Frozen supermarket pie crust? Puh-LEEZE!

When the turkey needs baking and the yams need glazing and the cranberries need saucing and the potatoes need scalloping and the giblets need gravy-ing—to say nothing of the in-laws needing fresh towels—and and and…

…the last thing you need to do is worry about making homemade pie crust, right?

But wait. Stop right there, your hand on the freezer door, a guilty gleam in your eye as you prepare to unbury that ready-made frozen boxed supermarket pie crust from behind the bag of brussels sprouts. Caught, red-handed! You were going to sneak it into your best pie pan, add your secret apple filling, and…

What? Bake a gorgeous homemade pie in a crust whose ingredients include the words “propionate” and “sorbate” and “Yellow 5”? Perish the thought! Not when you can MAKE YOUR OWN CRUST—yes, you—fill it with that over-the-top fresh apple filling, and bake
THE BEST PIE EVER. Really.

Have you had trouble in the past with crusts that crack? Pastry dough that shrinks and shrivels into a heap in the bottom of the pan? A beautiful rolled crust that disintegrates into a floury disaster as soon as you try to lift it off the counter?

Then try this crust. It strikes a lovely balance between texture and ease of handling. Yes, it’s tender and flaky. But you can still lift it in one piece off the counter and put it into the pan, then edge it around till it’s perfectly centered, maybe lifting it again… all without it crumbling under your gentle touch.

Trust me; you’ll never miss the Doughboy. Or Mrs. Smith, either.

img_0800.JPG

Here’s where my favorite pie crust starts: with Mellow Pastry Blend, a.k.a. Perfect Pastry Blend, our “mid-range” flour. At 10.3% protein, it’s midway between pastry flour (makes a tender pie crust, tricky to handle); and all-purpose flour (easy to handle, makes a “sturdier” pie crust). Substitute King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour for the Mellow Pastry Blend, if you like.

img_0375.JPG

First, mix 2 1/2 cups flour with 1 1/4 teaspoons salt. Next, mix in 1/4 cup vegetable shortening until the shortening is very well combined; you should see no substantial lumps.

img_0378.JPG

Cut 10 tablespoons cold butter into cubes…

img_0602.JPG

…and work it into the flour with your fingers, or a pastry fork, a pastry blender… whatever your preferred method.

img_0877.JPG

The goal is a mixture of flour and chunky, flattened butter.

img_0605.JPG

Add about 1/4 cup ice water. Stir/toss to combine.

img_0608.JPG

Add up to an additional 1/3 cup ice water (perhaps a bit more, if the weather is very dry) a tablespoon at a time, until the mixture becomes cohesive, and you can squeeze it together.

img_0609.JPG

Like this.

img_0610.JPG

If you’re making a double-crust pie, divide the dough in half. Squeeze each half into a rough disk…

img_0613.JPG

…then gently flatten and smooth with your fingers.

pie6835.JPG

Roll the edge of the disk along a floured surface to smooth it out; this helps prevent ragged edges as you roll. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for 30 minutes, or overnight.

Now don’t get confused: I’m taking a side trip here. This is another way to make pie dough. I’m going to take you to the point where you refrigerate the dough.

img_0896.JPG

If you feel up to a couple of extra steps, this is MY favorite method for making pie dough. First, mix the dry ingredients and shortening. Dump 1/2 cup or so of the mixture onto a rolling mat or other work surface. Take the butter, and cut it lengthwise into long chunks. Coat it with the flour mixture.

img_0898.JPG

Use a rolling pin to roughly flatten the butter chunks. Be sure to keep the pin well-floured as you roll.

img_0900.JPG

Toss the flattened butter chunks with the remaining flour mixture. Add the liquid to make a cohesive dough, as directed in the previous method.

img_0901.JPG

Roll the dough into a rough rectangle.

img_0902.JPG

Fold it like a letter. This is going to create layers, which in turn promotes flakiness.

img_0903.JPG

Turn the dough 90° and fold it like a letter again. Wrap and refrigerate. And how does this rectangle turn into a round crust? When you’re ready to roll, simply work your pin so it becomes round. Not a problem.

And, for you true pie crust aficionados, check out our Baking Sheet newsletter editor Susan Reid’s favorite method to prepare pie crust.

So, whichever method you’ve chosen to make pie dough, it’s now in the fridge. Back to the action.

img_0614.JPG

While the dough is chilling, determine the desired diameter of your bottom crust. First, measure the bottom diameter of the pan: 7”.

img_0616.JPG

Then lay your ruler flush against the inside edge, and measure that. This won’t be the vertical distance from top to bottom of the pan; it’ll be the actual length of the pan from bottom to top, which is more slanted than vertical. In this case, 1 1/2”. Since the bottom diameter of my 9” pie pan is 7”, and each side is 1 1/2”, I’m going to add those all together and come up with 10”. This would bring the pie crust right to the edge of the pan, but I want extra, in order to have some overhang. So I’ll add 1” on each side, giving me a total of 12”. This is how wide I’ll roll my bottom crust.

