I love pie, and I love making pies even more. So I’m always a bit surprised when I hear how intimidated some people are when it comes to making and working with pie dough. It can be a bit tricky if you don’t know what consistency to look for. But once you make it and see for yourself, you’ll wonder why you didn’t try it sooner! This recipe couldn’t be more simple; very few ingredients, no small appliances needed, and I’ll try to be as thorough as I can be in the directions.
I find that most people tend to stick with a recipe that they know well, and a recipe that works well for them. I am guilty of that myself. I’ve been using this same recipe for so many years, I know exactly how it performs, and I know that there will be no surprises in the final outcome. I am strictly in the “all butter” camp, as opposed to the vegetable shortening or butter/vegetable shortening combo. I think butter tastes SO much better than vegetable shortening ever can, so why would I ever choose not to use butter? And let’s face it, we’re not exactly counting calories when we make a pie! So here it is…I hope this is helpful to some of you!
Flaky Pie Dough
makes enough for 1 double crust pie or 2 single crust pies
- 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 tsp. sugar
- 1 tsp. salt
- 8 oz. (2 sticks) very cold butter, cut into cubes
- 1/3-1/2 cup ice water
First, fill a measuring cup with 1/2 cup of water and put it in the freezer. In a large mixing bowl, combine all of the dry ingredients. Have your butter ready, along with a bowl scraper (if you have one) or a rubber spatula.
When you have mixed the dry ingredients together, add the butter. Using your hands, mix the butter into the flour mixture, rubbing the butter between your fingers and thumbs to create sheets of butter. They don’t all have to small pieces, large sheets of butter are great, it’s what will make flaky layers in your pie dough.
Once the butter is incorporated, get the ice water out of the freezer. Add about a third of the water, and using your bowl scraper or spatula, start to mix in the ice water. Add a little more water, mixing well. You probably will not need the whole half cup, I usually only ever need to use about 1/3 cup.
At this point, your dough will look like a shaggy mess. This is when you should dump it onto a work surface, and with the help of your bowl scraper, start folding the dough in on itself from every side. Once it starts to come together, you can use your hands to knead the dough. Continue to do this until it forms a solid mass with no scraps falling off. This shouldn’t take long, and it also shouldn’t take much kneading. You don’t want to overwork the dough.
After the dough has rested and chilled overnight, you are ready to roll it out. (in a pinch, I have used the dough after it’s been refrigerated for 2-3 hours) Lightly flour the work surface. Let the dough sit out for a few minutes to soften a tiny bit before rolling.
Begin rolling the dough by rolling the pin over the disc in an X (so, one roll to your left, one to your right, like you are writing an X with the rolling pin). Then rotate the dough a quarter turn, and roll another X. Continue to do this until you have rolled the dough to about an 1/8th of an inch. It is important to keep moving the dough after every X so that it doesn’t stick to surface.
If you are making a double crust pie, let the edges hang over, and trim so that there is only a half inch overhang. Fill the pie, then repeat the rolling process with your second disc of dough. Place the second disc over the filled pie and fold the edges under the first pie dough. Press the two together, then crimp your edges. If you have extra dough, you can cut out decorative shapes if you want. These are easily attached with water. I usually freeze the assembled double crust pies for 15-30 minutes before baking to help the crust keep it’s shape. Freeze the single pie crust pie shell for 15-30 minutes before filling and baking. My favorite glaze to use is a couple tablespoons of heavy cream and an egg yolk, then sprinkle with sugar.