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Homemade Pie Crust

Homemade pie dough

This is the homemade pie crust recipe you’ve been looking for. Everyone needs a go to pie crust recipe, this is mine! Perfect, easy, and flakey pie crust every time.

Perfect Pastry - This is the perfect pastry you've been looking for. Everyone needs a go to pastry recipe, this is mine! Perfect, easy, flaky pastry.

I have been on the hunt for the perfect homemade pie crust recipe forever.  And I’ve tried plenty of them.

Some used all shortening, some used all butter.  Some wouldn’t crisp up on the bottom, they would just stay soggy, some weren’t flaky.  

Neither of those things appeal to me.

These cherry pop tarts are easy to make, and make the best dessert or snack. Flaky homemade pastry wrapped around a sweet cherry filling - so good!

What does appeal to me, and I imagine most people, is pie crust that is quick to make, rolls out easily, crisps perfectly on the top and bottom, and is amazingly flaky.  

This is that homemade pie crust.

I found this recipe in an issue of Today’s Parent magazine many, many years ago.  It was called 100 percent guaranteed bombproof pastry.  I can’t really argue with that title.  It really is bombproof pastry.  It’s so easy to make, and it always turns out.

Perfect Pastry - This is the perfect pastry you've been looking for. Everyone needs a go to pastry recipe, this is mine! Perfect, easy, flaky pastry.

How do you make a pie crust from scratch?

Making a pie crust from scratch is really very easy. The trick is to keep your fat cold when cutting it into the dry ingredients, and not to over mix the pie dough after adding the wet ingredients.

And make sure not to skip the chilling step before rolling out the pie dough. It will be less crumbly and roll out much nicer when it has chilled for at least an hour. 

You also want to make sure to roll it out gently. If you push down really hard with the rolling pin and try to roll it out super fast, it will crumble and break apart on you. Chill the dough in a flattened disc and then roll it out gently and it will be perfect.

This easy apple pie is a classic dessert that is so much better when it's homemade! Easy, tasty, and filled with cinnamon apples - it's always a favourite!

Is pie crust better with butter or shortening?

Butter or shortening for pie dough is a bit of a preference thing. Personally I like the combination of the two.

The flavour is better with butter, and I find that the bottom crisps better.  But shortening will give you a flakier pie crust.

You can easily swap out either ingredient for the other in this recipe depending on your preference, but I think that the combination of the two gives the best pie crust.

Homemade pie crust

Should butter be cold when cutting into flour?

Your butter should be cold when cutting it into the dry ingredients for pie crust. So should your shortening if you are using a combination of the two, like I do in this recipe.

If the butter and shortening are warm, they will blend in with the flour rather then staying as little pieces in the mixture, which you don’t want.

The little pieces of butter and shortening is what gives the pie crust it’s flakey texture, so it needs to be cold when you cut it in.

Homemade lemon hand pies

How to make homemade pie crust:

  • You can use a food processor to make pie crust, but you need to be very careful not to over mix it. When using a food processor, I usually use it just to cut in the butter and shortening, and then stir in the liquid by hand so it doesn’t over mix.
  • I usually use a dough blender to cut in the butter and shortening. If you don’t have one, two knives will work too. It’s also a little faster if you grate the cold butter and shortening with the large holes on a box grater before cutting it in. This makes the cutting in process very quick as the fat is already in smaller pieces.
  • For this recipe, add the liquid ingredients all at once and stir just until it is starting to come together. The pie crust will still be a bit crumbly when you form it into 4 discs and wrap it in plastic wrap to chill. Don’t worry, after it chills, it will be easier to roll out, and won’t be as crumbly. If you over work the pie dough, it will start to develop gluten and won’t be as tender and flakey.
  • Here are some great pie recipes to use this homemade pie crust in:

 

Yield: 2 double pie crusts

Homemade Pie Crust

homemade pie crust recipe

This is the perfect homemade pie crust recipe you've been looking for. Everyone needs a go to pie crust recipe, this is mine! Perfect, easy, flakey pie crust every time.

