to convince me that those pathetic, pre-made, refrigerated or frozen crusts will do. No way!
The methodology of a good pie crust is very similiar to that of a good biscuit (they are both “pastries”, after all). Use cold fat, and do not, I repeat DO NOT, overwork the dough.
The problem with most modern day pie crust recipes is that they call for shortening. I’ve heard that the best crusts ever are ones made with lard, but I don’t have a good lard source at the moment, so I opt for butter or coconut oil instead.
Simple Pie Crust
Yield: One 9″ crust
You will need:
- 1 1/4 cups unbleached, all purpose flour (you can use whole wheat here, but it won’t be as tender. I don’t mind using a little white flour for this recipe)
- 1/4 t. sea salt
- 1/3 cup cold butter or firm coconut oil (coconut oil will make a slightly tougher crust, but still yummy)
- 4-6 Tablespoons cold water
In a medium bowl, mix together the flour and salt.
Cut in the butter or coconut oil using a pastry blender or two knives. You can use a food processor if you’d like, just be sure not to overprocess.
The mixture should resemble coarse crumbs. Little chunks of butter or coconut oil are perfectly o.k. and actually preferred.
Carefully add the water, one tablespoon at a time. You are looking for the dough to stick together and form a rough ball, but you don’t want a sticky mess. You might use your hands to form the ball, but be careful not to overwork the dough. Err on the side of crumbly!
Generously flour your countertop and roll out the dough until it is several inches larger than the diameter of your 9″ pie pan. (you might need to flour the top of the dough as you roll, to prevent sticking and tearing).
Carefully fold the dough into quarters and place into your pan. Unfold.
Trim around the edges (if needed), but leave an overhang around the edges of the pan. Gently fold the excess dough under itself. Crimp the edges as desired and make it pretty!
Fill with your favorite pie filling or refrigerate until needed.
Be sure to cover with a pie shield or foil strips while baking (at least for the first part, anyway). Nothing worse than a crunchy, overdone crust!
What are YOUR best pie crust tips?