How many of you are intimidated by making pie crusts from scratch? I'll readily admit that up until recently I hated the idea of rolling out my own dough, which is why more often than not I'd pop up to the store, pick up a box of refrigerated pie crusts and call it a day. The thing is, I was never quite happy with my final product because ready made pie crusts lack the flaky, melt-in-your-mouth texture of a made from scratch crust.
Ultimately I decided it was time to tackle my pie making fear, so I locked myself in the kitchen and made pie crusts over and over again until I got it right. Do you know what I learned from that experience? Pie crusts aren't nearly as hard as I had imagined. That's why I thought I'd share some of the tips I've learned along the way and while I'm at it spread the word about the Cookies for Kids' Cancer 4th Annual 50 State Challenge.
Today we're partnering with OXO in support of this wonderful event. Did you know that September is National Childhood Cancer Awareness Month? Your mission, should you choose to participate, is to help us promote childhood cancer awareness and raise funds to help develop new, and less toxic pediatric cancer treatments.
How can you help? Host a neighborhood bake sale, run a race, throw a fundraiser at your school, or come up with an event of your own. You can join in the challenge by registering your event online today; if you mark that you were inspired by OXO when you register, then OXO will match proceeds from your event up to their annual commitment of $100,000 (see notes at the end of this post for more information.)
Want some recipes to help you get started? Make sure to check out our desserts section! We have all the basics covered: pies, cakes, brownies, and cookies or check back later this week for two new pie filling recipes: Cardamom Peach and Blueberry Peach.
Fool Proof Pie Crust
I've tried a variety of pie crust recipes over the years, but the one I always keep coming back to is my great-grandma's fool proof pie crust recipe. It's the the same basic recipe I use for making Lemon Meringue Pie, Caramel Apple Pie, and even Chicken Pot Pie (although I omit the sugar for savory pies.) The recipe has been modified a bit over the years, swapping out lard for vegetable shortening and butter, but no matter what fat you decide to use this recipes works perfectly every single time.
3 cup all-purpose flour
1 Tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt
½ cup vegetable shortening (see notes)
½ cup salted butter, cubed
8 - 10 Tablespoons cold water
1½ cup all-purpose flour
½ Tablespoon sugar
½ teaspoon salt
¼ cup vegetable shortening (see notes)
¼ cup salted butter, cubed
4 - 5 Tablespoons cold water
There are a number of ways you can approach mixing the ingredients. I prefer to keep it simple using a mixing bowl and my hands, but you can use a food processor or KitchenAid mixer if you prefer.
In a bowl combine flour, sugar, and salt. Sift the dry ingredients once, then add shortening and cubed butter.
Slowly add cold water, two tablespoons at a time until the dough starts to stick together. Keep in mind that adding too much water will make a sticky mess of your pie crust. You may not need the full 10 Tablespoons of water, so don't just dump it all in at once to save time.
To check the consistency of your dough try pinching a small piece between your fingers, it should hold together; if it falls apart you will need to add more water. If you've accidentally added too much water try adding a tablespoon or two of flour to help bind the crust together.
Once mixed, divide the dough into two equal parts, form into a ball, then cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 15 minutes. If you have a kitchen scale now is a great time to pull it out to make sure your top and bottom crusts will be equal, if you don't have one you can just eyeball it.
Cover your work surface in parchment paper (to make cleanup a little easier), flatten the ball of dough and roll it out on a well floured surface. Make sure to cover your rolling pin with a bit of flour to keep it from sticking.
Start at the center and using your rolling pin work your way out until the dough is about ⅛ inch thick and circular in shape. If you notice your dough sticking, dust it with a little more flour. Work the dough lightly and quickly since over-handling the dough will make the it tough.
Transfer your dough to your pie plate and gently push it into place, be careful not to stretch the dough, since it will pull apart. Repeat the previous steps for your second crust or if you want to get fancy you can follow the steps below for a lattice top.
Roll out your second crust, then use a pastry wheel (as pictured above), pizza cutter, or sharp knife to cut one inch wide strips of dough. Use a metal ruler to help make equal-sized strips of dough or just eyeball it for a more rustic look.
Lay out one strip of dough horizontally and the other vertically so the two strips form a cross in the center off the pie. Add additional strips weaving them in and out as you go along.
Once finished trim the edges of the lattice strips so they're flush with the outer edge of the pie dish. Fold the lower crust up over the top, then use a fork or your fingers to crimp the edge.
If your recipe calls for pre-baking the bottom crust (sometimes referred to as blind baking), prick the bottom of the pie crust in several places with a fork, place a piece of parchment paper over the crust and add rice, beans, or pie weights to the center before baking it. This will prevent bubbles from forming on your crust as it cooks.
You may also want to put aluminum foil or a pie crust shield around the edge of the crust to keep it from become overly dark.
Let your bottom crust cool slightly before adding your filling to the crust. To add the top crust lightly moisten the edge of the bottom crust, gently add the top crust, and press into place along the edges. Trim off any excess dough around the edge.
This year, OXO will donate up to $100,000 to Cookies for Kids' Cancer. Cookies for Kids' Cancer is a recognized 501c(3) public charity duly incorporated under the laws of the state of New Jersey. 100% of proceeds raised by Cookies fund pediatric cancer research. Visit OXO or cookiesforkidscancer.org for more information.
This crust recipe is very flexible, so I've been known to vary the ingredients slightly depending on what type of pie I'm making and what I happen to have in the kitchen. The original recipe calls for lard, which is fine for savory pies, but I prefer a combination of vegetable shortening and butter. You can easily turn this into an all butter or all shortening crust with fabulous results, so keep that in mind if you ever want to make a pie, but find you don't have a drop of shortening in the house.
To facilitate today's recipe OXO sent along a handful of pie making tools. Keep reading for more information on the tools featured in our post today and where you can purchase them.
Double Pastry Wheel - This two-in-one tool has straight and fluted wheels made of sturdy stainless steel. The straight wheel is great for cutting pastas and dough, and the fluted wheel is perfect for lattice-top pies and lasagna noodles. Purchase from Amazon or OXO
Stainless Steel Measuring Spoons - The Stainless Steel Measuring Spoons' unique magnetic feature keeps the spoons neatly stacked together and allows you to easily remove one at a time. The soft, comfortable, non-slip handles feature permanent, etched measurement markings. Purchase from Amazon or OXO
4-Cup Angled Measuring Cup - The patented angled surface allows you to see measurement markings from above as you're pouring, so you can better measure ingredients without bending or lifting the cup to eye level. Purchase from Amazon or OXO
Silicone 1" Pastry Brush - The Silicone Basting Brush's multi-layered bristles work as if they are natural but have heat resistance and quick-clean convenience. Gaps in the center bristles hold liquid as you transfer, and tapered outer bristles let you brush delicate pastries with ease. Purchase from Amazon or OXO
Today's post was sponsored by OXO as part of the Bake a Difference with OXO Campaign. They have provided me with a set of pie making tools for evaluation, but no other compensation was given for this post.
This post contains my Amazon affiliate links. I try to keep advertising unobtrusive and to a minimum in order to provide you with the best experience possible. Purchases made through these links provide me with a small income and ensure I can continue providing you with quality content.