Favorite Pie Crust

Pie CrustI’m not a pie maker.  I bake cakes, bread, cookies and even pretzels but I don’t have a natural talent with pies. My mother, now she can bake a pie.  Unfortunately, I didn’t inherit the skill to make that elusive ‘perfect crust’.  Flaky, buttery, tender goodness.

With this being said – I’ve tried a lot of pie crust recipes.  This recipe has been the very best one out of them all.  You probably won’t be surprised to know that it’s adapted from The Pioneer Woman’s Perfect Pie Crust.  Every recipe I’ve ever tried of Ree’s is wonderful and I’m so glad she shared this one.

I’ve made a change to adapt it to my tastes, though, by doing both shortening AND butter.  Although I think Crisco makes a superior pie crust, I just can’t give up the buttery taste!Pie Crust

I love that this recipe makes 3 crusts and each crust can be kept in the freezer until you’re ready for it.  ALSO – and this one is big – there’s no waiting for 4 hours for the crust to ‘settle’ in the fridge.  You just pop them all in the freezer and can use them in as little time as 15-20 minutes.  I might as well say it, I’m driven by my whims and cravings . . . and a tad forgetful.  So you can see that I’m terrible about planning ahead and that’s another reason this pie crust works out so well.

My Favorite Pie Crust (makes 3 crusts)

3 c. all-purpose flour (I did 2 c. of milled/sifted wheat flour.  My goal is to use less AP flour this holiday season.)

1 c. Crisco shortening

1/2 c. Butter

1 Egg, beaten

5 Tbs. Cold water

1 Tbs. Apple Cider Vinegar

1 tsp. Salt

Pie Crust
Just look at our pretty little blue egg. Thank you Matilda!

-In a large bowl, mix the flour and the salt together.

-Cut the shortening and butter into the flour, with a pastry cutter, until it resembles a coarse meal. 

-Add the beaten egg, water and vinegar to the flour mixture and mix loosely just until dough forms.  Do NOT overwork or you’ll end up with some tough, tough crust.  As a bread-maker who likes to knead, this was a hard concept for me to learn.

Pie Crust
This should NOT look like smooth, elastic bread dough!

-Separate your dough into 3 equal pieces and put them into Ziploc bags.  Let out as much air as possible when closing to prevent freezer burn. (This is very important if you’re not going to use them all right away.)Pie Crust

-Let the dough sit in the freezer for 15-20 minutes.  If you make the dough ahead of time and keep them in the freezer, just make sure you pull them out about 20 minutes before you plan to use them to let them thaw.

-Flour the counter well and gently roll the crust out until it’s about 13″ in diameter with a rolling-pin.  Check to make sure it’s not sticking as you roll it out!

-After you get the crust to the proper size, carefully roll one end over your rolling-pin and loosely wrap around until you can lift it and unroll it into your pie pan.  This can be tricky.  Don’t worry if you have any tears – they can always be patched in the pan!

————————————–Directions for a Single Crust Pie —————————————————

-I used to trim off the extra dough around the edge but have found that rolling it under creates a much nicer crust.  Roll the extra dough under and create a smooth-ish border.

Rolled under but not pretty yet!
Rolled under but not pretty yet!

-Decorate the edge to your favorite pattern.  You can pinch it with your fingers, twist it, stick on cut-outs and cross-hatch with the back of a fork.  Better Homes & Gardens has a great picture gallery if you’re looking for ideas.

Pie CrustI used a spoon to make large scallops on mine.  This is my favorite part of pie-making.  It’s just fun getting to make it all pretty!

-Now you’re ready to pour in your filling and bake according to your recipe’s directions.

———————————-Directions for a Double Crust Pie ———————————————-

-Once you get your bottom crust in the pan, you can trim it to 1/2″-1″ overhang.  Refrigerate the bottom while you roll out the top crust.

-Fill the pie pan with your filling and then either lay the top crust overtop or your can cut the top crust into strips for a lattice top.  The top doesn’t have to be a perfect circle so don’t worry about being overly precise.

Cherry Pie-5
This was a cherry pie that I made for Fly Guy’s birthday this year. I really struggled with the dough (it wasn’t this recipe!) and I am determined to make a beautiful cherry pie in the near future.

-Trim the top crust to the same length as the bottom and then roll the edge under itself and crimp to seal.  Again, you can decorate the edge any way you’d like with this.

-If you did a solid top crust, you need to cut vents into it before cooking according to your recipe.

**TIP** I always used to wait to cover my pie crust edges with foil to keep them from burning.  And they still always ended up much darker than I preferred.  It could have been that my oven in the previous house would randomly jump up 50˚ but I’m done chancing it.  Now I just begin with the foil strips in place and everything turns out really well.  And no more trying to place aluminum foil on a hot pie pan in a very hot oven.  I’m too clumsy for all that.

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