Flaky, Tender, Tasty Pie Crust

By: Julie

Serves: 1 double crust pie

Time: 10 min prep, 1 hour chill

When I first went on maternity leave, I was determined to learn how to bake better.  Specifically, how to make a pie at the drop of a hat.  I tried many different recipes, each promising to be tender, flaky, and still taste good.  That’s the trick you know.  Tender is easy, flaky is easy, tasty is easy, but all three at the same time is HARD.

I learned a lot while I was experimenting.  Flavor comes from butter, but an all butter crust is tricky and almost impossible to keep from over-working into something you will have to cut with a steak knife.  Tenderness can be achieved by using shortening, but it’s bland and tastes like cardboard.  Flakiness comes from working the butter in with knives, by hand, or with a pastry blender.  You can use a mixer, but it’s never as good.  The addition of vinegar or lemon juice breaks down the gluten strands, helping with tenderness, but also makes the pastry harder to work with because it becomes delicate.  Anna Olsen uses an egg in her recipe which is supposed to help elasticity, but I didn’t like the result when I tried it.  So here is what I use, it’s consistent, and once you get a feel for the texture of the dough, it works every time.

You Will Need:

  • 3 Cups Of Flour
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp white vinegar
  • 5-7 tbsp ice water
  • 1/2 cup shortening
  • 1/2 cup butter, chilled, and cut into small chunks

Prepare The Dough

Whisk the flour, salt and sugar together in a large, wide bowl.  Add the butter and the shortening and cut into the flour mixture until it begins to look flaky and most of the butter pieces are pea-sized.  Sprinkle the vinegar and water over top.  Mix lightly with a fork. You are looking for a consistency that will still look a bit dry, but when you squeeze it in your hand it holds its shape easily.  This may take some practice.  Shape into two equal discs, wrap in plastic wrap and place in the fridge for 1 hour.  You’re ready to roll!





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