Share What You Know | Pie Crust.

I love the Internet for a lot of reasons. The feeling of community, the friendships I've made, the sharing of ideas + skills. Lately, I've been pondering how powerful that last one is. It's amazing that someone in a little town in the middle of no where can post something (an idea, a recipe or a tutorial) that has the potential to reach thousands.  

This is a little experiment. If I ask a question, will you share what you know? 


Confession: I am a pie crust failure. I've tried all the "no fail" recipes I can get my hands on. How did they turn out? Failure. The crust is too thick, not flakey, too sweet. But that's not all. I can't seem to get the crust from it's nice floured surface into the pie plate without it cracking, splitting, completely disintegrating in my hands. I need your help. Your advice. Are there products that I should have? A special rolling mat, perhaps? Do I need a food processor (because some recipes say you do.) Do you freeze your butter? Can you link me to your favorite recipe?

My hope is that you will teach me what you know. The comments you share will not only help me bake a lovely pie for my family but will help other pie failures too (surely I can't be the only one.)

So, what can you tell me about pie crust?

32 comments:

  1. I've always used the Tenderflake pie crust recipe that my mom and grandma use: http://www.food.com/recipe/tenderflake-pie-crusts-188827 (just the one off the box).

    We like it because you can roll it nice and thin. We actually cut the dough into 12 pieces (enough for 6-double crusted pies) instead of the 6 portions that the recipe indicates. That is WAY too much crust in our opinion.

    The Tenderflake recipe uses lard, I think shortening produces a thicker crust.

    If your crust is falling apart, I would think you are adding too much flour maybe? I've never used a special mat for rolling, just my old wooden rolling pin and the counter.

    Oh right, and I don't use a food processor, just a bowl. Just be sure when you add the liquid ingredients that you don't overmix. And don't overmix when cutting lard into dough :)

    Don't know if that helps or not, but that is what I use!

    (PS: You can freeze the portions of dough as well. Just let come to room temp before using - My Mom uses hte microwave very carefully, but I always melt the lard and have a mess.)

    ReplyDelete
  2. I have tried Martha's Pate Brisee because I am anti shortening. But this past holiday season I pretty much decided that shortening really does work better and is way easier. My grandma was a pie making master. She just used a fork to mix hers. But I think the biggest secret is practice! Oh and when I transfer my dough I fold it in to fourths and then open it back up on the pie.
    ps I think she just used the BHG cookbook recipe.
    Good Luck! And uh, I will volunteer to be a pie taste tester any day ;)

    ReplyDelete
  3. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
  4. I heard a tip once to freeze the butter then use a cheese grater to grate it. I haven't tried it but think it sounds brilliant. :)

    ReplyDelete
  5. Hands down best recipe: Better Homes and Gardens (Old Red and White Cookbook) Recipe "Pastry for Double Crust Pie."

    Thanks for sharing your talents with us. Looking forward to more design inspiration.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Used in the recipe Ice water helps to make a flaky crust.
    Also I roll the crust between two sheets of wax paper. Take the top sheet off and turn the crust into the pie dish. Then I remove the second sheet of waxed paper carefully patting it into the pie plate as I go.

    ReplyDelete
  7. I could have used this a couple of Sunday's ago when I bribed my Sunday School kids with pie :) I told them that the Stake Primary was coming and they grade the teachers.. What if they give me an F? Would I be fired LOL

    They were sO cute about it, so I made them an apple pie for just being so darn adorable and good! Great questions tho, about crusts!
    My crust wasn't that great, so I have no value in answering :)

    ReplyDelete
  8. I stand by Martha Stewart's pate brisee recipe. I like shortening recipes too, but love the flavor of MS's. I use a food processor now, which is much faster (except for the cleaning) but I didn't always have one. Make sure you refrigerate at least an hour, although I've been known to stash in the freezer for faster chilling in emergencies.

    I roll on wax paper, invert my pie plate, then slip my hand under the wax paper & flip both together.

    ReplyDelete
  9. My (no longer) secret family recipe is posted here.  I've converted dozens of life-long pie bakers to my great-aunt's crust since I posted it.  And for me, the secret to moving my crust is using a cake lifter like this

    ReplyDelete
  10. simple. Pilsbury.. I can do the real thing..but honestly most people can't tell the diff so I save the time and the littl dough boy is my friend :)


    maddie

    ReplyDelete
  11. I used to be a pie crust failure of epic proportions until I found this recipe and replaced half the shortening with butter.

    http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/Best-Ever-Pie-Crust/Detail.aspx

    I learned that butter is for flavor and shortening is to make it flaky. I keep a small shortening in the freezer at all times. I use the butter cold straight from the fridge, when I realize that I'm going to make pie I throw my measured water into the freezer while I prep. Then by the time I use it it's nice and cold.

