Teach Eat Love

Easy, Buttery Pie Crust

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If you’re like I was a few years ago, you might be tempted sometimes to grab a box of ready made pie crusts at the store. They’re easy, consistent, and convenient, but they’re also filled with nasty preservatives, trans-fats, and food colorings you’d never use at home – especially for pie crust.

So let’s make real pie together. You can make these crusts ahead of time, roll them out (or not), and freeze them for easy assembly.

And yeah, this recipe calls for a fair amount of butter. I’m okay with that because we don’t have pie all the time, so when we do, I want really good¬†pie made with real ingredients. If you can get your hands on some butter from pasture-raised cows, all the better.

Here are a few things I’ve learned about making pie crusts that’ll make this process a lot simpler:

  1. Use really cold¬†butter. If your butter is warm and soft, your crust won’t be flaky. The end.
  2. Use ice cold water. See above.
  3. I prefer using a pastry cutter instead of a food processor. Food processors are great for lots of things, but I find that it’s really easy to accidentally overwork the dough, which makes for a tough crust. Spend a couple bucks on a pastry cutter if you don’t have one – it’s worth it. Forks or knives work but will take an eternity.
  4. If you’re going to use the crust straight out of the fridge, chill it for at least 3 hours. But it’s better (and easier to work with) if you can let it chill overnight.

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If you follow those guidelines, making crust is – forgive me – easy as pie.

Oh – and fun side note – I’m sorry the blog has been slow lately. We have a little addition we’re preparing to welcome to our family, and I’ve been fighting really awful nausea for months. Here’s a picture of us at our cake cutting party when we found out with our families that we’re expecting a girl.
it-2527sagirl

1. About 15 minutes before you start making your crust, toss the butter in the freezer.

2. Toss together the flour, sugar, and salt.

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3. Cut the butter into smallish cubes and work it into the flour with a pastry cutter. You want it to be coarse and pebbly looking – those little spheres of butter will make a flaky crust. Just make sure you don’t have any butter pieces larger than about the size of a pea.

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4. Working one tablespoon at a time, gently stir the water into the flour mixture. Stop adding water when the mixture is cohesive and sticks together. I usually have to add one additional tablespoon of water.

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5. Divide the dough into two balls, wrap in cling wrap, and pop in the fridge for at least 3 hours or overnight (or in the freezer for an hour or so if you’re really pressed for time).

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*If you want to make ahead and freeze, you can freeze a sheet of rolled dough or a lump of dough. Let it defrost in the fridge for the best results.

6. After the dough is cool, roll the crust on a floured counter. You can roll the crust onto the rolling pin to transfer to a buttered pie pan, but I prefer folding it into quarters because I can easily see where the center is that way. Trim the edges of the crust to an inch or two of hang over the pan. Fold the outside edge of the crust UNDER. Pinch the folded crust (see below) if you want a fluted edge. Continue on with your favorite pie recipe.

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Yield: 2 buttery crusts

Total Time: 3 hours 30 minutes

Easy, Buttery Pie Crust

Delicious, flaky, buttery, and better than store-bought!

Ingredients:

2 2/3 c. unbleached all purpose flour (I like King Arthur)
12 T. butter*
4 T. non-hydrogenated shortening (I like the Spectrum brand)
1 T. unbleached sugar
1 tsp. kosher (or flaked) salt
1/2 c. ice cold water

Directions:

1. About 15 minutes before you start making your crust, toss the butter in the freezer.

2. Toss together the flour, sugar, and salt.

3. Cut the butter into smallish cubes and work it into the flour with a pastry cutter. You want it to be coarse and pebbly looking - those little spheres of butter will make a flaky crust. Just make sure you don't have any butter pieces larger than about the size of a pea.

4. Working one tablespoon at a time, gently stir the water into the flour mixture. Stop adding water when the mixture is cohesive and sticks together. I usually have to add one additional tablespoon of water.

5. Divide the dough into two balls, wrap in cling wrap, and pop in the fridge for at least 3 hours or overnight (or in the freezer for an hour or so if you're really pressed for time).

*If you want to make ahead and freeze, you can freeze a sheet of rolled dough or a lump of dough. Let it defrost in the fridge for the best results.

6. After the dough is cool, roll the crust on a floured counter. You can roll the crust onto the rolling pin to transfer to a buttered pie pan, but I prefer folding it into quarters because I can easily see where the center is that way. Trim the edges of the crust to an inch or two of hang over the pan. Fold the outside edge of the crust UNDER. Pinch the folded crust (see below) if you want a fluted edge. Continue on with your favorite pie recipe.

*I use salted, pastured Kerrygold butter. Traditionally, you should use unsalted butter in baking so you know how much salt has been added to your food, but I really like this brand and haven't had it turn out too salty yet.

ALL-BUTTER CRUST OPTION: If you'd rather, you can use all butter - the taste and texture are really great. American wheat just tends to be a bit hard, so the shortening helps with that. I make both all butter and butter/shortening crusts and love both kinds.



   

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