Classic Double Pie Crust

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Hands-on time:
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Yield: 2 crusts, enough for 2 single-crust pies or 1 double-crust pie

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Note: This recipe, originally titled "A Thoroughly Reliable and Tasty Piecrust," has been simplified slightly. A number of ingredients in the original recipe have been made optional; you'll find them in "tips," below. Additionally, this recipe replaces one called simply "Pie Crust." The two recipes were so similar that we combined them into a single recipe: this one.

There are probably as many pie crust recipes out there as there are bakers. Many of us struggle with pie crust; this crust is a good go-to recipe for those of you who haven't yet settled on a favorite. Easy to roll, buttery-tasting, and somewhere between flaky/crumbly, it's like an old friend: reliable and forgiving.

Classic Double Pie Crust

star rating (97) rate this recipe »
KAF guaranteed
Hands-on time:
Total time:
Yield: 2 crusts, enough for 2 single-crust pies or 1 double-crust pie
Published: 01/01/2010

Ingredients

Crust

  • 2 ½ cups King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour or Perfect Pastry Blend
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons salt*
  • ¼ cup vegetable shortening
  • 10 tablespoons very cold unsalted butter
  • 6 to 10 tablespoons ice water**
  • *Reduce the salt to 1 teaspoon if you use salted butter.
  • **Use the lesser amount of water if you use Perfect Pastry Blend.

Topping (optional)

  • 1 teaspoon milk
  • 1 tablespoon coarse sparkling sugar

Tips from our bakers

  • The following ingredients, included in a previous version of this recipe, are all optional: 1 teaspoon baking powder; 2 tablespoons confectioners' sugar; 2 tablespoons buttermilk powder or nonfat dry milk powder; 1 teaspoon vinegar. We've made the crust both with these optional ingredients, and without. Each changes the crust subtly: baking powder adds "poof;" sugar and milk powder help browning and add a bit of flavor; and vinegar tenderizes it slightly. However, for the very flakiest crust, we omit these optional ingredients.
  • Looking for a pie crust recipe that doesn't use shortening? Try our All-Butter Pie Crust.
  • People get nervous about pie crust, and in their anxiety they tend to work the dough too much. Cutting the butter in too far makes a mealy crust. Kneading it too much and/or adding too much water toughens the dough, making it more difficult to roll out.
  • A tip for creating ultimate flakiness: When the dough is almost moist enough to hold together, pour the shaggy mixture out onto a piece of parchment paper. Use a spray bottle to moisten the dry parts of the dough without water-logging it. Then fold the dough over on itself, like a business letter. Repeat the process until all the dry bits of dough are evenly moistened. This will create lots of nice layers in the dough. Click on the video, above right, to see this being done.
  • Be sure to use cold butter and ice water when making the crust; it helps keep the butter and shortening from dispersing throughout the dough, which in turn helps keep the crust flaky. Also, resting the dough in the refrigerator, both after mixing and rolling out, will dramatically increase the quality of your results. This "time out" both allows the gluten in the dough to relax (making the crust more tender), and firms up the fats in the dough (helping it stay flakier).
  • Lightly grease the pie plate with non-stick spray before putting in the bottom crust; this will make taking the slices out of the pan much easier later.
  • To keep the bottom crust from getting soggy, try brushing it with egg white and chilling before adding the filling. You can also use melted butter to create a barrier between the fillings moisture and the crust.
  • To see a lovely way to finish the top of your pie, check out this video .
  • Can you make this crust ahead and freeze it? Absolutely. For a double-crust pie, make it up to the point where the two dough disks are wrapped in plastic and ready to chill; add an over-wrap of aluminum foil, and freeze for up to 2 months. For two single-crust pies, roll each chilled crust, and place in a metal pie pan. Trim, crimp, wrap the pans well in plastic, and freeze.

Directions

see this recipe's blog »

1) Whisk together the flour and salt.

2) Add the shortening, working it in until the mixture is evenly crumbly.

3) Cut the butter into small (about ½") cubes.

4) Add the butter to the flour mixture, and work it in roughly with your fingers, a pastry cutter, or a mixer.

5) Don't be too thorough; the mixture should be very uneven, with big chunks of butter in among the smaller ones.

6) Add 4 tablespoons of water, and toss to combine.

7) Toss with enough additional water to make a chunky, fairly cohesive mixture.

8) It should hold together when you gather it up and squeeze it in your hand.

9) Divide the dough in half, and gather each half into a rough disk.

10) Smooth the disks; it's OK if they have a few cracks in the surface.

11) Smooth the disks' edges by running them along a floured surface like a wheel.

12) Wrap in plastic, and chill for 30 minutes, or up to overnight. Or wrap in aluminum foil over the plastic, and freeze for up to 2 months.

13) When you're ready to make pie, remove the crust from the refrigerator or freezer, leaving it wrapped. Allow it to thaw (if it's frozen) or warm a bit (if it's been chilled longer than 30 minutes), until it's softened enough to roll, but still feels cold to the touch.