Attention: this sounds more involved than it is. All you’re doing is measuring the actual inside diameter of your pie pan, then adding 2”. Take a cloth tape measure and do it that way if you prefer.

img_6841.JPG

Take your chilled dough out of the fridge. If it’s been chilling longer than 30 minutes, you may need to let it soften up a bit at room temperature, maybe 15 minutes or so; it should still feel cold, but also be soft enough to roll pretty easily. Put the dough on a well-floured surface, and roll from the center towards the outside edges. If you roll back and forth, it confuses and toughens the gluten in the flour, making the crust hard rather than tender.

img_0625.JPG

Here’s the crust rolled to just about 12”. Notice the big, flattened chunks of butter. This is a good thing! The butter effectively separates layers of the pastry. When you bake the pie, those layers set in the oven’s heat before the butter melts; the butter eventually melts, and the layers stay separated. These are the ”flakes” in flaky pie crust.

img_0621.JPG

To move it into the pie pan, fold it in half…

img_0622.JPG

…then in half again.

img_0623.JPG

Place it in the pan with the corner right in the center, then unfold it and gently press it into the pan.

img_0803.JPG

Or never mind all that and simply pick the crust up with a giant spatula, and set it into the pan. This is my preferred method.

img_0626.JPG

Notice the overhang.

img_0627.JPG

This is how to make a single-crust pie. Fold the overhang under…

img_0628.JPG

…and gently squeeze it together.

img_0629.JPG

You’ll end up with a nice, tall “wall” of crust.

img_0631.JPG

Crimp it using your fingers…

img_0635.JPG

…to make a crimp that looks like this. Very pretty, and good for pumpkin pies and others with liquid filling. It’s nice to have this tall barrier to keep the liquid from sloshing out as you move pie from counter to oven.

img_0662.JPG

And here’s that single crust, crimped, filled, topped with espresso meringue (oh yeah!), and baked. Stay tuned for my recipe for café au lait chess pie, coming soon to a blog near you.

img_0811.JPG

Making a double-crust pie? Measure the outside top diameter of your pie pan, and roll the top crust to that width. Fill the pie, and lay the crust over the filling. Use a pair of scissors to trim the excess to within 1/2” of the edge of the pan.

img_0816.JPG

Press the bottom and top crusts together to seal, then crimp with a fork. When the fork starts to stick, simply dip it in flour.

img_0880.JPG

For the nicest top crust, brush with milk…

img_0882.JPG

…and sprinkle with coarse white (sparkling) sugar.

img_0883.JPG

Cut slashes in the top; this will allow the steam to escape, which helps the crust and filling stay close together, rather than the crust doming up and the filling sinking down, leaving a big empty space beteen top crust and filling.

img_0827.JPG

Here it comes, a shameless plug for our silicone rolling mat. Aside from the fact that it keeps everything from sticking, here’s why I like it: When you’re done, you just pick it up…

img_0828.JPG

…and rinse it with warm water. I hang mine over the handle of the dishwasher to dry, then fold it in quarters and stash it in the cupboard, on top of my pans.

img_0830.JPG

And here’s the counter where I made my pie dough and rolled my crust. NO CLEANUP NEEDED. No scraping dough, no gummy sponge, nonono… Love it.

img_0890.JPG

And the finished pie: gorgeous, huh? If you’re wondering what’s inside, it’s frozen peaches and dried apricots. Wintertime Peach Pie—again, coming soon to a blog near you.

img_0894.JPG

See how nice the coarse sugar looks?

img_0929.JPG

And look at that flaky crust! That wasn’t hard, right? No need to buy one of those frozen supermarket crusts, right, Halley?

Read, rate, and review (please!) our recipe for Classic Double Pie Crust.

Print just the recipe.

 

PJ Hamel
About

PJ Hamel was born in Wisconsin, grew up in New England, and graduated from Brown University. She was a journalist in Massachusetts and Maine before joining the King Arthur Flour Company in 1990, where she's been ever since. Author or co-author of three King Arthur ...

comments

  1. Jennie

    The only reason I use the premade pie crust is because I’m in a gigantic hurry. Is there a way to freeze homemade pie crust? Especially all nicely rolled out so it defrosts quickly?

    Hi Jennie,
    Yes, you can freeze homemade pie crust, either in the round, pre-rolled shape, or for very handy one crust pie crust, invest in some of the disposable pie tins, or inexpensive tins that you won’t miss if they are hiding in the freezer. Roll, place in tin, crimp and then freeze individually. Once they are frozen, the tins can be stacked and store in an airtight zip top bag in the freezer. Just pull one out when you need it.

    Happy Baking!
    MaryJane @ The Baker’s Hotline

    Reply
  2. Lin

    You mention vinegar in your blog directions, but there is no vinegar listed in the ingredients list of the recipe in the link. ??

    Whoops, sorry about that – recipe fixed. Thanks for catching that. PJH

    Reply
  3. Melissa

    Any thoughts on replacing part of the liquid with vodka, like one of the cooking magazines recommends? They say that the alcohol doesn’t activate the flour’s gluten, contributes the moisture needed to keep the dough from cracking, and then evaporates in the oven.

