I read somewhere that if you can make pie dough from scratch, you are a talented baker, and I hold onto that.
There are many different ways/recipes/techniques of making pie dough – some use shortening, some use all-butter, some use vodka. I used apple cider vinegar in mine.
This pie dough recipe is seriously one of the easiest ones out there. It comes out really flaky, and does not require exquisite tools you may not have in your kitchen.
Very Important Tips
Even though this recipe is pretty straightforward, there are important tips & techniques to follow while making pie dough:
- GIVE THE DOUGH TIME TO CHILL
Giving the pie dough time to chill is very crucial. It needs that time to come together and solidify. I made my pie dough overnight, since I live in a hot climate. But, it’s still necessary to refrigerate it for at least 4 hours. This step CANNOT be skipped.
- USE COLD BUTTER
Using cold butter is important because this is what gives the dough the desired flakiness. Cold, solid butter evaporates into layers while baking, which results in the perfect layered, flaky, delicate pie crust/pastry we need. I prefer using unsalted butter, and adding salt separately, but you could use salted butter without adding more salt.
- USE ICE WATER
For our pie crust to be flaky, we need to prevent any gluten formation. What adding ice-cold water does is, it helps slow down the process of gluten formation, which results in a lighter, better crust. Using ice water is another way to keep the fats (here. butter) from warming up. We need the butter to be cold, and ice water helps ensure it stays that way, even during folding/kneading the dough. So basically anything that helps keep the pie crust flaky.
- AVOID USING KINDS OF VINEGAR WITH A STRONG SMELL OR TASTE
I used apple cider vinegar in my recipe. This is because, even though I had white vinegar at home, apple cider has less of a strong smell & taste to it. Plus, I only used 2 tsp of cider vinegar, because we are using it only to give some amount of lightness and flakiness; we don’t need the flavour to be there. Always keep that in mind.
- COVER THE PIE CRUST WITH PARCHMENT/FOIL COMPLETELY
For single-crust pies/tarts, like the one I made, you need to prebake the pie dough before baking it at the end with the filling. For this, you need to place a parchment paper/foil in the middle of the pie pan/mould and fill it with any kind of pie weights (you could absolutely use dried beans, dried rice, or even granulated sugar). Covering the sides with the parchment is crucial if you do not want your pie crust to shrink while baking. It’s always better to use pie weights for the crust/pastry, so it does not bubble and/or shrink during pre-baking.
- TRY MAKING THE DOUGH BEFOREHAND
In the case of pie dough, it’s always better to make the dough beforehand. And by beforehand, I mean the night before, or in the morning for making it in the evening. Pie dough/pastry needs a lot of time to chill and for single-crust recipes: the pie crust needs to be prebaked as well.
Now, what is a Single-Crust Pie?
A single-crust pie, like the name suggests, is a crust that is thin since it is a single layer of dough. This kind of crust is mostly seen in recipes where there is no top crust, such as tart recipes (quiches, chocolate tarts, fruit tarts) and even certain pie recipes (key lime, pumpkin).
With pies that usually have a top cover, such as apple pies, blueberry pies, chicken pot pies, cherry pies (so much more!), you need a double-crust, which means you need 2 layers of pie dough.
*The original recipe is from Baking Bites
For a single-crust 9″ pie
– 2 1/4 cup of all-purpose flour
– 1 cup of cold butter, cut into cubes
– 1 tbsp of granulated sugar
– 1/2 tsp of salt (skip if using salted butter)
– 2 tsp of apple cider vinegar
– 6-10 spoonfuls of ice water (alter as per texture)
- Add all the dry ingredients into a large bowl. This includes the flour, the sugar, and the salt.
- Mix lightly and then add the cold butter cubes. If using a food processor, pulse the ingredients at this point. If you are using your hands – with your fingertips, rub the butter into the flour mixture. Make sure all the butter is mixed into the flour, till it forms a crumbly texture. If it remains dry, add more butter, but make sure it is still cold.
- Once the butter is mixed in, the dough should be of a breadcrumb texture. Now, add the apple cider vinegar to the ice water (you can make the ice water by simply adding ice to a cup of water).
- Mix in spoonfuls of the ice water + vinegar solution into the dry flour-butter mixture. Be very cautious and patient with adding the water; you do not want the dough to be too runny.
- Continue adding the ice water till the dough starts forming clumps in your palms. Once done, simply bind the dough together. We won’t knead the dough, we only have to bring it all together.
- When a dough ball is formed, wrap the dough in cling-film and refrigerate overnight or for at least 4 hours.
- Now, you can keep this pie dough for up to 3 days in the fridge. But for when you need to use it, take it out 10 minutes before starting, to get it to come to room temperature. Remove the wrap, and press on the dough with a rolling pin to loosen it up.
- Continue rolling the dough till you get a thin layer of pie crust. Remember the crust has to be thin, but not too thin that it tears apart when working with it.
- Another important note: roll the dough to be bigger than your pie pan/mould, so that you are able to place it on top of the pan and trim the uneven sides.
- Place the crust carefully, making sure the edges and sides of the pan are covered with the pastry. Use a fork to poke holes in the bottom of the pie crust. Now, place the parchment paper or foil in the middle of the pan and fill it with any kind of pie weight (you could use dried beans, dried rice, even granulated sugar). Cover the sides also (go to Very Important Tips).
- Preheat the oven at 200 degrees Celsius (oven temperatures may vary) for 5 minutes. Now, bake the pie crust at the same temperature for about 20-25 minutes.
Once pre-baked, you will be able to use your pie crust for whatever awesome pie/tart ideas you have in mind! I used mine to make a quiche recently, and it turned out really good!
I know it comes off as a very complicated process. But aside from some important tips to follow, you will be able to make this pie crust yourself and brag about it to your friends soon enough!