    Also - for transferring the crust to the pie plate I learned how to lightly roll it around your rolling pin - then just unroll it where you want it to be. It's awesomely amazingly super easy that way.

    I don't use a food processor, but I do use my handy dandy kitchen aid mixer which mixes it together really fast and easy.

    Hope this helps ♥

    ReplyDelete
  12. You guys are the best! Thank you for sharing your wisdom. I'm motivated to try again!

    ReplyDelete
  13. best idea ever, danyelle. i'm a crust failure myself and am glad to have great company in you. can't wait to read over everyone's good tips!

    ReplyDelete
  14. My best piece of advice is to wipe off your counter and then place a piece of waxed paper down that hangs over the counter. (The rolled edge should hang the same way as the counter, if that makes sense.) The wet counter will make the waxed paper stick to the counter slightly. Then place your dough on top of the waxed paper followed by another piece of waxed paper. Make sure you have enough waxed paper hanging over the edge of the counter that your waist can hold the paper in place when you start rolling. Start rolling the dough out and then you can measure your pie plate on the top of the waxed paper to make sure you have rolled it large enough. When the crust is rolled to the appropriate size remove the top piece of the waxed paper and put dough side down into your pie plate. Sometimes I use a table knife to get the dough to come away from the waxed paper. Then remove the other side of the waxed paper the same way once it's in the pie plate. Your dough won't tare because of the waxed paper backer. Hope this helps.

    ReplyDelete
  15. I like shortening over butter, mainly because I have a hard time with making sure the butter is just the right temperature... I use Crisco butter flavor, so you get the butter taste and the shortening consistency.

    ReplyDelete
  16. The Pioneer Woman's Perfect Pie Crust is hands down the BEST!! It is the same one that my grandmother and mother have used for years. With 1 1/2 cups of shortening, you can't go wrong!

    http://thepioneerwoman.com/cooking/2007/12/p-p-p-pie_crust_and_its_p-p-p-perfect/

    ReplyDelete
  17. I'm not great at pie crust, but after a little tutorial with Jenn McClure (LOVE Jenn's pies!) a few years ago, I feel much more confident.

    Her secrets to perfect pie crust were ice cold liquids as well as the butter/shortening (whatever you fancy)and also to just *barely* mix the ingredients once the liquids combined with the flour/butter mixture.

    Her pie crust rolling technique forever changed how I do it. I'm sure others have seen it before, but it was new to me. She cut the sides of a plastic bag (i.e. garbage bag or grocery sack) and placed the *barely* mixed dough onto the bottom layer of the bag. She then covered it with the top layer and rolled over the bag with her rolling pin. No sticking, no adding extra flour and thus ending up with a tough pastry. When ready to transfer the crust to your pie plate, you just peel the top layer of the bag off, flip the plate upside down onto the crust, then turn it over and release the crust from the rest of the bag. For me, who had never seen this done before, it was nothing short of brilliant!

    Did any of that make sense?

    ReplyDelete
  18. Oh, and I second the tip on Pioneer Woman's P-P-P-Perfect Pie Crust. It's a winner!

    ReplyDelete
  19. You are humble and clever. I like that about you. I use Martha's pate brisee recipe but I'm intrigued by all the shortening comments. Hands-down my favorite suggestion was to meet the doughboy.

    ReplyDelete
  20. http://simplyrecipes.com/recipes/perfect_pie_crust/

    I like the all butter crust from simplyrecipes. She says to freeze the butter for 15 minutes and it helps. I do use a food processor though . . . the best tool ever.

    ReplyDelete
  21. I have been using martha's recipe and method, too.

    http://www.marthastewart.com/how-to/making-pate-brisee

    her step-by-step guide gave me confidence, and i also like the simplicity of the ingredients.

    i use the following recipe when making apple pie, but still stick with martha's method to make the crust.

    http://cookingoncloverlane.blogspot.com/search/label/Apple%20Pie

    ReplyDelete
  22. I dampen my counter with a cloth, cling to it parchment paper, very gently dusted with flour [massaged thin to almost invisible by hand] USE ALL COLD, bowl I freeze, butter, ice water, etc. And I work the whole thing together with my fingers. I hate how messy it makes any appliances, food processors, etc, even wooden spoons. I just start with my hands, and keep on splitting the butter into smaller and smaller bits until it comes to shape. I place the ball on the parchment and rub light coat of flour on ball, and rolling pin [I have a wood one] and roll until moderately close to where I need it. Very gently rub with flour, place waxed paper on top to finish roll out. Then I peel off wax, flour in the same way if it feels at all sticky, and gently fold into quarters to place on center in pie plate, and gently unfold without stretching or tugging...