    I tried it, Melissa. Totally makes sense, but I couldn’t detect any difference in the crust’s texture. It didn’t hurt – but I couldn’t see that it helped, either. So I think I’ll save my vodka for a nice gimlet… PJH

    Reply
  4. A. J.

    Yeay! A good homemade pie crust for our Triple Onion Tarte. We,ve
    been using store crusts that come in rolls since the filling is put in the middle of crust in a pan then draped over the filling. I’m thinking we
    could roll the crusts out then roll up and freeze? Or even store in re-
    frigerator for a day or so? It would be nice to have the crusts done
    ahead of time! Think 3 to 8 at a time!

    Hi A.J.,
    You could keep the crust in the fridge for a day or two, but it will start to oxidize and darken after that. See the earlier reply to Jennie about freezing crusts. I’m not sure how rolling the crusts, and then rolling up a la Pillsbury would work on homemade crusts. Anyone have experience with this?

    MaryJane @ The Baker’s Hotline

    Reply
  5. Sandy

    Wow….what a great pie crust recipe! I am fairly well known for my flaky pie crusts but am so anxious to try your recipe for my Thanksgiving pumpkin pies. It looks outstanding!

    Reply
  6. Bridget

    Would LOVE LOVE LOVE if you guys would tackle a gluten-free pie crust. I have one that I use, but I just know it could be better and more “multi-purpose” than the sweet one I have.

    Bridget, our test kitchen has been working on gluten-free mixes. Not sure if pie crust is one of them, but I’ll certainly suggest… PJH

    Reply
  7. Abigail

    This looks incredible. I can hardly wait to try it. One question, I have ‘old style’ vegetable shortening on hand. May I use that up or should I dash over to the store for non-trans-fat shortening to get the perfect results with your wonderful recipe?

    Thank for improving my baking one million percent every week with your new ideas and recipes, not to mention the supurb quality of the King’s products.

    Abigail, use your regular shortening – no problem. Have fun! PJH

    Reply
  8. Nicki

    Thanks SO much for this awesome recipe! I can’t wait to try it! I’ve been making crusts for a few years but the one thing I was doing wrong as mixing in the butter too much. Your amazing photos have fixed my dilemma. Happy Thanksgiving – and happy pie making!

    Reply
  9. Ellen Eckerson

    Just when I thought I had made the flakiest piecrust ever, and would never bother to try yet another “best ever”- I couldn’t resist trying “A Thoroughly Reliable and Tasty Pie Crust.” It was the unusual way of folding the crust into layers before chilling that challenged me to try it. I also like the compromise of using a mixture of vegetable shortening and butter for rich flavor. I won’t be waiting until Thanksgiving to test-drive this recipe!

    Reply
  10. Nancy

    I’m happy to make pie crust when I have the time and inclination, but a couple of commercial, rolled crusts are now a refrigerator staple for me. They aren’t all the same (oddly, some are sweet); maybe King Arthur could put out its own brand?

    Nancy, we’ve sold our own frozen pie crusts in our store off and on. to go national with them, it’s a question of freezer space in the supermarkets, which is hard to come by… it’s a very hard sell. So right now it’s not on our projects list, but who knows, going forward… Thanks for the suggestion! PJH

    Reply
  11. Jennifer

    Thanks for the recipe. I’ve never used vinegar in my pie crust I’ll have to try that. I have a question: My son is allergic to soy so we don’t use regular shortening, we use palm oil (not palm kernel). It’s solid at room temp. I’ve found I don’t get as flaky or as thin of a crust when I used regular shortening (though I’ve solved part of that by subsituting butter for part, just not well) do you think using the palm oil shortening will affect this recipe the same way? Thanks for the wonderful blog with such details.

    Sorry, Jennifer, I have no experience with this shortening. I imagine its melting point compared to regular shortening has something to do with the results you get in crust. I’d say go ahead and use it, see what happens, and let us know. Good luck – PJH

    Reply
  12. Rose

    Been mixing pie crust in a food processor for years. Just dump all dry ingredients in the bowl; add the butter and shortening. Process for 3 seconds. Add the ice water, vinegar and process until the dough comes together. VERY easy and Fast!

    Sounds good, Rose. I know lots of people like using a food processor for pie crust; I’ve done it myself. I just figured everybody doesn’t have a processor, so thought I’d give a less appliance-intensive method…

    Reply
  13. Erik

    When it comes to cutting butter into the flour mixture, I’ve been fond of using my food processor – it’s quick and really distributes the butter well (I use it for making scones too). What are your thoughts on this method?

    I think it works very well, Erik. I think it makes a sandier rather than flakier crust, due to the smaller pieces of butter (unless you manage to keep the pieces large); but I’ve done this in the past, freezing the butter and using the shredder disk to shred it, frozen, into the flour, which I then simply toss to mix the two together. Go for it – whatever works for you is what you should stick with! PJH

    Reply
  14. Kim

    I worked for an apple orchard and we would make all our pies a head of time and freeze them right in the pie shells. Make your favorite fruit pie just like you would if you was going to bake it that day and place them in one gallon baggies and put in freezer. The night before take them out and put in frig to un-thaw and bake as usual. If you forget to take them out you will have to bake them longer, you will have to test it by poking in the middle and see if the fruit is soft.