14) Next, measure the bottom diameter, and up the sides of your pie pan. If your pan is 7" across the bottom, and 1 ½" up each side, that's a total of 10". This means you should roll your bottom crust to a diameter between 11" and 12", which gives you enough extra for crimping the edges.

15) Place the crust on a floured work surface; our silicone rolling mat is a fine choice. Roll it to the desired width. See the big chunks of butter? That's a good thing.

16) Place the crust in the pan by folding in quarters and placing in the pan.

17) Or you can simply pick it up with a piecrust lifter, and move it that way.

18) For a single-crust pie, fold the edges of the crust under, and gently squeeze them together.

19) Crimp as desired. It's nice to make a tall crimp, as the filling for a single-crust pie is usually fairly liquid (think pumpkin or custard), and it's good to have that tall "dam."

20) You can easily make a nice tall crimp with your fingers, as shown.

21) It'll look like this.

22) For a double-crust pie, leave the edges of the bottom crust as is (no folding or crimping). Once you've added the pie filling, roll out the top crust to the outside diameter of your pan, and place it atop the filling.

23) Trim excess crust with a pair of scissors, then press the two edges together.

24) Crimp as desired. A simple fork crimp is fast and easy. At this point, it helps to return the pie to the refrigerator for 20 to 30 minutes; this chills the fat, which ultimately increases the crust's flakiness.

25) Cut a hole in the center of the crust for steam to escape. Or slash the pie's top surface several times.

26) Brush with milk and sprinkle with coarse sparkling sugar, if desired.

27) Bake... enjoy!

Reviews

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  • star rating 03/10/2015
  • toni horgan from anza,ca.
  • How hot is the oven and for how long to you cook the pie?

    Our pie crust recipes do not include baking temperatures or times because it depends on what you end up filling your pie with. The recipe that includes the filling will typically call for 1 or 2 prepared pie crusts (2 if you are going to put a top on it), and then it will specify how to proceed with baking. Happy pie-making! --Kye@KAF

  • star rating 02/22/2015
  • Sandra from London, Ontario Canada
  • star rating 02/06/2015
  • JC from NY
  • Excellent gluten free recipe- people can't tell at all that it's gluten free, it's flaky and buttery tasting- best I've ever made!
    I think maybe you intended to comment on our Gluten-Free Pie Crust Recipe. This recipe is not gluten-free. Barb@KAF
  • star rating 01/14/2015
  • Tammi from Bergen County, NJ
  • Truly super easy to make. Made this for chicken pot pies. The crust was flaky and "light".
  • star rating 01/02/2015
  • miniaturehome from KAF Community
  • I just spent hours making this pie crust, and it's the worst I've ever made. I've been making pie crust for 40 years, but it's always a bit tougher than I would like, so I tried this hoping it would be more tender and flaky. It was tender all right. It completely collapsed while it baked, allowing all the filling to run over the edge of the crust into the pie pan. What a nightmare! In 40 years, I've never seen such a thing! I was making an egg nog custard pie and used up all my eggnog. Now I can't even try again until next year because the stores are sold out of eggnog. A complete waste of ingredients!
    I am so sorry to hear about your experience with this recipe. We would really like to help you troubleshoot and hope you will call our Baker's Hotline, 1-855-371-BAKE. We would love to also send some coupons to help compensate for the wasted ingredients. Elisabeth@KAF
  • star rating 11/26/2014
  • conniehi from KAF Community
  • This was, indeed, the easiest pie crust I have ever made, including the easiest roll out. The next skill I hope to master is making the crust attractive, but one thing at a time.
  • star rating 11/26/2014
  • Scott in Jax from KAF Community
  • This ratio of shortening to butter worked out well. I had been using the recipe that was printed on the KAF silicone mat for years (because it is there right in front of me). That recipe was 1/2c shortening and one stick of butter. I am now a supporter of the more butter is better camp. I rated four stars instead of five because KAF has several different pie paste (my grandmother calls it paste, which, apparently, is the old-school term for pie dough) recipes that are their "favorite" or "classic" or "no-fail," etc... I know there can be countless variations of any type of food (curry, anyone?), but please do not confuse us amateurs!
  • star rating 11/26/2014
  • judiriley from KAF Community
  • This crust is definitely the best tasting I have ever made. However, it seems a a little too "short" (can you ever have too much butter?!). I would like clarification - the classic recipe in print (on-line) called for 10 TBLS butter and the video-version of "pie-anxiety" calls for 8 TBLS - my motto has always been, "everything's better with butter",so I went with the 10, but in this case I think the 10 T. was a bit much. So, 8 or 10? Feel free to reduce the butter if that's what you prefer. Happy baking! Laurie @KAF
  • star rating 11/19/2014
  • Julianne Nielsen from Roy, Utah
  • Thank you, thank you, thank you! I love making pies from scratch, but I have never had success with the crust. It always cracked when rolling and was not flaky. I tried your Classic Double Pie Crust, after watching the video, and it worked, wonderfully. No cracks. Flaky. Delicious. This is my go-to pie crust recipe from now on and just in time for Thanksgiving pie baking.
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