Pie Crust! The dreaded Pie Crust! The bane of cooks and bakers everywhere! By perfecting a pie crust, you automatically get inducted into the Pie Crust Hall of Fame and proclaimed by family, friends and foodies as a good, NO, a great baker! For years, after I started learning to cook and found my niche as a baker, I tried and tried to make a good, tender, flaky pie crust. After a lot of practice, suddenly making a good pie crust just came together for me. I don’t really know why, it just did. I think maybe it was making pie crusts over and over and over again until I got the hang of how the dough felt, knowing when I’d added enough water or flour, or most importantly when to stop fooling around with the dough. I also discovered a few tricks along the way that made all the difference in the world. I’ll share those a little later. One day, a foodie friend of mine, Julie, posted a blog about a making pie crust. Some years back she discovered a recipe in a Cooking Booklet that was put together and distributed by her local Realtor’s Association. The submitter won $2000 for her recipe! What? Julie’s blog is about that pie crust recipe. May I introduce you to this month’s Guest Chef, my fellow foodie friend and most excellent cook Julie, aka Mauigirl!
Below is the link to her original blog. It’s a fun read with a prize winner of a pie crust recipe!
You see, by day I am a Real Estate Agent! By night, I am a cook/baker, recipe developer and food blogger. I was very intrigued by this $2000 Pie Crust recipe Julie wrote a blog about for a reason. Well, several reasons really. The recipe was by a Realtor! I’m a Realtor! This Realtor is from the Midwest. Hey, I’m from the Midwest too! Finally, this Midwest Realtor won $2000 with her Pie Crust recipe. It had to be good! Right? Add in the fact that in Julie’s blog she said she LOVES Realtors! Well, beloved readers, that clinched it! I was going to make this $2000 Pie Crust recipe. I’m so glad I did!
Here’s the recipe for you to print off.
- 1 beaten egg
- 2 teaspoons vinegar, white or apple cider
- 2 Tablespoons cold water
- 3 cups AP flour
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1¼ cups vegetable shortening sticks, cut into chunks and refrigerated
- Whisk egg, vinegar and water together. Chill in the refrigerator
- Pour flour and salt into the food processor and pulse until blended
- Add chunks of chilled shortening all at once to food processor and pulse a few times until pea sized meal forms. DO NOT over work dough
- Pour chilled egg mixture into the food processor and pulse until dough comes together and begins to pull away from the sides of the bowl. DO NOT over work dough
- Divide the dough in half for two single pie crusts or leave whole for one deep dish pie crust
- Place each half in a gallon sized ziplock bag or place entire amount in one ziplock bag for a deep dish pie. Roll dough with rolling pin to fill ziplock bag
- Seal the bag and chill for 30 minutes or until ready to use. Ziplock dough bags can be frozen for later use
- Pull crust out of the refrigerator, cut bag open and remove crust to lightly floured surface
- If frozen, be sure to thaw dough completely or your crust will break apart
- Following the tricks below roll dough out to fit pie pan. Transfer dough to pie pan, chill, fill and bake. Cool completely and refrigerate
- If blind baking, transfer dough to pie pan, chill, bake and completely cool before filling. Refrigerate
Making a pie crust has rules. Yes! There are rules. Remember, above I said I learned a few tricks to making a great pie crust. I lied! They’re really more like rules! Follow them and you’ll be making tender, flaky pie crusts in no time at all. See pictures below.
- Use the above recipe. Or one that’s tried and true
- Keep all ingredients very cold. I even chill the flour and salt and all the utensils and equipment. I really do!
- Roll pie dough using a cold rolling pin. I fill mine with cold water and place in the freezer for 15 minutes or so before starting.
- Don’t over work the dough. No, really! Do not over work your dough. If it’s giving you problems, stick it back in the fridge and walk away from the dough for 15-20 minutes.
- When rolling out the pie dough, roll from the center outwards to the edge. Do not use your weight to push down and stretch your pie dough. Just roll using the weight of the rolling pin. Stretching causes the dough to shrink when pies are baked.
- When transferring pie dough to the pie pan, don’t over work the dough. (Notice I’m saying that again? If it’s giving you problems, stick it back in the refrigerator, pie pan and all, and walk away for 10-15 minutes, then come back and try again)
- Chill unbaked, unfilled pie crust you’ve just transferred to the pie pan for 30 minutes before baking. I used to make my pie crusts, transfer to pie pans, fill and place directly in the oven. The result was a slumped pie crust. Why? Room temperature shortening or butter melts too fast, weighing down the dough and causing it to slump in the pie pan. Refrigerating or chilling the fat prevents slumping.
- When blind baking pie crusts, (pre-baking) line the pie crust dough with parchment paper (I use grocery store paper bags) and fill 2/3 full with dry rice, dried beans or pie weights. Bake for 20 minutes at 375 degrees, remove from oven and lift out the parchment paper filled with pie weights. Pierce the bottom of the crust with a fork, return to oven and bake for an additional 15-20 minutes until crust is a golden color. Oven temperatures vary, so you may need to add or subtract time.
- Thoroughly cool blind baked pie crusts before filling.
- Completely cool filled pies before refrigerating at room temperature. This will help keep fillings from weeping.
After you make a dozen or so pie crusts, I promise, it will all start coming together for you. Be patient with yourself and keep after it. Homemade pie crusts are good, flaky and will give you a sense of accomplishment. Once you’ve mastered pie crusts, you’ll never want a store bought pie crust again.