    I also like to bake the crust with ceramic pie weights.

    Good Luck!!

    ReplyDelete
  23. I'm still trying to perfect my crust-making skills, but these are the best pieces of advice passed down to me:

    *Chill everything that can be (ice cold water, cold butter, rolling pin if possible...I used to own a vintage metal rolling pin that was hollow for adding ice)...

    I've even read that wearing latex gloves or dipping your hands in ice water while working the dough helps...haven't tried that myself, though!

    *Don't overwork the dough! The less you work it, the flakier it will be!

    Love the recipes and tips from the other comments! Makes me want to roll up my sleeves and bake a pie this afternoon!!

    ReplyDelete
  24. I'm loving all of this good advice for pie crust. I've been looking for a new recipe.
    I have got to tell you about the greatest invention ever for helping you roll out your pie crust. It's called a pie crust form and it helps you roll out your pie crust to a perfect round size and makes it so easy to get into the pie dish. It's totally fail proof and you will only have to roll your crust out the one time, ensuring it turns out nice and flaky. My sister bought me one because I used to be terrified of making pie crust, but it's a total cinch now and I make it all the time easy breezy!
    Check it out here:
    http://www.freshfinds.com/index.cfm/fuseaction/product.detail/categoryID/1F47266B-F1AB-4978-A5D5-19386B2CE317/productID/DE58A5A8-6626-4A97-BCBF-D557FBA2DAD3

    ReplyDelete
  25. I love this question! I feel like I'm on a constant quest to be a better pie maker. I have a couple of recipes that I love but I am still no master at rolling. I am slowly coming to terms with the fact that it is a skill born of experience.

    You've motivated me to write to post about pie crust that I've been meaning to write for ages. I'll let you know when it is up. :)

    ReplyDelete
  26. ok, speaking of the small world of blogging - Kris (two comments up) is my husbands cousin's wife. hi kris! :)i have always been petrified of pie crusts so i always used pillsbury. but then my neighbor kept bringing me pies and her crust was so good. i finally asked her what she used and she used the BHG (red and white checked) cookbook recipe with butter flavored crisco. i am a hater of shortening but it is the only thing to use with pie. and she also gave me mat for my birthday. so now i just roll it out on the mat, roll the mat up and then unroll on the pie pan.
    glad i'm not the only one!

    ReplyDelete
  27. last time i made pie I used the an all butter recipe from smitten kitchen- http://smittenkitchen.com/2008/11/pie-crust-102-all-butter-really-flaky-pie-dough/

    the crust is delicious! she explains the hows and why's of pie crust. She also has a lot of fantastic tips. the ones that i found most helpful was not using a food processor (it over works the dough) and keeping the butter cold. very cold! that's what makes the crust flaky).

    good luck!

    ReplyDelete
  28. My best suggestion:

    Find a pie master and sweet-talk her into making you an online video tutorial.

    I learned to embrace the magic of a homemade pie crust following a session with a pie-crust master.

    You've really got to see it done to do it right, I think. (Especially that whole get it off the mat and into the pie pan part. For that part I gently roll half of it on the rolling pin and then gingerly lift the other half into the pie pan, then unroll.)

    ReplyDelete
  29. Once you get it right, you'll always get it right! Practice makes perfect :) I posted a tutorial on my site with pictures:
    http://www.mystainedapron.com/2010/02/pie-crust-101.html

    ReplyDelete
  30. I threw out all my crust recipes when I came across the www.smittenkitchen.com recipe (posted above). I do not use all butter though. Most of the time shortening, sometimes 1/2 and 1/2. But I follow deb's directions to a T. No fail. ever. (And I stopped using my food processor then too)

    ReplyDelete
  31. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
  32. Dandee.. I was reading your blog when I saw the SOS. The most important thing to remember is that,ALWAYS MAKE SURE when you rub in the cold butter into the flour, your only use your finger tips. Transferring too much heat to the dough will cause the butter to melt too fast.In this case, the flour is not well mixed with butter to give the "flakey" texture.

    Next important thing is that,as long as you are adding water. Make sure it is icy cold water.

    If you sense that your dough is too sticky, keep it in the fridge and take it out after 5-10mins before continuing to do rubbing in of the dough.

    Do not over "rub-in" your dough, as it will stretch the gluten too much resulting in a hard crust.


    Using a metal mixing bowl that is cold will help too!;) Let me know if all these works..Food science can be so fun once your got the hang of it! All the best!

    ReplyDelete