Perfect Pie Crust

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An honest-to-goodness Perfect Pie Crust for every occasion.
A beautiful mix of butter and shortening make a pie dough that’s delicious and easy to handle.

Butter, Shortening or Both?

There are so many different variations of pie crust recipes out there. All butter crusts, all shortening, oils, bits of this and bits of that.

I’m choosing to combine butter and shortening for this recipe. I really enjoy how the shortening makes a home-baker, like myself, not feel intimidated by rolling out pie dough. The shortening has a higher melting point so rolling out the dough comes easily. With the added butter, you’ll still get that delicious buttery flavor as well.

cubed cold shortening and cubed butter

Bringing together your Pie Dough:

For this recipe, we will be bringing it together using a food processor. If you do not have one, don’t fret, this can all be done by hand or with a pastry cutter. I, however, like to be the most efficient in the kitchen. Especially when putting together pies, my time is valuable.


Place flour and salt into the food processor. Pulse a couple of times to combine. Next, we’re going to add cold cubes of unsalted butter and shortening. Pulse until the cubes of fat have broken down evenly.


Add 4 Tbsp of ice-cold water to the mixture, continue to pulse, and add additional tablespoons of ice-cold water as needed until the dough starts to moisten. You’ll have reached the perfect consistency when pressed between two fingers, the dough stays together.


flour and salt in a food processor
flour, butter and shortening mixed in food processor

Turn out the dough mixture onto a clean work surface and bring it together with your hands. It will look a mess at first, but I promise, it will come together. It isn’t necessary to knead the pie dough, just bring it together into a dough mass. If you’ve made a double batch, this is when you’ll cut it in half.


Flatten your dough mass into discs, wrap with plastic wrap and refrigerate. If you plan to use this dough on the same day, leave it in the fridge for at LEAST 1 hour. If you’re using it at a later date, this keeps refrigerated for 2 days.


pie dough disc


When you are ready to use your dough, let sit out on the countertop for 15-30 minutes. The dough should still be cold when rolling out. If it does start to feel warm at any time during this process, pop it back in the fridge to cool for a few minutes.

Generously flour your work surface and rolling pin then start to roll out your pie dough. Starting from the center and gently rolling forward, going back to the center then rolling back towards you. Turning the dough regularly after these passes will help keep the dough from sticking.

When rolled out to an approximately 12-inch circle, take your pie dish and place gently on top of the dough upside down. Be sure to leave at least 2-inches of dough around the pie plate. If you’re making a double crust, repeat this process for the second one. You can store this second dough, covered, in the fridge until you’re ready to use it.

rolled out pie dough

Par-Baked or Fully Blind-baked Crust:

Depending on the pie recipe you’re going for will determine what route you’re going to take with your dough.

Fully blind-baked crust – Pies that do not have to go back into the oven. Bake for 17-20 minutes with your pie weights. After removing pie weights, give your pie an all over egg wash, return to the oven and continue to bake for another 20 minutes or until desired golden brown color. Be sure to cover the edges if they are browning too fast.

Par-baked crust – Pies that need to go back into the oven. This includes pies that will get dough topping that will cook during its second bake. After removing pie weights, give your pie an all over egg wash, return to the oven and continue to bake for 5-10 minutes until slightly golden and egg has set. Remove pie and allow to cool completely before filling and returning to the oven for its final bake.

Pie Weights:

Don’t have Pie Weights? No worries! Neither do I at the moment. Here are a few I have used:

Suger – This fills those nooks and crannies of the parchment really well. It’s heavy enough AND you can reuse this “toasted” sugar for future recipes.

Rice – Does a good job filling in all the gaps, and you can cook and eat the rice after too! Note, that some rice can spill out into your pie pan. It at times has a mind of its own.

Chain link – Works okay, but can cause some unwanted denting in your pie dough.

Beans – After cooling, beans can be reused over and over for pie weights. Can be fairly hot after removing, so take caution.

pie with pie weights in the oven

Perfect Pie Crust lattice top:

Roll out pie dough into a 12-inch circle. Keep dough floured and moving to avoid sticking to your work surface.

Using a sharp knife or pizza cutter, cut the dough into 12 strips.

Lay every other strip onto the pie, leaving about half an inch of space between.

Gently fold back every other strip, until you can lay a new strip of dough in the opposite direction in the center of the pie. After laying down the new strip, fold the dough back down and lift the other strips this time. Lay down a new strip about half an inch below the previous strip. Repeat this step until this half of the pie is finished.

Turn the pie and repeat the last step until you’ve completed your lattice pattern.

lattice topped pie
lattice topped pie baking in the oven

Trim off the excess pie dough.

Beat an egg and brush under the strip edges so that they adhear to the pre-baked pie shell. Use the remaining egg to brush/dab on your lattice top.

Sprinkle with coarse sugar (optional).

Bake pie according to your recipes directions. If the edges start to brown faster than expected, wrap them in foil.


Check out these Pies using this Perfect Pie Crust recipe:

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Perfect pie crust

Perfect Pie Crust

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A beautiful mix of butter and shortening make a pie dough that’s delicious and easy to handle.