    Reply
  15. Milton

    I’m familiar with making the pretty edges on the crust. But, when I take my pie out of the oven, the pattern I made is just a memory.
    It never retains the form. Any suggestions????????
    Anyone???????????????

    Too much fat in general, Milton; and if you use lard or butter, too much of them. Shortening has a higher melting point than butter, thus holds the crust in that nice crimp long enough for it to set. Also, just maybe too low an oven temperature? it helps to start higher (425°F) and go lower (375°F) after 15 minutes, if you’re having trouble with crust “melting.” But really, the times I’ve had that problem is when I’ve crossed the line into the too-much-fat zone… PJH

    Reply
  16. SimplePleasure

    Hi! PJ,
    What’s the buttermilk powder for? If I don’t have that could I use regular milk powder or just omit that in the recipe?

    Buttermilk powder enhances flavor and texture, plus enhances browning. Just go without it if you don’t have any – don’t substitute milk powder. No worries. PJH

    Reply
  17. Jonathan S

    Your ingredients list “buttermilk powder”. Is there an acceptable substitution so I can just use regular buttermilk?

    Jonathan, read the tips on the right hand side of the recipe – they talk about substitutions. You can use buttermilk, or just plain leave it out – it enhances tenderness and flavor, but you can certainly make crust without it. PJH

    Reply
  18. Lisa

    Oh, thank you for this wonderful pictorial and directions. Pie crust is not my thing but now you have me convinced I should try again.

    YOU CAN DO IT, Lisa! PJH

    Reply
  19. Lee

    Want to put in a plug for the KA Whole Grain Baking cookbook’s basic piecrust recipe. We’ve used that for all our pies ever since getting that book and it works great and tastes great!

    For Jennifer and the soy dilemma – in the past I’ve had good success with the oil pastry crust from the “plaid” cookbook (mine is 30+ years old so don’t know if it is still in the newer ones). I think the palm oil or coconut oil would work great for that as does olive oil. But using the tropical oils as a substitute for the canned stuff won’t work. The tropical oils still melt much sooner, even sooner than butter. So just using all butter would be best.
    Also want to ask how can that canned shortening be trans-fat free when the third ingredient is fully hydrogenated oil? Seems to me they are fudging on their facts somewhere. Also mono and diglycerides are just one more name for trans fat.

    Reply
  20. Kathleen Isaac

    Wow! I’m inspired to try this. I’ve never had to attempt pie crust because my husband and my daughter both love to do pie crust. But they always melt the butter in the microwave, and now I can see why it would be better not to do it that way. Also, the baking powder is a sensational idea!

    Reply
  21. Cathy

    How thick should the final dough be? My mom says mine is too thick, but no one else has complained. I know her mom’s was always really thin, so maybe she just likes it that way? (I can’t eat any sweets, so I just bake them and it’s hard for me to get good feedback on how to adjust recipes.)

    It’s a question of taste, Cathy, as you surmise. How thick this crust will be depends on how big a pie pan you use; the smaller the pan, the thicker the crust. I happen to like a somewhat thicker crust, so this crust errs on that side. General rule of thumb – a 1-cup-flour pie crust recipe will make a medium-thin single crust for a 9″ pan. If your mom wants a thinner crust, just roll this one thinner, trim to size, and bake the scraps, plain. If you can’t eat sweets, maybe you can at least enjoy these buttery pie trimmings… PJH

    Reply
  22. Joanne

    A friend makes a pie crust that is awsome– whether used in quiches to fruit pies. I tried to get the recipe, but so far have only been told that it is a simple oil based and has some type of nut meal. (She is a health food advocate, hates butter and such.) As experts can you come up with a recipe? Thanks My favorite oil crust recipe is found at this address: The Easiest, Tastiest No-Roll Pie Crust EverYou could substitute 1/2 cup nut flour for the same amount of flour. I would omit the vanilla for a savory crust. Mary @ King Arthur

    Reply
  23. Melissa

    I use a ratio of half whole wheat to white flour and have great results in my pie dough. I’ve not tried all whole wheat yet. I also use all butter instead of shortening. I just made a blueberry pie yesterday and then logged on to see pie crust on the blog! LOL

    Also, the folks at KA are so wonderful! I emailed them the other day regarding decorating sugars and sprinkles made without artificial dyes and they told me that they would put it on a wish list! My daughter has reactions to food dyes and we would love to bake and decorate cookies. I’ve had some luck in finding them on the internet but would rather order them from KA if they were available.

    Melissa, we’re offering all-natural food colors, coming this spring – that should be a help to you, too. PJH

    Reply
  24. Ellie

    Wow, do I wish I could get this flour. But I live in France and there is no such thing as low protein flour, or even cake flour for that matter. Here the flour is high protein and while it makes great bread (nu surprise, eh?) it makes for tough pie crusts. Any ideas on how to deal with high protein flour for pie crust?

