Pie is a deeply personal experience. Pie crust, even more so. Ask any pie lover and they will tell you unabashedly about the best pie crust they have ever eaten and their own personal desires in said pie crust. Flakey, buttery, thick, thin, latticed, plain, etc. etc. Some people have memories of the way their mom made pie crust and if they don’t have the actual recipe, they search it out for years.. Did it have vinegar in it? An egg perhaps? All butter? Strictly crisco?
One thing is for sure in all our pie making efforts and pie crust replicating efforts, pie is one of the good things in this life. Perhaps one of the best things if you really think about it. Of course, it is only really one of the best if you are sharing it with your loved ones though. My loved ones, are pie fanatics. I really mean that. Fanatics. Especially my pie loving husband! My daughter is growing up to love the goodness that is pie as well and frequently climbs on daddy’s lap to help relieve him of his plate of pie with a bird like pose…open mouth, head tilted back, and a feed me type posture. If he’s not careful, she will eat the whole piece herself! Haha Pie is good my friends. Pie is good.
So, having moved out to the country without a Marie Calendar’s Pie Restaurant in site (I learned after moving here that some people have never even seen a Marie Calendar’s Pie Restaurant and weren’t aware they existed! That place always supplied my holiday pies…Who had time to learn and make the treats from scratch? At that time in my life…not I.)
So, in the country, I had to get my pie crust and pie game on fairly quickly. Lucky for me my husband does love to cook and his grandmother took the time to see the diamond in him. She polished him in the areas of the kitchen and specifically, pie making. She had something called a flour drawer? She made so much from scratch with flour that she had a drawer in the kitchen filled with flour for easy access. Well, thankfully, Grandma Rose instilled her pie crust making skills in my husband. After we met, my husband showed me how to make outstanding pie crust too!
Now, I have changed it up a bit with hundreds that I’ve made in the last 4-5 years but that is only because I have a difficult time using Crisco Shortening in ANYTHING. I don’t think it is the healthiest for me or my family so I choose to use a product made by Spectrum that is Organic Non Hydrogenated Vegetable Shortening instead (It can be found at Natural Foods, The Good Food Store, Whole Foods, Vitacost and Amazon.) There are a couple other products I would like to tinker with such as Nutiva Coconut Shortening (Usually in the Natural/Organic aisle) but when I find something that really works and is loved…I stick with it.
With the Spectrum Shortening, I don’t need to chill it first and it is not imperative that I chill my dough after mixing it all together either. If time is an issue, this shortening helps shorten the time required to make flaky pie crust.
This recipe freezes well too. If your pie only requires one disc for the bottom layer, it’s ok to make up the full 2 nine or ten inch pie discs, wrap one in plastic wrap, place inside the freezer in a labeled Zip Loc and defrost when you need to roll it out and use for another dessert pie or to top a savory pot pie.
Also, another unsolicited tip….Even after i make a two disc pie and I trim the edges of excess dough, I find that I usually have a handful or so of dough left. I often make a mini rustic hand pie with the leftover pie dough using some peeled and cut apples and cinnamon or other fruit I have available with a dab of butter.
So there it is! This is the pie crust I make EVERY time. It works. It’s consistent and it is SO easy. I hope you have an opportunity to try it and you like it too.
Enjoy and all the best!
- *Double Crust 10 inch-
- 2 3/4 Cup All Purpose Flour
- 1 Tsp. Salt
- 1 C. Spectrum Non-Hydrogenated Organic All Vegetable Shortening
- 8-10 Tbsp. Cold Water
- *Double Crust 9 Inch-
- 2 C. All Purpose Flour
- 1 Tsp. Salt
- 3/4. Cup Spectrum Non-Hydrogenated Organic All Vegetable Shortening
- 7-8 Tbsp. Cold Water
- Note- I solely use the non hydrogenated organic all veggie shortening as I name above to make all my pie crusts including for pot pies. This product does not require the same TLC that crisco or butter need. I rarely chill my dough and never chill the shortening before I cut it into the dough. It doesn't need it. If you are using another product, you will likely need to chill it before cutting it in to the flour as well as after making your dough in the bowl before forming into discs.
- Add flour and salt to a large bowl and mix together. Add the all vegetable shortening to the flour/salt mixture. Using a pastry cutter, cut the shortening into the flour until it resembles small crumbles. Then begin adding your water in 1 Tbsp. increments and continue to use the pastry cutter to combine. You should end up with a consistency like play dough. Not too wet and not too dry and crumbly. Because humidity and elevation play a part in baking, particularly with flour, add just enough cold water for you to reach the consistency I described above and a consistency you are able to roll out.
- Divide the dough in the bowl into two equal portions. Take the portions out of the bowl and form into a disc with your hands, pushing down to make flat and round. Wrap each disc of dough with plastic wrap to chill and use later (this freezes nicely too) or make a disc and roll out on a lightly floured counter top or large piece of parchment paper.
- Roll out a large enough disc, equally in all directions, to cover the entire circumference of the pie plate with a little dough left hanging over the sides of the pie pan. I use a large piece of parchment exclusively to roll out my dough because the dough peels nicely from it allowing easy placement in the pie dish. Place the bottom disc into a lightly greased pie pan forming the dough to the pan so that there are no air bubbles. Gently lay the excess dough over the sides.
- Fill with the interior pie components of your choice and then roll out the other pie dough disc to place on top, or cut into long strips to make a lattice decoration across the top. Brush the top of the pie dough with milk or cream and sprinkle with raw sugar before baking if desired.
- Follow the directions for the amount of time in your desired pie recipe to bake in the oven. Typically, most fruit pies using a full top and bottom crust require an hour and fifteen minutes at 350.
- *For partially baked crust-Roll out the bottom pastry and place in a slightly greased pie pan. Prick the pastry all over with a fork, leaving small fork holes in the pie crust in the pie plate. Place a piece of aluminum foil in the pie plate cavity, over the dough and add pie weights (dried beans work too) and bake the pie crust for 10-12 minutes at 425 degrees. Reduce the heat to 350 and bake for 8-9 additional minutes. Remove the weights.
- *For fully baked crust- Roll out the bottom pastry and place in a slightly greased pie pan. Prick the pastry all over inside the pan, leaving small fork holes along the dough in the pie plate. Place a piece of aluminum foil in the pie plate cavity, over the dough and add pie weights (Or clean dried beans) Bake crust at 425 for 10-12 minutes, reduce to 350 and bake for 8-9 more minutes. Remove pie weights and bake for 6 more minutes.