When I make a pie, I focus a LOT on the crust of the pie. To me, the perfect pie crust is rich, flaky, buttery, and has a taste of saltiness. I’ve been “perfecting” my pie crust recipe for about a year now. I go into stages where I really want to get something done to my liking so I make them OVER and OVER again. This past year has been the year of pie crust in my home (maybe part of the reason for my expanding waist line…)
Just in case you’re wondering… the pie pictured is a Spiced Pork and Apple Pie with a Cheddar Sage Crust. I didn’t follow the pie recipe by the book and really should have added more filling to fill it out a little better (which is why the pie looks a little sunken in the photos.) It was still delicious though and the cheddar sage crust was out of this world. The smell of it baking made me want to sing in the streets. I didn’t for the sake of my neighbors ears. But, I wanted to.
Why Make Pie Crust When You Can Buy It?
Pie crusts are one of those easy items that can be made from the staples in most pantries/ refrigerators. I think it is important to learn as many recipes as possible that can utilize those staples. My reasons for learning how to make a pie crust when you can just go out and buy them:
Guests are coming over and you don’t have time to run to the grocery store.
You’re low on funds and need to utilize the items in your pantry to stretch money a bit.
You didn’t PLAN on making a pie (so, didn’t buy the crust) but, man… pie sounds like heaven right now.
You want something MORE than the basic pie crust. You can mix items into your pie crust to make it even more amazing.
Now, don’t get me wrong… I’ve bought many a pie crust. Sometimes the convenience factor will outweigh the reasons above. There are certainly some good frozen/refrigerated pie crusts out there. But, that is another post entirely. Read on for tips and my basic pie dough recipe.
Basic Pie Dough Recipe:
Most pie dough recipes include the same ingredients, and a lot of them the EXACT portions of ingredients. Mine is probably not a lot different than ones you’d find in a basic google search. But, I’d hate to write a blog post about pie dough and how I make my pie dough without including my basic pie dough recipe. And, while I’m sure my directions are not the end all and be all of pie crust directions— it works well for me!
1 stick frozen unsalted butter
1 stick chilled unsalted butter
2 and 1/2 cups flour (I’ve used bread flour and all-purpose with good results)
3 tablespoons ice water
1 tablespoon white sugar
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
Put salt, sugar, and flour in a large bowl. Grate 1 stick of frozen butter into the flour. Cut tiny cubes of the chilled butter and add to the bowl.
Work the flour with your fingers. Work until the mixture is like course crumbs. Try not to overwork the dough. Little pockets of butter are what makes the dough AMAZING when it bakes!
Slowly add ice water (water that has been chilling in ice… not water with ice) while mixing with your hands. Mix until the dough forms a ball.
Split the ball in two and then press into two discs. Wrap in cellophane and put in refrigerator.
Refrigerate the dough for at least one hour. SUPER important step. Dough can also be frozen at this point if you’d want to save the dough for a different day.
Roll out dough into a circle that is approximately one and a half sizes larger than the pie plate. Roll the dough to about 1/4 inch thick. Make sure that the dough is fairly even. Press into pie plate.
Follow your recipe directions when it comes to making the pie. I typically fill my pie with ingredients at this point and then cover with the second pie dough disk, also rolled out to 1/4 inch thick and 1 and 1/2 times larger than the pie plate.
Lightly press down the dough on the top of the filling. Use your fingers to crimp the top sheet of dough and the bottom sheet of dough together at about 1/4 inch from the pie plate rim. Trim the excess dough off with a pair of kitchen shears leaving the 1/4 inch of crimped dough off of the sides. Fold the dough over so that it is even with the pie pan. Take a fork’s tongs and crimp along the edge of the dough.
Slice the top of the dough to allow steam to escape from the pie while cooking.
Brush the top of the dough with an egg wash mixture (1 egg + 1 tablespoon of water mixed together and brushed on top with a pastry brush… you don’t need to use the entire mixture)
Bake according to your recipe directions. It is done when baked to a nice golden brown.
Prep your filling ingredients while the dough is chilling,
Ways to Make Pies Even More Fun:
Try pie recipes that are savory instead of sweet.
Make a quiche!
Mix spices or cheeses into the crust to make it even more delicious.