    Ellie

    Yes – substitute 2 to 4 tablespoons (per cup of flour) cornstarch. Can you get cornstarch? Worth a try… PJH

    Reply
  25. Kathryn Henry

    I am more of a bread, cake, and cookie baker, but do on occasion try to make pies. The recipe for this crust is terrific. I make sure I use the exact measurements listed in the recipe as pie crust seems to need to be a little more precise. I have also used the whole-grain crust with several different fruits and we find that we really like that. Although I still don’t consider myself a good pie baker, I’m getting better.

    Reply
  26. FRAN

    I agree with the other comment about her grandmothers recipe. I always use flour, crisco, salt and water. I tried a variation last night for my chicken pot pie and I added a TBS. of baking powder to the dry ingredients, hoping for a little lift. My son said it was too dry, my husband said he could taste the baking powder and said if it ain’t broke don’t fix it, stick with the tried and true. My tried and true helped me win a shoo-fly pie baking contest in Lancaster, PA last summer.

    Fran, you’re right – IF you have a recipe you love, stick with it! This is for those who don’t have a tried-and-true standby – including me. I’m ALWAYS experimenting, figuring there’s always something better just around the corner… PJH

    Reply
  27. Lillian Stark

    Hey there, I have been using your flour for years, nothing beats the home made pie crusts, winter or summer for the fresh fruit pies, thanks, Lillian

    Reply
  28. Margy

    I can remember my grandmother (an old farm girl) making the best pie crusts when I was a little girl; she would cover the scraps with sugar and cinnamon and bake them for us kids as a special treat (and to keep us from driving her crazy asking every 5 minutes when the pie would be ready!). I bake just about everything else, but never had much luck with pie crust; will have to try your recipe for the holidays. I do have a question about your rolling mat, which I have been tempted to buy for rolling sugar cookies (usually use a marble board, dusting the surface with a large amount of a mixture of flour and confectioners sugar). Can metal cookie cutters or a metal wheel pastry cutter be used on the mat without damage? I have never liked the plastic cookie cutters.

    Margy, I use metal cutters on my silicone mat. I just push down gently. I wouldn’t use a metal pastry wheel, though. I have an acrylic pizza cutter I use instead; works like a charm, and I’m never afraid of cutting the mat OR myself. PJH

    Reply
  29. KAF Bakers

    Comments: My question is for Linda – Do you use regular or self rising flour?
    Name: Trish Elliott
    Location: Greensboro, NC

    This comment was moved from the recipe site to the blog . Linda from Olney, MD can you offer clarification on the recipe you posted? Thanks
    MaryJane @ The Baker’s Hotline

    Reply
  30. LeAnne

    I used to bake pies with store bought crust because homemade seemed like such a hassle. I finally decided it wasn’t going to beat me and began my quest to perfect a pie crust. Things were much easier after my husband bought me the silicone mat and rolling pin for Christmas last year. I use the recipe printed right on the mat and have had success every time. People always comment about how wonderful the crust is. I have to give KA all the credit. If you combine high quality ingredients, tried and true recipes and the right equipment to make things easy, you will never fail. Thanks!

    Reply
  31. Terri

    I’m hoping to try pie crusts for the first time this holiday season. I will be trying your recipe out this weekend (hopefully!). Thanks!

    Reply
  32. Joe Zaccheo

    Do you have a suggestion for temp. and baking time for either a blind or a filled product.

    Blind: About 20 minutes or so at 375°F. Watch it carefully; bake just till golden. Filled: About 15 minutes at 425°F, then an additional 45 to 55 minutes at 375°. These are general guidelines – PJH

    Reply
  33. JEM

    After much practice I’m finally getting the feel for pie crust dough. I’m interested in experimenting with some different versions so this recipe is just in time for some Thanksgiving pie crust experimentation. I do like using all butter just for the richness but definitely want to try my crust with vinegar and the buttermilk powder. Also, you make the folding method look so easy. More layers, more flakiness–I can’t resist giving that a try! Thanks PJ.

    Reply
  34. jami

    Mine is in the oven and looking good so far, though obviously I haven’t tasted the wonderful flakiness yet. I was worried about putting in too much water, and I think I erred on the side of too little. It was a little too crumbly as I was starting to roll it, and it was definitely sticking to the rolling pin even when I kept flouring it.

    I went back to my old method, and it seemed to work perfectly – I rolled it between two pieces of plastic wrap. Doesn’t stick. Makes it really easy to pick up and place it in the pie pan. Now I’m excited to taste it!

    PS – The crimped edges didn’t hold their shape. And I measured the shortening and butter really carefully! Maybe it was the oven temp, as you suggested above?

