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Secrets for making the perfect pie crust

perfect pie crust

Ah, the perfect pie crust: golden brown top and bottom; flaky, tender, and flavorful. Struggling to make the perfect pie crust? Is your crust tough, stiff, burned, or soft on the bottom?

Try our easy pie crust recipe »

We can help.

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step 1 For a tender crust, use all-purpose or pastry flour. Higher-protein flour (e.g., bread flour) will yield a tough crust. For flakiest texture, use ice-cold fat. Work it into the dry ingredients with a pastry blender, fork, or your fingers.

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step 2 Don’t blend fat into flour thoroughly; leave some of it in larger, pea- or marble-sized pieces. Chunks of fat will help create space between the layers of pastry; these layers translate to flakiness in the baked crust.

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step 3 Sprinkle 1 teaspoon cider or white vinegar over the flour mixture; this will help relax the gluten, and promote a tender crust. Add ice water, sprinkling it in a tablespoon at a time as you gently stir.

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step 4 When the dough starts to come together, transfer it to a piece of parchment. Squeeze it into a ball. If it holds together nicely, it’s ready. If it seems dry and chunks break off, spritz with additional ice water.

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step 5 Use the parchment to press the dough together until it’s cohesive. Fold the dough over on itself three or four times to bring it together. This folding process helps create layers, which translate into flakiness.

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step 6 If you’re making a double-crust recipe, divide dough in half. To avoid ragged edges as you roll, flatten each piece into a rough disk, then roll like a wheel across a floured work surface, to smooth the edges.

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step 7 What’s the easiest way to transfer rolled crust to a pie plate? Pick it up with a giant spatula, and gently settle it into the plate. Never stretch the crust; doing so will cause it to shrink as the pie bakes.

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step 8 Here’s a simple way to make a fancy edge on your perfect pie. Using the index finger of one hand, and the thumb and index of the other, crimp the crust between your fingers, moving around the perimeter of the pie.