Sunday, May 20, 2012

The Perfect Pie Crust

This is seriously the perfect pie crust. I wouldn't lie to you about something like this.

For as long as I can remember, I have been using pre-made pie crust. I know, I know. You are probably thinking, she uses store bought crust?! Yes, I admit it, I do. They are so quick and easy - just grab, let soften a bit and then form to your pan. It takes all of the hard work out of making crust and they are honestly just as good. If you've had anything I've made, you probably thought I made my own anyways. Sorry I fooled you. Please don't cry.

Why I decided to make my own crust, I don't know, but I figured it was time to step out of the box and give it a whirl. The first time I tried this, I failed. Epically failed. One of my coworkers gave me her no-fail pie crust recipe and well, you know what happened. I made it a day ahead thinking I could just take it out and let it come to room temperature before rolling it out. I never got soft and was hard as a rock. I don't know if it was the shortening or what, but it did not work. I was a sad puppy. I was not going to give up though. I took me about another year to attempt my own crust again and boy am I glad I did. In my recent obsession with my Pioneer Woman cookbooks, I decided to try out a recipe she had for pie crust that one of her friends taught her. Super simple - flour, sugar, butter, salt, cold water. How could I mess that up, right? Right! I so did not mess this up and it worked beautifully! Even better, it was SO easy. Keep in mind, Miss Ree (Pioneer Woman), makes this crust with a food processor. I don't have one of those, so I used a trusty bowl and pastry blender. Pastry blender = $5. Food processor = $200. Plus, I don't have room for one in my tiny kitchen (hint - captain, please buy me a bigger kitchen. thanks. xoxo.).

This dough works great the day you make it, but the best part is that it's great to keep in the fridge for a week or if you don't plan to use it right away, you can even freeze the dough for up to six months! When you are ready to use, just let it soften a bit (not too much though - you don't want it to be too squishy to roll out) and you are ready to go. It's light. It's flaky. It's buttery. It's everything you want in a pie crust. If I can do it, you can do it. That I can promise you.


cut butter into small cubes before working in with the pastry blender (or before using your food processor)

work until the butter is small

after water is worked in and formed into a dough

separate dough into two balls and form into disks

wrap in plastic wrap and chill for 30 minutes to and hour and then use (or keep in the fridge for a week or the freezer for up to six months!)

when ready to roll out, place softened disk on parchment paper dusted with flour (to prevent sticking)

roll out to about the size of your pan. roll out a little bigger so you can form the crust

crimpy crusts. my mom taught me how to do this. to me, this is the only way to form a crust!

The Perfect Pie Crust (The Pioneer Woman)

 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon sugar
1 cups (2 sticks) cold butter, cut into chunks
1/4 cup cold water

Lightly mix 2 cups of the flour, the salt and the sugar in a mixing bowl or in the bowl of a food processor. Cut the butter into the flour using a pastry cutter or by pulsing the food processor. The mixture should look like large crumbs and being to cling together in clumps. Add the remaining 1/2 cup flour and mix lightly or pulse the processor 2 or 3 times. Do not overmix this flour. It should coat the clumps.

Sprinkle the cold water over the dough with your hands or a wooden spoon, mix it in until the dough holds together, then shape the dough into 2 discs. At this point, you may wrap the dough in plastic wrap for storage; it will keep up to a week in the fridge or up to 6 months in the freezer.

When you are ready to roll the dough, have ready 2 sheets of parchment paper (or one if you are just using one crust at a time) that are each at least 12-inches square. Place 1 disc of dough between them. If the dough is sticky for any reason, don't worry. Just sprinkle some flour on the parchment to get started. You shouldn't have to add much for it to stop sticking. Starting at the center, roll the pin out to the edge. Turn the dough and parchment as necessary and continue rolling, always from the center to the outer edge. After a couple of rolls, lift the parchment paper away from the dough to loosen and replace the parchment. Flip the whole thing and loosen the other paper sheet. Continue rolling until the dough is large enough for your pie pan.

Fill and bake or bake unfilled, as desired.

Makes 1 (9-inch, 2-crust pie)

Now what are you waiting for - get in the kitchen and make some pie! Or just make this and keep in the freezer for when you are ready to make pie. No more store bought crust for you with this awesome pie crust in your freezer!

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