    Hi Jami – I think using slightly too little water is the culprit. Water helps create the structure of the crust; it’s what gives it a bit of necessary strength. A crust made with 100% fat, no water, will usually “melt” (unless the fat is 100% shortening with its higher melting point). A crust made with very little fat, mostly water, will be very strong and hold its shape well, but be tough. We want something in between. So a lack of water could account for the crimp not holding its shape. Try, try, again – it’s a journey for sure. Good luck – PJH

    Reply
  35. KF

    Tried the dough was very easy to work with-it is baking now. How would you increase the proportions for a 10in double crust pie. We need to use the larger pie pans for the holidays.

    I think this amount of dough is sufficient for a 10″ crust -just needs to be rolled thinner. Esp. if you make a double-crust pie, as then you don’t need a lot of overhang to make a big tall crimp. PJH

    Reply
  36. Deb Zemek

    I don’t mean to plug another company, but regarding the gluten free pie crust, my mom can’t use wheat and she uses the Gluten Free Pantry pie crust mix and I swear, you can’t tell the difference between it and pie crust made with wheat flour. It takes a little practice to learn to roll it out but it is incredibly good. Since it doesn’t have gluten you can always just pat it into the pan for a one crust pie. If you would rather I not mention the name of the company, then feel free to delete this email.

    I am definitely going to try this pie crust recipe – I love the idea of folding it like you do strudel – when I saw the title I couldn’t help thinking store bought pie crust??? ewwwww! ;)

    Deb

    Deb, plug away – until we come out with our own gluten-free mixes, we’re happy to cite someone else in order to help our readers who have go go gluten-free. Thanks for the info. – PJH

    Reply
  37. Bunny

    I’ve been baking pies for years with a moderate degree of success. My mom had recipe that called for one egg, vinegar, water, salt, crisco and flour. It made 2 double crust pies and was very flaky. I’m looking for a method of making pumpkin pie that won’t produce a soggy bottom crust. Is it a special recipe or a blind pre-bake method? I love the picture directions!

    Bunny, I’d either bake the crust most of the way first, then add the pumpkin filling and bake for the recommended amount of time, covering the edge of the crust with a crust protector. Or if you don’t want to blind-bake (pre-bake), use a dark metal pan (if you have one), and bake on the bottom rack of the oven (or on a baking stone), for best results. PJH

    Reply
  38. Paule-Marie

    Wonderful pictures. I have made pie crusts since I learned how to cook and bake 50 years ago. I started using part butter and part shortening when I was a teenager. Have always had good crusts, but I definitely intend to try the extra step of folding the crust. (Sort of like making puff pastry, yes?) I love your products, I can even get some of them in our market in this little town out in the boondocks. I will have to see if I can find your mellow pastry flour in the market.

    Thank you for a new pie crust recipe. Can’t wait to try it. By the way, can we get high altitude adjustments on your recipes and mixes? I live at 6800 feet.

    Hello Paule-Marie – Mellow pastry flour may prove to be difficult to find. Call 1-800-827-6836, our customer service, for assistance. Thank you for your suggestion on high altitude adjustments on our recipes. You may go to: http://www.ext.colostate.edu for tips on high altitude baking. We also have some tips in our published cookbooks, such as the Baker’s Companion. Elisabeth @ King Arthur Flour

    Reply
  39. Elizabeth

    Have you baked a pecan pie using maple syrup or honey….

    My refined sugar/corn syrup intake is heavily restricted….

    Thanks… Love your blog…. ;-]

    Hi Elizabeth – I’ve made maple-walnut pie – just like pecan pie, but with maple syrup and walnuts. I think you’d enjoy it. Here it is: Maple Walnut Pie. Cheers – PJH

    Reply
  40. SarahB

    Finally tried this today and love it! My husband has never liked my pie crusts in the past and never ate much of the pies before, but he really liked this crust!

    Reply
  41. jacqueline

    Bunny – I’ve followed this advice for pumpkin pie that makes it richer tasting and helps the bottom crust: Crush gingersnaps and toasted chopped pecans and press them lightly into the bottom and halfway up the sides before filling. It’s wonderful.

    I love having the step by step photos. So helpful, especially when one is trying a new recipe. I never could master a pie crust with predictable results and always chalked it up to the “cook versus baker” phenom. A friend taught me during a summer I was laid off to use her mother in law’s recipe and I have never looked back.

    I call it my “layoff pie”. I add a bit of dried thyme if I’m using it to top off a pot pie or bake a savory tart and a bit of sugar if baking a pie. I also smear the fat (half lard/half butter) with the heel of my hand as the late great Julia child did.

    I can’t wait to try this recipe, too.

    Question; do you have a reliable source for leaf lard? It’s the best but very hard to find!

    Reply
  42. Ann Doerzaph

    I am responding to freezing a rolled out pie crust. I have done it for years with great success. After rolling out the crust between two sheets of Saran plastic wrap, roll it up to fit inside a cardboard tube from paper towels. Wrap the tube in foil, label the date and size of the shell and freeze. To use, thaw and remove the top piece of Saran and using the bottom piece, center the shell into the pie plate—smooth it around a bit, remove the Saran and fill. Can do the same with the top shell. Very easy.
    I love your blog and will try this recipe—it not only sounds good but the photos look great!
    PS I do not make thin shells —-I think they would tear when removing the Saran wrap using this freezing method.

