The Perfect Pie Crust

Staff Writer
Don't let the humble pie crust intimidate you, this recipe is foolproof
Flour
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People are unnecessarily intimidated by pie crusts. Your first 10 crusts may look like kindergarten art projects, but so long as the edges are presentable — so long as there are edges — no one who eats the pie will know or care.

Many recipes are very specific about what type of fat to use. Cooks swear by all-butter pie crusts, Crisco crusts, lard crusts, even vegetable oil crusts. My favorite is this butter-lard crust, which has the most flavor and shatters when you bite into it. But, use whatever fat you want; the crust will be better than anything you can buy.

Homemade crust tasted against Safeway’s frozen shell was delicate and rich, as opposed to brittle and bland. Likewise, it outperformed Pillsbury roll-out dough.

Make it or buy it? Make it. 

Ready in
30 m
8
Servings
189
Calories Per Serving
Deliver Ingredients
Makes
One 9-inch Pie crust

Ingredients

  • 1 1/3 Cup all-purpose flour, plus more for rolling
  • 1/2 Teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 Teaspoons sugar
  • 4 Tablespoons cold butter, cut into bits
  • 4 Tablespoons cold lard, cut into bits (if you have time, freeze the lard bits)
  • 1/4 Cup ice water

Directions

Sift the flour, salt, and sugar into a large bowl or a food processor. Add the butter and lard, a few bits at a time, blending with your fingers or pulsing in the processor, until the mixture forms a coarse meal.

Add the water, 1 tablespoon at a time (you probably won’t need all of it and should use as little as you can get away with), and mix just until the dough begins to form a ball. Shape it into a disk, wrap tightly, and refrigerate until very cold, at least 3 hours.

Flour the work surface and roll the dough into a rough circle, ¼-inch-thick or less. The circle doesn’t have to be perfectly round — ragged edges are fine. (This recipe makes a little extra dough in case of mistakes.) Lift the dough and place it in a 9-inch pie plate. (If you fold the dough in half and then in half again, it’s easier to place in the pan.) Don’t stretch the dough. You should have a lot of overhang.

Tuck the edges over and pinch decoratively. I like to squeeze the dough between the side of my middle finger and my thumb to create a tall, fluted crust, like a garland. It will collapse during baking, but the ruins of its beauty endure. You can also crimp the pie crust by pressing it against the rim of the pie plate with the tines of a fork.

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Place a piece of foil in the shell and pour in enough rice, dried beans, or pie weights to keep it from puffing. Bake for 15 minutes. Carefully remove the weights and foil and return the dough to the oven. Bake 5 more minutes. Cool before filling. If not using the crust immediately, cover and store at room temperature for up to 1 day.

Pie Crust Shopping Tip

Be sure to purchase the correct flour a recipe calls for – flours differ in gluten or protein content, making each suited for specific tasks.

Pie Crust Cooking Tip

Insert a toothpick into the center of cakes, bar cookies, and quick breads to test for doneness – it should come out clean or only have a few crumbs clinging to it.

Pie Crust Wine Pairing

Sweet chenin blanc, muscat, or amontillado sherry with nut-based desserts; sauternes or sweet German wines with pound cake, cheesecake, and other mildly sweet desserts; sweet chenin blanc or muscat or Alsatian vendange tardive (late harvest) wines with sweeter desserts; sweet chenin blanc or muscat or Alsatian vendange tardive (late harvest) wines, port, madeira, late-harvest zinfandel, or cabernet sauvignon or cabernet franc with chocolate desserts.

Nutritional Facts

Total Fat
12g
19%
Sugar
1g
N/A
Saturated Fat
6g
31%
Cholesterol
21mg
7%
Protein
2g
4%
Carbs
17g
6%
Vitamin A
49µg
5%
Vitamin D
0.3µg
0.1%
Vitamin E
0.3mg
1.3%
Vitamin K
0.6µg
0.7%
Calcium
5mg
1%
Fiber
0.6g
2.3%
Folate (food)
6µg
N/A
Folate equivalent (total)
61µg
15%
Folic acid
32µg
N/A
Iron
1mg
5.4%
Magnesium
5mg
1%
Monounsaturated
4g
N/A
Niacin (B3)
1mg
6%
Phosphorus
24mg
3%
Polyunsaturated
1g
N/A
Potassium
24mg
1%
Riboflavin (B2)
0.1mg
6.2%
Sodium
100mg
4%
Sugars, added
1g
N/A
Thiamin (B1)
0.2mg
10.9%
Trans
0.2g
N/A
Zinc
0.2mg
1.1%