Basic All-Butter Pie Crust will have you making crusts like a professional in no time! Coconut cream, apples, and peaches all make scrumptious pies, but does the pie crust make a difference? The answer is “Absolutely!” You want a crust that is flavorful, light, and flaky. You also want a crust that is sturdy enough to remain “crisp” on the bottom and one that does not get soggy.
This Basic All-Butter Pie Crust checks off every box and is the easiest pie crust I have ever made. No more running to the grocery store to pick up a package of broken pie shells every time you get a craving for dessert. And chances are, you already have all of the ingredients on hand to make this crust. The best part is that this basic crust includes only a touch of sugar, so you can use it for sweet and savory dishes alike (Quiche please!!). A tender tasty pie crust need not be intimidating. I’m here to guide you through!
How to make Basic All-Butter Pie Crust
The ingredients needed for a basic pie crust are very simple, however; the type of flour you choose is very important. This crust requires all-purpose flour to obtain that tender flaky crust. You can use bread flour, however; I do not recommend it because it has an increased amount of protein which means it can make your dough dry.
- Mixing Bowls – used to separate ingredients
- Cutting Board – used to chop butter
- Kitchen Scale – used to measure the flour
- Food Processor – used to blend the dough
Butter: Chop both sticks of butter into small chunks and place them into the refrigerator until ready to use. The colder the butter the better.
Flour: The proper measuring of flour for baking is a crucial step. When flour is stored, it settles and becomes tightly packed inside its container. This means that the flour will be densely packed and could yield too much flour in your measurements. To remedy this, take a long-handled spoon and gently stir the flour around in its container to release air throughout. This process is also referred to as “aerating.”
Measuring the Flour: Two ways to measure flour for baking is with a kitchen scale or using the spoon method. To use the scale method, place a kitchen scale on the counter and turn it on. Place your mixing bowl on top of the scale and you will see that the scale reads the weight of the bowl. We don’t want this. We want only the weight of the flour. While keeping the mixing bowl on the scale, press the button that reads “O/T” or “C” for “clear” (which on my scale is the red button). This will set the scale back to zero.
You are now ready to scoop your flour into the bowl and the scale will give you the flour measurements only. You need 2 1/2 cups flour for this recipe. This equals 320 grams.
Other Ingredients: Fill a small bowl with water and a ice cubes and set aside until ready to use. Measure out the 1/2 tablespoon of sugar and 1/2 teaspoon of salt. Having all of your ingredients pre-measured and ready to go will make this recipe much easier.
Preparing the dough
Using a food processor, add the measured flour, sugar, and salt and pulse a few times to blend.
Take the butter out of the refrigerator and add to the flour mixture in the processor. Pulse just until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs and there are pea-sized pieces. Mixture should be dry and powdery at this stage. DO NOT over blend. The pea-sized pieces of butter are crucial for a flaky crust.
Add 6 tablespoons of ice cold water and blend ONLY until small moistened clumps turn into a ball of dough. Again, do not over process. The dough should stick together when pinched between your fingers. If dough is still too dry you may add another tablespoon of water. Do not add too much water or the dough will become too sticky to work with.
Transfer dough onto a dry clean work surface (un-floured) and form into a ball WITHOUT kneading the dough. The ball of dough will not be smooth. Cut dough in half and form each half into a flattened disc. Wrap each disc in plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator for up to 2 hours and long as 24 hours.
Preparing the crust
Remove disc(s) from the refrigerator and place on a lightly floured surface. Add a little flour to your rolling pin to prevent sticking. Roll dough out into a 12″ circle. It is okay if your circle is not perfect in shape.
Carefully wrap the dough around the rolling pin and roll out over your 9” pie dish. Cut away the excess dough from the pie dish or fold excess under. It’s now time to “crimp” and create a decorative rim for the crust. Once rim is crimped place pie shell in the freezer until ready to bake. Cold equals flaky!!
Crimping the rim of the crust
There are many techniques used to crimp a pie crust. I will go over three that I prefer to use; the Fork Method, Knife Method, and Cookie Cutter Method. I learned the fork and the knife method from my grandmother when I was just a child. They are very simple to do and they create a beautiful rim every time. Yes, there are more professional techniques out there, but I love that my pies bring back beautiful memories of large family gatherings at the farm, feasting on food and laughter at my grandparent’s dinner table.
Fork Method: Press the prong side of the fork firmly into the rim of the dough. This will create even lines around the rim.