Prep Time 10 minutes
Chilling Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 10 minutes

Ingredients

  • 4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup shortening, very cold
  • 3/4 cup unsalted butter, very cold
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 tablespoon vinegar
  • 1 large egg

Instructions

  1. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar and salt.
  2. Grate the shortening and the butter and toss them with the flour mixture until evenly coated, and the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Alternatively you can cut them into the flour mixture with two knives or a pastry blender.
  3. In a small bowl, whisk together the water, vinegar and egg.
  4. Pour it all into the flour mixture and toss lightly until everything is evenly moistened.
  5. With floured hands, divide the dough into four pieces and pat each of them into a flat disk.
  6. Wrap the disks in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least an hour before using.
  7. Pastry can also be frozen for up to 3 months, thaw in the refrigerator overnight before using.

Notes

I like the combination of butter and shortening in this pastry, but you can easily use only shortening if you prefer. Both work just fine. I've also made this pastry in the food processor and it turns out perfectly. Just pulse the food processor 10-15 times to cut in the butter/shortening, add the liquid, and stir by hand until the dough starts to come together.

Source: Adapted from Today's Parent.

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Nutrition Information:

Yield:

16

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 311Total Fat: 22.1gSaturated Fat: 9.5gCholesterol: 35mgSodium: 140mgCarbohydrates: 24.6gFiber: 0.8gSugar: 0.9gProtein: 3.7g
  1. Liz M. says:

    I just tried this recipe and it came out very dry, crumbly, and hard to work with…I thought I followed the recipe to a T…any tips on what I’m doing wrong?

    1. stacey says:

      Hi Liz – I find it’s a bit dry and crumbly feeling when you first mix it together, but when you press it together with your hands it should stay together in a ball. If it won’t even stay together when you press it with your hands I would try mixing in another tablespoon or so of water and then try. It’s less crumbly after you chill it. If you try to roll it out right away it won’t work very well, it needs to be chilled first – but it should be fairly easy to work with once it’s chilled. I also often make this in the food processor and if you process it a bit longer it will come together for you into a ball. You just need to be careful not to overdo it or you’ll lose the flakiness of the pastry, but if you mix it slightly longer then it will be easier to work with. I hope that helps!

    1. stacey says:

      The time/temp that you cook it at depends on the recipe you’re using it in. I’ve used it in many recipes, both savoury and sweet, and it always works perfectly. You would be able to use it with any recipe that calls for pie pastry, cooking it according to the recipe directions for whatever you’re using it in.

        1. stacey says:

          The pastry can be used in any recipe that calls for pastry. If you’re making a fruit tart, just follow the baking instructions for the fruit tart recipe and it will be fine. Whether you bake it first or not really depends on the recipe as they’re all a bit different, but I’ve used this pastry in a lot of recipes and it always turns out well no matter how it’s used. Hope that helps, let me know if you still have questions!

    1. stacey says:

      Hi Elana, I’ve used this pastry recipe for both sweet and savoury pies, so it’s good for either. There is only 1 tablespoon of sugar in the recipe for two double pie crusts which isn’t much so it doesn’t taste sweet, it does help give a good texture to the pastry though. A bit of sugar in the recipe helps give the pastry that perfect crisp texture, and it helps with the browning.

  2. Danielle says:

    Don’t you love when you find a perfect recipe for something? I love how easy pie crust is to make, but it can be hard to find just the right ratio of ingredients. You just can’t beat a flaky crust too!

  3. Cris says:

    I’ve never made pastry before so excuse me if this is a dumb question…. But dividing the dough into 4 disks means you make 4 pastries?

    1. stacey says:

      No worries! This recipe makes enough for 2 double pie crusts, so each of the four portions (disks) would be enough pastry to make one bottom crust or one top crust for a regular 9″ pie.

      1. Cris says:

        Thank you! That’s what I was meaning to ask but wasn’t sure how to word it, can you tell I don’t bake very often? I will be trying this tomorrow as my husband gifted me with an apple peeler/corer/slicer. I think it was more of a *hint* than a gift lol. Thank you so much for the recipe and quick reply!

  4. I love that this pastry was called bombproof…what a name! I’ve never been able to find the right pastry either, as I’m always too impatient and end up buying the store-bought kind when my recipes fail. This version looks fantastic! Pinned!

  5. Faye says:

    I have been using this recipe for many years as did my mom, (I’m not spring chicken, trust me) so it is a very old recipe. I have recently learned with any pastry recipe, even boxed mixes, that if you mix the required ice water with one half vodka. I guarantee it will be flakier. (recipe says 6 tbls. ice water, use 3 tbls. water + 3 tbls vodka.)

    1. stacey says:

      I’ve heard of using half vodka in pastry before but haven’t yet tried it. That’s now on my list of things to try out! 🙂

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