    Ann, great idea about the cardboard tube- so space-saving! Thanks for sharing- PJH

    Reply
  43. Dana Booth

    Thanks to my Mom who always supported my love of baking, I’ve never been wary of making my own pie crust, but I’m always open to try new recipes to find the ultimate one. I tried this recipe and it turned out very good.

    One of the things I immediately noticed is that it was easier to roll than some of the other crusts I’ve done. Next time I will take the blog suggestion of cutting large chunks of butter, sprinkling with 1/2 c. dry mixture, and flattening with a rolling pin. If I had done this, I think the crust would have turned out great. My crust was not as flaky as theirs, and I think this was the difference ’cause I didn’t have those huge chunks of butter when mine was rolled out. fyi, I used some of the substitutions in the “tips” sidebar of the recipe, but I don’t think that had much impact.

    Definitely a recipe worth making again. Easy to roll, nice and tender and good flavor. With huge butter chunks, next time I bet it will be super flaky, too.

    Nice, Dana – thanks for sharing. PJH

    Reply
  44. Jennifer

    I made this crust over the weekend. It turned out beautifully. I used AP flour and the shortening I mentioned earlier. The crust was nice and flaky and tasted so rich not bland or oily like I’ve run into lately. This was the first time in years I had enough extra dough to make a cinnamon sugar pie like I had when I was a kid. You combine the scraps and roll it out put it into a pie tin brush with melted butter and sprinkle cinnamon-sugar onver top then bake.
    Thanks for the recipe and directions in the blog

    Reply
  45. Karrie

    PJ – THANK YOU!!!!! I have never been able to make a good pie crust until now. I am such a visual learner and the pictures on the blog helped tremendously! My pumpkin pie tasted so much better this year thanks to this post! I can’t wait to try it again!!

    YAYYYYY Karrie! I always said, if you can read (and look at pictures :) ) you can bake- thanks for the input. PJH

    Reply
  46. Francesca

    Yes, I too love the step-by-step photos. My first made-from-scratch pie CRUST was a success because of your website!
    My question is about temperature needed in the use of of shortening (i’m trying the non-trans-fast variety). I learned from your blog that, when using butter, it’s a must to keep it ice cold or even frozen. But when using SHORTENING, or a combination of shortening and butter, should the shortening also be cold, or at room temp?

    Thank you!
    Francesca in Brooklyn NY

    Francesca, if you’re making a recipe where the shortening remains in fairly large pieces, it should be cold, yes. If, as in this recipe, it’s mixed in pretty thoroughly, really doesn’t matter; it’s going to chill before rollnig anyway. So don’t worry about sticking that can of shortening in the freezer, it’s not necessary. PJH

    Reply
  47. Deirdre

    I have made my own piecrusts for years and never found a recipe that is great but this worked well (the instructions I printed out at the time did not say when to add the vinegar but I see the do now).

    I wanted to mention my Thanksigivng baking disaster. After carefully making the piecrust and mixing up the pumpkin pie filling, and allowing it to chill overnight I let the pie bake for 45 minutes. The center was little more liquid than I liked so I put it bake in and set the timer for 5 minutes. I left the kitchen and went back to watching the parade. I did not hear the timer go off or remember about the pie for about 40 minutes.

    My husband was in the kitchen when the timere went off. He is used to me hearing the timer, shutting it off and letting me deal with it. He had forgotten about it too. When I finally took the pie out of the oven it was definitely overbaked and the top was burnt. I let it cool a little and then took off the top layer of custard (which was still tasting pretty good). It was not pretty to look at and the edge of the crust was not edible (okay, I didn’t try it but my kids did) but the rest of it was pretty good.

    I’ll try again and be a lot more careful about that timer! Last year I made the Golden Harvest Pumpkin Pie from the Whole Grain Cookbook and was pretty pleased with that too.

    Thanks for your recipes.

    Ah, love those “kitchen disaster” stores, Deirdre – we all can tell them, that’s for sure! Glad you were able to scrape together a pretty good pie, anyway! – PJH

    Reply
  48. Janice Tarbill

    I was glad to read this article about making one’s own pastry! I watched my mom make apple pies and pumpkin pies but never learned to do pastry at home. But then many years later when I was married we had to take a dessert to a dinner party. Being one who foolishly tries something new for company, I made my first apple pie. Beating the odds, it turned out wonderful! Trust me, I made a ton of “rubber” crusts and crumbly, falling apart crusts after that first success, but finally “got it”! So, for those who think they can’t, try and keep on trying! It’s so worth it! I substituted a frozen pie crust once when I made a quiche and my kids said, ‘don’t do this again!”. Plus, it’s a real kick to know that you’re the only one in your circle of people who can actually do this!

    Here’s a little trick to try:
    I ran out of white flour while making my pastry and decided to use whole wheat flour to make up the difference – about 1/2 C. I didn’t know how it would turn out, but it was fabulous!! Gives a rich nutty flavor. So, that’s one of my little secrets.