  • Yield: 2 crusts 1x

Ingredients

Scale

Double Crust Ingredients

6 tbsp cold unsalted butter

2/3 cup cold shortening

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1 tsp salt

1/41/2 cup ice water

Single Crust Ingredients

3 tbsp cold unsalted butter

1/3 cup cold shortening

1 1/4 cup all-purpose flour

1/2 tsp salt

2 tbsp – 1/4 cup ice water

Egg Wash

1 egg, beaten

1 tbsp sugar topping for double crusts

Instructions

  1. Place flour and salt into your food processor. Pulse a couple times to combine.
  2. Cut the butter and shortening into small cubes and place evenly on top of the flour mixture. Pulse to combine, about 10-20 times until the texture looks like a coarse cornmeal.
  3. Add 4 Tbsp of water into the food processor and pulse to combine until the dough starts to moisten. Add water 1 Tbsp at a time if you need additional moisture. You’ll have reached the proper consistency when pressed between two fingers, the dough stays together.
  4. Turn the dough out onto a clean work surface and bring it together into a dough mass. ** If using the double crust recipe you’ll want to cut your dough mass in half after bringing it together.
  5. Flatten the dough into a 1 inch thick by 5-inch wide disc, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for one hour or up to two days.
  6. Take the dough out of the fridge 15-30 minutes before you plan to roll it out, or until it’s pliable.
  7. Lightly flour your work surface and rolling pin. Starting from the center of your dough roll forward gently, then back toward you. Turn your dough every few passes to keep it from sticking. Add flour where needed as you go. Roll into an approximately 12-inch circle. Not too thin, about 1/4 inch thick.  ** If making a double crust, repeat this step with the second dough.
  8. To place the dough into your pie pan, gently roll your dough onto your rolling pin, lifting to gently place it into the pie dish, and unroll.
  9. Lift edges so the center sinks into the dish, gently press the dough against the bottom, edges and walls of the dish. Trim the edges leaving 1 inch around the top of the dish. Tuck the extra around the edge under itself.
  10. Using a fork, poke or dock the bottom of your pie.
  11. What you do here will depend on what your plans are for your pie.
    -Flatten the edges with a fork (best if using a double crust, after par-baking you can tuck the top dough under the edge)
    -Crimp or do a decorative pinching (best if making a single crust)
  12. Place in the fridge for 15 minutes before par-baking.

Fully Blind Baking

  1. Pre-heat oven to 425 F, placing a baking sheet on top of a pizza stone if possible to pre-heat with the oven.
  2. Place a square sheet of parchment paper, slightly larger than the pie pan, on top of your pie dough.
  3. Fill completely with chosen pie weights and bake for 20 minutes
  4. Remove pie weights and parchment
  5. Brush all of your pie with an egg white wash and bake for another 20 minutes. Cover the edges with foil if they’re getting too browned.

Par-baked Pie Crust

  1. Pre-heat oven to 425 F, placing a baking sheet on top of a pizza stone if possible to pre-heat with the oven.
  2. Place a square sheet of parchment paper, slightly larger than the pie pan, on top of your pie dough.
  3. Fill completely with chosen pie weights and bake for 20 minutes.
  4. Remove pie weights and parchment
  5. Brush all of your pie with an egg white wash and bake for another 5-10 minutes. Cover the edges with foil if they’re getting too browned.
  6. Remove pie and allow to cool completely before filling and returning to the oven.

Traditional Pie Crust (double crust)

  1. After following the directions for the par-baked pie crust, prepare your top crust the same as you did for the bottom crust.
  2. Once your pie is filled, roll your top dough into your rolling pin, lifting to gently lay over your filled pie.
  3. Trim the edges, leaving enough dough to fold under the bottom crust, press together gently to adhere.
  4. Style your edges how you wish
  5. Give the top an all-over egg wash and top with sugar. Cut a couple of small slits in the center of your pie for steam release.
  6. Bake pie according to your recipe’s directions.

Lattice Pie Crust (double crust)

  1. After following the directions for the par-baked pie crust, prepare your top crust the same as you did for the bottom crust.
  2. Roll out pie dough into a 12-inch circle, 1/4th of an inch thick. Keep dough floured and moving to avoid sticking to your work surface. 
  3. Using a sharp knife or pizza cutter, cut the dough into 12 strips.
  4. Lay every other strip onto the pie, leaving about half an inch of space between.
  5. Gently fold back every other strip, until you can lay a new strip of dough in the opposite direction in the center of the pie. After laying down the new strip, fold the dough back down and lift the other strips this time, and lay down a new strip about half of an inch below the new one you had added before. Repeat this step until half of the pie is finished. Turn the pie and repeat the same steps until you’ve completed your lattice pattern. 
  6. Trim off the excess pie dough. You will want to beat an egg and brush under the strip edges so that they adhere to the pre-baked pie shell. Use the remaining egg to brush/dab on your lattice top carefully then sprinkle with sugar.
  7. Bake pie according to your recipe’s directions. If the edges start to brown faster than expected, wrap them in foil and keep baking.

Notes

  • Pre-heat your oven with both a pizza stone and a large baking sheet. If not both, one is okay.
  • Author: April Brown
  • Category: Pie
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: American

Keywords: homemade flaky pie crust, par-baked pie dough

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By on November 20th, 2021

About April Brown

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