Pie crust

Whoever  first said “easy as pie” was a liar.

And all of us who have repeated it over the years are just as bad.

Pie fairy 001Pie Ain’t Easy!!!

     Pie fairy 003Pie fairy 002  Sometimes, the pie fairy hovers over your shoulders and all goes quite well.

Most of the time, the fickle little guy is hurrying off somewhere else and your pie dough falls apart, or is too tacky you add too much flour and it becomes doughy.

However, I have finally found some small success in making pies and I’d like to pass it on.

First of all- if a recipe says knead gently, THROW it away!

I bake bread,  you cannot knead gently.  And you cannot knead pastry AT ALL!

In fact , don’t even use a spoon, use a fork.

Second, always use ice cold water.  As in –put ice cubes in your water.

Third- ask around for a recipe that is almost fool proof.

(Not that there is such a thing, but some recipes are better harder to mess up than others.)

Fourth- use pastry flour if you can find it.  It’s a softer flour and allows for a much flakier crust.

And lastly- pray.  I do not say this lightly.  I have been baking professionally, off and on for the last 30 years. and I very rarely bake anything that I don’t pray over.  (My niece’s son is just learning this verse- I Thessalonians 5:17- only he learned it – pray without seasick- LOL!)  But if you are praying without ceasing I find it easier to pray over whatever you are doing.  For me it has been a preponderance of baking.  So I think you SHOULD pray when you bake- don’t question- just do it!

Here are two recipes that are almost foolproof.   One is from a MS cookbook that Allyson always makes, and it contains lots of butter.

Double crust pie dough

2 1/2 cups flour     Pie crust tutorial 002

1 cup butter

1/2 tsp salt

1/4 cup ice cold water

Cut butter into flour and salt mixture with a pastry blender, until the butter is in very small pieces and incorporated with flour.  Add ice water and mix gently with fork.  Push together into 2 disks and refrigerate after wrapping in plastic wrap.

Pie crust tutorial 003 Pie crust tutorial 004

Don’t worry if you don’t pick up all the flour.  DO NOT knead it to pick up the rest of the flour. 


The next recipe I got from a lady at church many years ago.

Funny thing- I forgot about it until I read the same recipe here in reference to church ladies!   But then I looked it up and use it when I’m making pot pies or quiche- I like it better with heavier ingredients.

Pie Crust- vinegar recipe

4 cups flour

1 3/4  cup shortening

1 TBS sugar

2 tsp salt

1 TBS vinegar

1 egg

1/2 cup ice cold water

Basically, you just do the same stuff you did for the first  recipe, except you add the egg and vinegar to the water and then  mix gently with fork.

( If you went to the link, you will have noticed by now that she says to knead it a little-  don’t listen to her- this is MY recipe from a lady at church, and you shouldn’t knead it.  Not even a little.)

Pie crust tutorial 007 After you have refrigerated it for about an hour.  Take out one piece and flour your surface like a blizzard.  Then rub flour all over your pin and roll the dough to the outside.  Never roll inwards- it is really confusing and will give your pie wrinkles.

Pie crust tutorial 008 Next make sure the dough is about 2 inches larger all around than your pie plate.  Then fold the dough- gently into fourths- and place it into the plate and unfold it to fit.Pie crust tutorial 010 If it tears, you can piece it back together-

PRAY that it doesn’t tear!

Pie crust tutorial 012 Crimp around the edges and fill.

Pie crust tutorial 013 I had some frozen quiche filling,

so I added egg and half and half and swiss cheese and made a quiche with the vinegar pie dough.

Here is a neat trick I just figured out with foil to keep the edges from getting too brown.  I had been making a crust guard with foil- fitting strips around the edges and slightly crimping them to keep the foil from falling off.

BUT, if you use just a square of foil-Pumpkin roll and sourdough 001

torn slightly in the center-Pumpkin roll and sourdough 002

and keep tearing the foil-Pumpkin roll and sourdough 003

from the center outwards, it is a lot easier and works just fine!

You already knew that, didn’t you?

Here is the quiche and a pumpkin pie I made with the butter dough.

Pumpkin roll and sourdough 007 Pumpkin roll and sourdough 016

So- that’s my story about pie dough and the many trials and failures I’ve had.

And that, my friends, is the truth.

And it wasn’t easy either.

9 thoughts on “Pie crust

  1. THANKS! I don’t make a lot of pie, but when I do, it’s often for the crust. The best pie dough I ever made was when we were living in Argentina and I used something called “cow grease” (I think it must have been lard). It was soooooo good!

    I did not know about only rolling out. I will try that next time. Also, where would I get pastry flour–a regular grocery store? (I’ve never looked.)

  2. Cow Grease=Lard. You guessed it!
    And I hear it makes a real flaky crust- but I only used it once and then felt so guilty I couldn’t use the rest of the tub.
    I buy pastry flour at the Oak Cupboard in Smithville. I’m sure you could find it at any bulk store- and perhaps under a specialty flour company like (Bob”s Red Mill or King Arthur) at the grocery store.

  3. Our church ladies have been spoiled the past 8 years or so. We used to make thousands of pies for a fundraiser every September and one of the guys made a pie dough press where all we had to do was mix up the dough, let it chill and then he’d take the ball of rock-hard dough and smash it with his press. Viola! A beautiful round of dough! We did have to SLIGHTLY roll it a bit thinner and then our crust was ready! We don’t do that fundraiser any more, but I’m seriously thinking about asking him for that machine! 🙂

    We can get pastry flour here in the supermarkets right next to the all-purpose flour.

  4. Martha, that would be such a bonus to have in a bakery. Was it his own design? And is it big and expensive? He should try to make them if they aren’t already on the market!
    But then he probably wouldn’t give up his prototype!

  5. thanks for the pie crust recipes! I just found a place where I can get frozen raspberries here in Paraguay! Why do we use vinegar in pie crusts?
    elizabeth…in argentina they DO use cow lard, here in Paraguay people use more pig lard.

  6. I gave up trying to make pie crust years ago. I cheat now and use the Pillsbury pre made stuff. I like it, but I might like the real stuff more. Just not sure I am brave enough to try again. We never had pie growing up, but my husband was raised on all kinds of fruit pies so it is necessary for me to make them. Thanks for the tutorial. I love that you pray over your baking!

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