    I can highly recommend King Arthur’s Pie Enhancer for apple pies! Wow! What a difference! Also the boiled cider – just a little bit goes a long way! Thank you, King Arthur!

    Happy Rolling!

    Reply
  49. jacqueline church

    Thank you for a wonderful recipe. My prior pie crust recipe has been with me for years. Readers have used it to make their family’s first ever homemade pie.

    But this recipe is my new favorite. I’ve just blogged about it here:
    http://www.suite101.com/blog/jchurch/2009
    I have used it for pie, for quiche, mixed in a bit of wheat flour, used AP, used it for a pot pie …all wonderful.

    Thank you.

    Jacqueline Church
    The Leather District Gourmet

    Reply
  50. Roger

    As a beginning baker and in the interest of time, I used frozen supermarket pie crusts over the holidays. This recipe looks teriffic and I WILL try it. Maybe somone can answer a question for me. I used a wonderful pumpkin pie recipe from one of my baking books, but I only had room for half the filling in the supermarket crust — the recipe was for a 9 in. pie and the crust was 9 in. Are the frozen supermarket crusts shallower than a homemade crust and a standard pie plate? If I buy another frozen crust, should I buy the deep dish variety?

    Yes, Roger, the store-bought frozen crusts are most definitely on the skimpy side. Buy a deep-dish, if you can, to more closely mimic a “true” 9″ pie crust. And good luck when you make your own – you can do it!! PJH

    Reply
  51. Susan Lacki

    I bake pies on and off. But no matter how I mix the pies. My single pie
    crusts ALWAYS shrink to ugly, uneven levels down the pie pan. I have
    always used shortening only. Can’t wait to try this crust. But already feel
    doomed in the shrinking dept. I read the other note about the crimped
    edges “melting” mine do that sometimes. but I really could use any and
    all pointers on shrinkage.Help!?This usually means you’ve rolled the crust too much, and/or not let it rest before adding the filling. The gluten in piecrust becomes elastic as you roll the dough-the more you roll, the more elastic it becomes. If you then fill the crust and put it directly into the oven, the elastic gluten pulls the crust away from ( and down) the sides of the pie pan. The solution? Chill the dough for 30 minutes before rolling it out: this both relaxes the gluten and hardens the fat. Refrigerate the crust once you’ve rolled it out, too, while you prepare the filling. Once again, it gives the gluten a chance to relax , and it hardens the fat. Mary @ KAF

    Reply
  52. Desiree

    I saw a comment once about using bacon fat instead of shortening. Think that would work?

    Yes, bacon fat would work. Bacon fat is actually a good all-purpose “shortening” – supposedly lower cholesterol than butter. Just be sure you’re OK with your pie having the faint taste of bacon… PJH

    Reply
  53. June

    I had a happy little accident last night while making this recipe for the second time. For some reason I added twice as much butter as I was supposed to and didn’t realize it until it was too late. I also added about 3 tablespoons of vodka just to see what would happen if I upped the hydration a bit. The dough was a bit sticky but I could still see chunks of butter in it so I wrapped the dough in cling film, let it set overnight in the frig, and this morning I did 4 turns (as in making puff pastry) and rolled it into a pie crust. Guess what- it worked! Although it shrank quite a bit ( I took the rice and parchment paper ‘weight’ out too early) it still looks amazingly flaky and light- a quasi-semi-almost-puff pastry! I think I will try it again! Thank you so so much for giving me a reliable (when I follow it!) recipe for GRET pie crust!!

    Reply
  54. bob c

    where can i find 5or 6 ” pre made pie crusts ?????
    Sorry, we don’t have a source for you. Best of luck in your search. ~ MaryJane

    Reply
  55. Zane Marquez

    I like the way you make this pie crust. Every step you explained very clearly and detail, let alone all the pictures makes me more excited to try to make this pie. Thanks for sharing this recipe :)

    Reply
  56. Cecelia

    Is the flaky crust shown made by following method one (w/ mixer) or method 2 (w/flattened butter)?
    Thanks!

    The flattened butter method will give you a flakier version. Frank @ KAF.

    Reply
  57. Clara

    What about organic lard in the pie crust ? We have an organic livestock producer who has this available.

    Go for it, Clara – it’ll give your pie that good old-fashioned flavor. PJH

    Reply
  58. Judith

    I have always used a pastry frame/sleeve for my rolling pin, have you ever used these? If so, do you like to use them?

    Reply
    1. PJ Hamel , post author

      Yes, Judith, I’ve used both in the past, and they work fine. Thanks for reminding me! PJH

  59. Pat Wheeler

    I enjoy homemade pie crusts, both making and eating. I use a 10″ pie pan and would love to have the ingredient amount readjusted. Do you have a formula?
    patmarietta

    Reply
    1. PJ Hamel , post author

      Yes, Pat – increase the amounts of all the ingredients by about 25%, and it should be good to go for your 10″ pie pan. Enjoy – PJH

Post a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *