Chef David Burke Shares His Secrets to a Great Pie

Pies come in all shapes and sizes, but there’s only one thing that matters to the chef

The secret to great pie? The crust.

With Thanksgiving right around the corner, I can’t stop thinking about pies. When it comes to pies, it’s all about the crust. Whether its Key lime, apple, or pumpkin, your pie is only as good as its crust, and so you better make sure it’s right.

Crunchy, flaky, and buttery, crusts are also more versatile then you think. There’s always something interesting to do to the crust, and these are my favorite ideas:


Sometimes I’ll replace the water in my crust with half vodka, half soda water. The alcohol evaporates faster than water does, so the crust becomes extra flaky and the carbonation gives it a nice lift.


Believe it or not, grated firm cheese gives a nice salty, nutty flavor to the crust that works will with sweet and savory. I love using Cheddar with my apple pies.


Another great way to make your crust spectacular is by adding some extra flavor using spices or citrus zest. Key lime pie is not as good as it can be without a little lime zest in its crust.


Graham crackers aren’t the only thing you can use to make a pie crust. Take any of your favorite crackers, or breakfast cereal, and use the same method.


David Burke is a world-renowned chef and restaurateur. To learn more about him, visit his website and his Facebook page, and follow him on Twitter @ChefDavidBurke.