The Perfect Pie Crust?

Posted by on Nov 30, 2012 in Desserts | 1 comment

Another claim to the perfect pie crust usually appears near holiday time.  No matter how lovely the filling, the flaky well seasoned crust is the cornerstone of homemade pie.

I have been making the same pie crust for over 40 years—always using Crisco, and vinegar to tenderize the crust.

Foodie types sneer at those of us who still use Crisco so I set out to make an all butter crust.








Tonight we are celebrating Ty and Britton’s birthdays.  They both turned 40 this month.

Britton makes Ty a Chocolate Banana Cream pie every year—and he makes her-- Ina’s Coconut Cake.

He doesn’t really.  I thought that would sound impressive.  But I usually make that cake for her.  Britton also loves caramel.

As a result, I had this crazy idea of creating a special pie that would carry banana, coconut, and caramel to a new pie high.  If this pie turns out well I will share it with you.

Banana Coconut Cream Pie with Salted Caramel

Here is how I made the crust.







A simple cast of ingredients.  Flour, cold butter, sugar, salt, and ice water.








Whisk the salt and sugar into the flour.








The cold butter is added in small cubes.







Cut the butter into the flour using a pastry cutter.  This tool is essential.  Some instructions say to use two knives. Huh?







I still have my mother's pastry cutter which is rusty, missing a piece and tired.

I purchased a new one a few years ago.








Using the blades of the cutter blend the butter into the flour until the butter bits resemble small peas (whatever that means).  This will take a few minutes and you will need to scrape the butter of the blades now and then.








I switch to a fork when I begin adding the ice water.  Fickle flour sometimes takes more or less water.








The best test is to add less and squeeze the dough.  If it holds together--you are done.  Wet dough is "no bueno".








Using two hands with a light touch, form the  dough into a disk.








Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and chill while you clean up and prepare the board and pie dish.








Instead of using bench flour on a board, I cover the board with plastic wrap and cover the dish with plastic too.  It is cleaner but not "greener".








Begin rolling the crust from the center out.  The plastic also allows the freedom of rotating the crust as needed.








Here is where my method becomes rather unconventional.  Remove the top film of plastic wrap.








Center the pie dish over the crust.








Slide your hand under the plastic securing with an open hand and turn the plate over.








There you go!

Carefully remove the plastic  wrap.  I refrigerated the crust for a few minutes to firm up the butter







before trimming and crimping the edge.








Cover the crust with parchment paper--not deli wrap.  Fill the crust with pie weights or old dry beans before blind baking the crust.








After 15 minutes remove the crust from the oven.  Gather the four corners of the paper and lift out the weights.







The crust is slightly underdone. Return the crust to the oven for a few more minutes until it is golden brown.








After the pie crust is cool it is ready to fill.  I am happy.

What is your secret to a fabulous flaky crust?

Perfect Single Pie Crust


  • 1 ½ cup flour
  • 1 Tablespoon sugar
  • 3/4 teaspoon Kosher salt
  • 1 1/2 sticks cold butter
  • 4-6 Tablespoons ice water


  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
  2. In a mixing bowl, mix together the flour, sugar, and salt; cut or work the butter into the flour mixture with your fingers or a cold pastry cutter until you have large pea sized chunks scattered throughout.
  3. Add the ice water slowly while stirring with a fork. Be careful not to overwork the dough. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap, flatten and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.
  4. Blind bake for 15 minutes, remove paper and weights and bake an additional 5-7 minutes until golden brown.
  5. Cool completely before filling.
  6. The pastry may also be prepared in a food processor.


One Comment

  1. 12-1-2012

    Hi Peggy,

    I make a similar crust with butter using whole wheat pastry flour. It is a little stronger flavor but not unenjoyable. I have a friend who makes clocks and loves my pies so much that she allows me to barter pies for clocks.



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