Flaky Pie Crust (Pastry Dough)

Homemade pie crust is truly unparalleled. You will instantly taste — and smell — the difference: so buttery, so flaky, so delicious. There really is no substitute.

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Homemade pie crust is truly unparalleled. You will instantly taste — and smell — the difference: so buttery, so flaky, so delicious. There really is no substitute.

This all purpose, buttery and flaky pastry dough (called “pâte brisée” in French) will work perfectly for pies, tarts, and other pastries — even savory dishes like quiche and pot pie.  Every home cook or home baker should have at least some variation of this recipe within their repertoire.

The truth is: pastry dough is really quite simple to make. There is only one thing you have to remember: keep everything cold. Cold butter, cold shortening, cold water. Even baking on a colder day will help!

I like using my stand mixer for this recipe — but it can easily be done in a food processor or by hand. I went many years before being able to purchase a stand mixer and made this countless times by hand. As long as you work quickly and avoid warming the butter or shortening with the heat from your hands, you shouldn’t have any problems.

One tip I have for making pastry dough is to make lots of it! I usually triple — or even quadruple! — this recipe to make a huge batch of dough, and then portion, wrap (in a sealed plastic bag), and throw it in the freezer. It will last for months. Whenever you want to make a pie, quiche, or even some fancy hors d’oeuvres, just transfer what you need from the freezer to the fridge the night before (or leave it out for a few hours, if you’re in a pinch) and then roll it out.

Here’s how I make this awesome pie crust:

First, dice the butter and shortening into small pieces. This makes it easier to combine with the flour. Return the butter and shortening to the fridge or freezer while you prepare the flour mixture.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the flour, salt, and sugar. Add the chilled butter and shortening and mix all together on a low-to-medium speed until only a few pea-sized lumps of butter and shortening remain (about 3 to 5 minutes).

While the mixer is still on, slowly pour in the cold water into the bowl. Continue to mix on low speed until the dough begins to form a mass (about 30 seconds to 1 minute). If the dough appears dry or doesn’t come together, dribble in some more cold water a little at a time.

Empty the dough onto a lightly floured surface and form it into a disk. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and chill it in the fridge for a least 30 minutes.

Remove the dough from the fridge and cut it in half. Return one half of the dough back to the refrigerator to continue chilling while forming the bottom of the pie crust.

Place the first half on a well-floured surface and roll it out using a floured rolling pin. Be sure to keep rotating the dough while rolling it to prevent sticking, adding flour when necessary.

Carefully transfer the rolled-out dough onto the pie plate and gently press the dough into the bottom edges of the pie plate. Cut the dough around the circumference of the pie plate, leaving enough around the sides to form edges (about an inch or so).

If you’re making a pie with a top crust, remove the second half of the pie dough from the fridge and repeat the above steps to roll it out. In all cases, I recommend chilling the dough for at least 20 minutes before filling or blind-baking it. This will also help the dough retain its shape.

Flaky Pie Crust (Pastry Dough)

Homemade pie crust is truly unparalleled. You will instantly taste — and smell — the difference: so buttery, so flaky, so delicious. There really is no substitute.
5 from 3 votes
Prep Time 15 mins
Total Time 15 mins
Servings 2 ten-inch pie crusts
Category Basics

Ingredients
  

  • ¾ cup (1 ½ sticks) cup unsalted butter, chilled
  • cup vegetable shortening, chilled
  • 3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 Tbsp white sugar
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • ½ cup cold water

Instructions

  • Dice butter and shortening into small pieces. Return to refrigerator or freezer.
    ¾ cup (1 ½ sticks) cup unsalted butter, chilled
    ⅓ cup vegetable shortening, chilled
  • In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine flour, sugar, and salt.
    3 cup all-purpose flour
    1 Tbsp white sugar
    1 tsp kosher salt
  • Add chilled butter and shortening. Mix on low/medium speed until only a few pea-sized lumps of butter and shortening remain (about 3 to 5 minutes).
  • While mixer is still on, slowly pour cold water into the bowl.
    ½ cup cold water
  • Mix until dough begins to form a mass (about 30 seconds to 1 minute). Dribble in more cold water, if necessary.
  • Place dough onto a lightly floured surface, cut in half (each for the top and bottom crusts), and form into two disks.
  • Wrap each disk in plastic wrap and chill dough in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes.
  • Place first half on a well-floured surface and roll out dough using a floured rolling pin. Keep rotating the dough to prevent sticking.
  • Carefully transfer rolled-out dough onto pie plate and gently press into bottom edges of pie plate. Cut off any excess dough, leaving enough around the sides to form edges.
  • Repeat steps 8 and 9 with second half of dough for the top crust.
  • Chill for at least 20 minutes before filling and/or baking.

Notes

  1. Try to keep everything very cold! The colder the butter, the shortening, and the water, the better. You can even chill the bowl and the flour if you are making pastry on a particularly hot day.
  2. If the dough is too hard from chilling it, beat it with a rolling pin until it becomes malleable.
  3. When rolling and forming the dough, be sure to work quickly and keep the dough moving. This will prevent the dough from becoming warm and sticking to your rolling surface.
  4. If cracks form when rolling out the dough, simply dip your fingers in cold water and gently press the cracks together to reform. A pie dough can break and crumble if it is too dry or too cold.
  5. This pie dough can also be made by hand, using light and quick finger movements to avoid warming up the dough. When adding the butter and shortening, simply crumble them into the flour by hand until only a few pea-sized lumps remain.

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