Knife Method: Press the back of a butter knife gently into the rim of the dough in a “V” pattern, making sure to not cut all the way through the dough.
Cookie Cutter Method: I use the cookie cutter method anytime I am entertaining for the holidays and I want to add an extra special touch. I have several small cookie cutters to choose from depending on the occasion. Take out the second refrigerated disc, roll out the dough, and cut into shapes using the cookie cutters. Pour filling into prepared pie dish first, then place cut outs over the rim of the dough in the pie dish and press gently to stick together.
Blind baking a pie crust
Now that the Basic All-Butter Pie Crust is crimped or decorated it’s time to bake your crust. Some recipes call for a “blind bake.” Blind baking simply means that the crust is pre-baked without a filling. Some reasons for a blind bake crust are if your are baking a custard pie, making a refrigerator pie where the crust is baked but the filling is not, or if you are baking a quiche.
To blind bake a crust, pierce the bottom of the pie dough with a fork to prevent dough from puffing up during the baking process. Place a piece of parchment paper inside the pie shell. Next, place pie weights, dried beans, or even dried rice in the parchment to keep the shape of the crust in tact during the baking process.
Depending on the recipe, you will either need to partially blind bake or fully blind bake. To partially blind bake crust, place weighted pie dish in the oven and bake for 15 minutes. To fully blind bake crust, bake for 15 minutes longer, or until edges are golden brown. Remove parchment. If the bottom crust is still undercooked, remove weights and parchment and bake a few minutes longer until bottom is light brown and crisp. You may need to cover the rim with aluminum foil to prevent over baking.
Baking a filled crust
Let’s fill your beautiful Basic All-Butter Pie Crust! After crimping or decorating your crust, fill pie shell according to recipe and bake as directed. To prevent edges of crust from burning you may need to cover the rim with aluminum foil once they are a golden brown.
Crumbly Dough: As I stated above, if your dough is coming out the food processor crumbly and dry, add another tablespoon of ice cold water until you have a dough that will stick together when pinched together with your fingers.
Crust Shrinks: a very common problem is when a crust shrinks as it bakes. This happens when the dough does not have enough time to “rest” in the fridge. I let my discs of dough hang out in the fridge for up to 2 hours so the gluten can “relax.” If your pie crust does shrink, you can easily camouflage the pie with a heaping amount of whipped topping.
Soggy Bottom Crust: A soggy bottomed crust is not very pretty when served in slices, and it can give your delicious pie a gooey, pasty consistency. This can happen with fruit fillings that have too much juice and not enough thickening agent, such as flour or cornstarch. If this has already happened, don’t fear! You can fix this by lightly covering the top of the pie with aluminum foil, putting the pie back in the oven on the bottom rack, and baking a little while longer while close to the heating element. Glass pie plates are excellent to use so you can see how well the bottom is baking.
Puffy Blind-Baked Crust: If you’re crust is becoming puffy and rising in the middle during baking, it’s most likely because you forgot to pierce the bottom with a fork to allow air to escape, or you need more weights to weigh the dough down as it bakes. If you catch this before the crust has baked all the way through, you can fix it at that point by piercing the bottom with a fork and adding more weights to flatten the crust.
Freezer friendly for future use
The great thing about pies is that a lot of them can be made using minimal ingredients that you already have on hand. So, it only makes sense that you have a couple of dough discs ready to go when you are. These discs can be stored in the freezer for up to 3 months, making holiday baking season a breeze!
Basic All-Butter Pie Crust
- Place flour, sugar, and salt into the bowl of a food processor and pulse a few times to combine.
- Add cold diced butter and pulse the mixture until it turns into coarse crumbs and pea-sized pieces have formed. Mixture should be dry and powdery at this stage.
- Add 6 tablespoons ice water and pulse just until moist clumps form. Press a piece of dough between your fingers to see if it sticks together. If it does, then you do not need any more water. If it does not, add another tablespoon of water. Do not add too much water or your dough may become too sticky to work with.
- Transfer dough to a clean work surface and gather together to form a ball. It will not be smooth. DO NOT knead the dough. Divide dough in half to form 2 discs. Cover each disc with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 hours.
- When ready to use, take disc(s) out of the refrigerator and place on a lightly floured work surface. Roll disc(s) out to form a 12-inch circle. Place dough in pie dish and then follow the pie recipe for baking directions. For "blind baking" see full instructions included above in this post.