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How to Make Easy Pie Crust From Scratch | Steps in Photos

Pie is such an evergreen, adaptable dessert, but many home cooks are intimidated to make a homemade pie crust. I used to find it daunting, too, but over the years I’ve come up with a easy  pie crust from scratch recipe that I truly love. In my mind, it has just the right proportions of butter, water, flour and salt. And that’s all you need.

Some cooks add vinegar to their crust to limit gluten development and thus produce a more tender crust. But with this method, I don’t find that I need it. I use butter and butter alone because the flavor is so much better than that of shortening. For sweet fruit and other dessert pies, I usually also add a little bit of sugar, but this is up to you.

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Rhubarb Pie | How to Make Easy Pie Crust From Scratch

Amy Traverso

As for technique, I think hand-mixed crusts are the best. I’ve tried making dough in my food processor, but I really believe that making it by hand is easier, both in terms of being able to know when the crust is done and in not having to clean up the equipment. And the result is wonderful: flaky and tender. They key is to keep your ingredients as cold as possible so that the butter doesn’t melt into the flour. When those little solid pieces of butter go into the oven, they melt, creating steam, which in turn creates thin, flaky layers.

It really does just take a little bit of practice to build your confidence. This homemade pie dough has plenty of butter, so you’re unlikely to end up with a tough crust, even if you’re just a beginner. I photographed each step to try to help you along. So follow along. You’ll soon feel like a crust genius!

Note: When I photographed this process, I happened to be making the crust for a savory pie and therefore didn’t add sugar. However the recipe does list the correct amount of sugar and tells you when to add it.

Also, this is a recipe for a double-crust pie. To make a single-crust pie, simply cut the recipe in half and do not divide the resulting dough—just press it into a disk, wrap in plastic wrap, and refrigerate.

How to Make Easy Pie Crust From Scratch

How to Make Easy Pie Crust From Scratch

How to Make Easy Pie Crust From Scratch

Amy Traverso

Pie Crust From Scratch Ingredients:

  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar (optional, but recommended for sweet pies)
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 18 tablespoons (2 1/4 sticks) chilled unsalted butter, cut into small cubes
  • 6 to 8 tablespoons ice water

Pie Crust From Scratch Directions:

Step One
In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, sugar (if using), and salt until well combined.

How to Make Easy Pie Crust From Scratch

Whisk the dry ingredients.

Amy Traverso

Step Two
Sprinkle butter over flour mixture.

How to Make Easy Pie Crust From Scratch

Add the butter.

Amy Traverso

Step Three
Use a pastry cutter, 2 knives, or a fork to break the butter into smaller pieces. This is an optional step, but I always do it because using utensils instead of your fingers keeps the butter cooler.

How to Make Easy Pie Crust From Scratch

Break down the butter.

Amy Traverso

Step Four
Once the butter pieces are small, use your fingers to work the butter into the flour mixture: Rub your thumb against your fingertips as if you’re making the universal sign for “money,” smearing the butter as you do.

How to Make Easy Pie Crust From Scratch

Work the butter in with your fingers.

Amy Traverso

Step Five
When you first start out, the flour will be white and the butter will be yellow. As you continue to work the butter in, the flour will begin to look moist and slowly turn pale yellow, too.

How to Make Easy Pie Crust From Scratch

Early stage mixing.

Amy Traverso

Step Six
Stop when the mixture looks like cornmeal with lumps and bean-sized bits of butter remaining.

How to Make Easy Pie Crust From Scratch

Mixing is done.

Amy Traverso

Step Seven
Sprinkle 6 tablespoons ice water on top and stir with a fork until the dough begins to come together. If needed, add more ice water, a tablespoon at a time, but proceed cautiously.

How to Make Easy Pie Crust From Scratch

Stir the cold water into the pie dough.

Amy Traverso

Step Eight
Turn out onto a lightly floured surface and knead three times, or just enough to make a cohesive dough—do not overmix!

How to Make Easy Pie Crust From Scratch

Briefly knead the dough.

Amy Traverso

Here’s a close-up look at the crust. See how mottled it is? That’s what you want.

How to Make Easy Pie Crust From Scratch

The perfect easy pie crust from scratch — done!

Amy Traverso

Step Nine
Gather the dough into a ball and divide into two pieces, one slightly larger than the other. The larger piece will be the bottom crust.

How to Make Easy Pie Crust From Scratch

Divide the dough.

Amy Traverso

Step Ten
Press each piece into a disk and wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.

How to Make Easy Pie Crust From Scratch

Pie dough wrapped and ready for the refrigerator.

Amy Traverso

And there you have it! How to make easy pie crust from scratch at home!

Next up?

Follow our expert step-by-step photos and instructions on How to Roll Out Pie Crust perfectly every time.

Then bake one of our Favorite Savory Pie Recipes or Favorite Dessert Pie Recipes!

This post was first published in 2011 and has been updated. 

The post How to Make Easy Pie Crust From Scratch | Steps in Photos appeared first on New England Today.



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