The Best Pie Crust Recipe

Posted on Dec 12, 2013

Best Pie Crust Recipe

A great pie crust depends on texture and taste. The key to great texture, a flaky, light crust, is using shortening.  The key to great, rich taste is butter.  Most folks use one or the other.  For that perfect blend of a flaky and flavorful use both shortening and butter in your pie crust recipe. No, butter flavored shortening will not do!

The Story of a Great Pie Crust Recipe

Several years ago my little family and I would occasionally have dinner at a local casual french restaurant in town called Antoine’s( pronounced AN-twanz).  The owner, Veronique (pronounced ver-oh-NEEK), is from France and specialized in french home cooking.  The food was always amazing, but the pie! Holy cow!  She had the most amazing, flaky, delicious pie crusts and she made every one of those pies herself .   It was the first time I’d ever looked at a pie and not cared what kind it was.  It didn’t matter if it was apple pie, pecan pie, pumpkin pie or cherry pie because the crust itself was the star!   Her pie crusts were unlike any I’d ever seen, golden and fresh, high and flaky.  You could actually see the flakiness. They were positively mouth-watering.

We were regular customers and went in frequently enough that she would stop and chat for a minute while we were there (one of the benefits of living in a small town).  One night the Mister couldn’t take it any more and begged Veronique to teach him how she made that magical pie crust.  Veronique didn’t make him work too hard for her pie crust recipe, in fact she also walked him through the process. (Lucky me!)  She also made him promise to take the time to do it right. He vowed he would, knowing full well you don’t mess with a great pie crust recipe from a french woman that has probably been handed down in the family for years!

Pie crust recipe -pinch edge

Ever since then, when it was time to make pie the Mister and our daughter would work together to make the flakiest, most delicious pie crust a girl could ask for.  The Mister would do the measuring and the Squirt would do the mixing with a pastry fork to achieve the lightest texture.  Then she’d handle the dough so her little hands wouldn’t heat it up as much.  I can still see her sitting on her knees on a padded stool to reach the counter, her hands gently forming the dough into balls. Veronique taught us that for a delicious pie crust you have work the dough as little as possible and be sure to let it rest. So while they worked, my husband taught our daughter patience, as well as the secrets to the World’s Best Pie Crust.  Baking can be so much more than mixing ingredients:0).

With the Squirt off to college, the Mister does most of the pie crust making now, but when she’s home they still work together, assuming their original roles, using the same pie crust recipe and make a pie crust family and friends gush over and one Veronique would be proud of. I am happy to share the recipe and technique with you, but you have to promise to do it like Veronique and take your time:0).

Veronique’s Homemade Pie Crust Recipe

Ingredients:

1- 1/4 cups all-purpose flour

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/3 cup shortening (room temperature)

1/4 cup butter (room temperature)

4-5 tablespoons water

1. Stir together flour and salt.

2. With a pastry fork ( a regular fork will do, but the thinner the tines, the better) mix in shortening and butter until pea sized pieces form.  This is takes some time and, while a pastry blender can be used, the texture will not be as good as if you take the time to do this by hand.  This is where the patience comes in.

3. Sprinkle one tablespoon of water over the mixture and gently toss it in and mix with your pastry fork.  Push any moistened dough to the side and keep adding the remainder of the water a tablespoon at a time until the dough is moist enough to form into a ball with your hands.

4. Leave the ball of dough in the bowl and cover the exposed areas with plastic wrap. Let the pie dough cool in the refrigerator for one hour.  This is very important for creating the right texture. I don’t remember the science behind this-just do it!

5. Transfer the chilled dough onto a lightly floured surface and press the ball so it’s flattened (about an inch thick). Sprinkle the top of the dough and the rolling pin with a bit more flour to prevent sticking. Working the dough from the middle out, roll the dough until it’s large enough to cover your pie dish with about an inch to spare all around.  Avoid rolling back and forth by rotating the dough (or your pin) 90 degrees with each pass, and only roll from the center out.  This helps prevent overworking the dough.

6. Roll the dough onto your rolling pin to transfer it to your pie dish.  Quickly unroll it over one edge until the dish is covered and gently work it into the dish taking care not to stretch the dough. Trim the dough about 3/4 of an inch beyond the dish’s edge.

7. Fold the extra dough into itself and crimp around the edge of the dish. Prick the bottom of the crust to release air during the baking process.  Bake as directed in individual recipes.

Baked Pie Crust Recipe:

Using the pie crust created above, line the inside of the uncooked pie crust with  a double layer of aluminum foil (to prevent over browning).  Bake at 450 degrees for 8 minutes. Take out the foil and bake another 5-6 minutes until golden brown. Fill as desired.  Enjoy!

 

More Inspiration:

Apple Picking
The Best Gingerbread Cookies
Macaws at The Flamingo
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