Pie crusts have a reputation for being difficult, but it’s not so bad. Just follow these basic guidelines and you’ll be able to make a top-notch pie crust in no time:
Make sure your butter is cold.
You want to make sure that your butter is cold and firm, but not frozen solid. If it’s too cold, you will have trouble mixing it with the flour. If it’s too warm, the dough will melt and make a greasy mess (not what we’re going for here).
Once you’ve placed your chilled block of butter into a large bowl and broken up any chunks with a spoon or fork, add any other ingredients like salt or sugar—and mix them together thoroughly before adding any more liquid at this point.
Don’t over-chill your dough.
If you’re making pie crusts, it’s important to keep in mind that the dough should be chilled for about 20-30 minutes. This helps ensure that the finished product is tender and flaky.
If you need to keep your dough longer than 30 minutes, wrap it in plastic wrap and then place it in a resealable plastic bag.
Use the right flour.
The first step to making a great pie crust is using the right flour. This is important because not all flours will work for making pie crust, and you don’t want to end up with a soggy or dry result.
When you’re making your own dough, use all-purpose flour—but if you’re using one of those specialty flours like nut meal or almond meal (or any other specialty), make sure it’s been tested by an expert before trying it in your piecrusts!
Chill your dry ingredients before you mix them with butter.
Before you begin, make sure that your dough has chilled and is at room temperature. This will help with the mixing process and prevent the butter from melting into a liquid mess.
- Use a food processor to cut the butter into small cubes. If you don’t have one, use two knives or even your hands to crush them into tiny pieces until they’re crumbly but not completely pulverized (you’ll see what I mean).
- Add 1/3 cup of sugar along with salt, then pulse again until combined thoroughly but not overworked—it should still look like coarse meal texture when done.* Add remaining flour slowly through side slot; mix until incorporated evenly throughout bowl (don’t worry about all lumps of dry ingredient disappearing). Once mixed well enough so there aren’t any visible clumps left behind after adding additional ingredients later on down line
Cut the butter into cubes before mixing it in.
The first step is to cut the butter into cubes. You can use a knife or food processor, but don’t do this with a blender or other device that creates heat; otherwise, you’ll get too much liquid. Cut it until you have little pieces that look like small bits of cookie dough.
If your dough is still too wet when it starts looking like this—which happens if you overwork the dough—add more flour by sprinkling it on top and gently mixing in with a fork until all ingredients are combined evenly again (but don’t overmix!).
Add moisture in stages, just until the dough comes together.
You may have heard that you should add water to the dough in stages—just until the dough comes together. In fact, this is true for most recipes. But you don’t want to pour so much liquid into your crust that it becomes too wet and sticky for proper shaping or baking. The opposite happens when adding flour: if you do it too quickly, the crust will not hold its shape well during cooking; if you add more than one tablespoon of flour at once, it can make things worse by making your crust tough and crumbly (butter makes an exception). It’s best to use small amounts of both liquid and flour at first—and then just see how they affect your finished product!
Don’t overwork the dough.
Don’t overwork the dough. This means don’t use a food processor, don’t add too much flour and water, and definitely don’t press it into the pie plate with your hands!
Instead of using a food processor or adding extra flour (which can cause the crust to become tough), we recommend mixing ingredients by hand—that way you get an even distribution of ingredients throughout your dough. If you find yourself having trouble getting rid of any air bubbles in your dough, just keep going until they disappear completely into tiny holes instead of letting them escape through small edges where they’ll cause problems later on down the line!
Let the dough rest before you roll it out.
Letting the dough rest before you roll it out will make your crust taste better and be easier to work with. If you don’t let it rest, your crust will be tough and chewy. You should let your dough rest for at least 30 minutes or up to an hour before rolling out so that gluten can relax and become more elastic again.
Use more flour on your work surface than you think you need – and keep some on hand to sprinkle on top of the dough when you start rolling it out.
Use more flour on your work surface than you think you need – and keep some on hand to sprinkle on top of the dough when you start rolling it out. This will help prevent sticking, especially if you’re using a less-than-perfect baking sheet or pan (like an aluminum one).
And don’t be afraid to use all the flour! If there’s any left over, just add more next time around, which will make things easier for everyone involved (and save money too!).
Be gentle – don’t twist or stretch the dough when shaping or transferring it to a pan.
When you’re shaping a pie crust, be gentle. Don’t twist or stretch the dough when it’s time to cut out your shapes—it will only cause it to tear and shrink in size. Instead, use a sharp knife or pizza wheel to cut out the desired shapes and transfer them directly onto a parchment-lined baking sheet without stretching their edges or forcing them into the pan. If you need more room in your pan (for instance, if you’re using an 8-inch round), then trim off any excess dough with scissors before adding any scraps back onto another crust’s edge when sealing a double-crust pie together. Finally: don’t use more than one rack during baking!
Don’t force the dough into a pie plate. It shouldn’t be too tight or too loose.
When you’re making a pie crust, don’t force the dough into a pie plate. It shouldn’t be too tight or too loose. If your dough is too stiff, use your fingers to press it into the corners of the plate; if it’s too wet and sticky, use a knife or bench scraper to scrape off some of that excess liquid before rolling out your dough.
Once you’ve made sure that your recipe calls for enough flour and salt (and perhaps added some ice water), roll out your dough until it’s about 1/8 inch thick—this will vary depending on what type of pie you’re making as well as how much filling goes inside each individual slice (more on this later).
Trim the edges of both crusts after transferring them to a pie plate, but don’t add scraps back onto another crust’s edge when sealing a double-crust pie together – they’re rarely a perfect match, which can lead to leaking and other issues later on.
- Trim the edges of both crusts after transferring them to a pie plate, but don’t add scraps back onto another crust’s edge when sealing a double-crust pie together – they’re rarely a perfect match, which can lead to leaking and other issues later on.
- If you want your pies to be as uniform in size (and shape) as possible, use two different-sized cookie cutters or bowls with sharp corners (not just any old spoon will do). This will ensure that each slice is cut evenly across its width and thickness, preventing uneven slices that might fall apart during baking or melting in the microwave!
Seal any cracks with a little water and pinch them closed, if necessary.
- Use a pastry brush to apply water to any cracks.
- Use your fingers to pinch the edges of the dough together if necessary, or gently press them into place with your fingers (don’t worry about small cracks).
With these tips, you’ll be on your way to making tasty pies in no time! Good luck and happy baking!