It took me a long time to develop a flaky, buttery pie crust recipe. Or at least one worthy of a braggy blog post. 🙂
My flaky pie crust recipe takes a little more effort than the aforementioned recipes, but it’s worth it. And while my other crust recipes are delicious and will work in a pinch, this recipe is for when you want to impress with showstopping results.
What are the secrets to a flaky pie crust?
- VERY cold butter
- Food Processor
- Baking Powder
Want specifics? Read on.
How to make a perfectly flaky pie crust:
Step 1: Make the crust.
- Place cold, cubed butter in the freezer. The more solid the butter remains before it’s baked, the flakier your crust will be.
- Add some baking powder to the dough. The leavener helps lift and aerate the crust, allowing it to expand into the dish while it bakes.
- Use a food processor to mix the dry ingredients and butter. The metal blade of the food processor quickly cuts the butter down to pea-size while keeping it cold.
- Mix a little vinegar (I like apple cider vinegar) with the ice water. Vinegar inhibits gluten development, relaxes the dough, and produces a more tender crust.
Step 2: Pre-bake the crust*.
- Roll out the chilled dough, and line a 9-inch glass pie dish. Press the fluted edges into the lip of the pie dish to prevent the crust from slipping down while it bakes.
- Cover the crust with parchment paper, and fill it with pie weights (or beans). Doing this allows the crust to keep its shape during baking.
- Bake at 375°F, and remove the pie weights halfway through baking. Cover the crust with a foil ring to prevent the edges from over-browning.
- Brush the warm crust with a thin layer of egg white. This creates a protective barrier between the filling and crust.
*when making custard or wet-filling pies.
Hope you enjoy this recipe!
Flaky Pie Crust
Make The Crust:
- Cut the cold butter into small cubes, wrap with plastic, and place in the freezer to chill for at least 10 minutes.
- Add the flour, sugar, salt, and baking powder in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse a few times to combine. Add the cold, cubed butter all at once. Pulse until pea-size butter pieces remain.
- Mix the ice water and vinegar in a liquid measure cup. Add half the liquid to the processor and pulse two times. Add the remaining liquid. Pulse two more times. The mixture will be very crumbly, but when pinched together between two fingers it should come together.
- Dump the mixture into a large bowl. Use your hands to lightly squeeze the dough, gather it into a ball, and form it into a disc. Wrap with plastic and place in the refrigerator for 15 minutes to chill and rest.
- Lightly flour your work surface. Unwrap the dough and dust the top with some flour. Roll out the dough to a 12-inch round, sprinkling more flour as needed to prevent sticking. Make sure to lift and rotate the dough after each roll.
- Wrap the dough around your rolling pin, and drape it over a 9-inch pie plate. Press the dough into the plate and patch any tears. Trim the edges with sharp kitchen shears, leaving a ½-inch overhang around the lip of the pie dish. Fold the edges under to create a thick rim. Press the rim against the lip of the dish while keeping the dough flush with the edges. Use your fingers to flute the edges. Use a fork to prick holes in the bottom surface of the crust. Place the pie dish in the freezer until needed.
Continue If Pre-Baking The Crust:
- Preheat the oven to 375°F. Place a sheet tray on the middle rack.
- Remove pie shell from the freezer. Tear a piece of aluminum foil, enough to cover the whole pie dish. Cut out a hole in the center that is large enough to expose the filling area but not the crust’s edges. Set the foil ring aside for later.
- Cover the crust with a piece of parchment paper, and fill it ¾ of the way with dried beans or pie weights. Place the pie shell on the sheet tray, and bake for 20 minutes. Take the crust out of the oven, and carefully lift the parchment and beans from the shell. Place the foil ring over the pie dish – this will prevent the edges from getting too dark. Bake for another 15 to 20 minutes until the crust is golden brown.
- If the bottom of the crust has puffed a little, gently press it down flat. Remember to save the foil ring for the next time you bake a pie.
- Let the crust cool for 5 minutes. Use a pastry brush to gently coat the bottom and sides of the pie crust with a thin layer of whisked egg white. Make sure to fill any cracks with the egg white. Set the crust aside while you make the filling.