My Homemade Pie Crust

Circle B Kitchen
I learned to make pie crusts about 40 years ago from my husband’s Grandmother, and have always loved the rustic, handmade quality of this pie dough.  It creates a flaky, tender crust that’s just heavenly. 

This dough is made with flour, butter, shortening, salt and water.  In recent years I have switched from Crisco (which Grandma B used exclusively) to Earth Balance shortening sticks or Spectrum organic shortening (and butter).  

Making pie dough, like so many other kitchen endeavors just takes practice.  Our Grandmas were good at making them because they’d done it 1000 times and could feel their way through it.  I like that.

The only thing that may vary from time to time is the amount of water you will need to pull the crust together.  Start with less than stated in the recipe and only add as much as you need to make the dough come together.  Too much water makes a tough pie crust!  Too little water makes the dough crumbly and almost impossible to roll out and work into the pie pan.

Also, the amount of dough made will probably be more than you will need for a 9-inch pan, but I like to have the extra to patch if necessary and it also gives you lots of dough to work with in making a nice, fluted edge.

Here’s the recipe…

For a 2-crust pie (9 or 10-inch)
3 cups of all purpose flour
3/4 cup of cold butter, cut into pieces
3/4 cup shortening (I use Earth Balance shortening sticks or Spectrum Organic Shortening)
½ tsp salt
1/4 teaspoon sugar
About 1/2 cup cold water

For a 1-crust pie (9 or 10-inch)
1 1/2 cup all purpose flour
6 tablespoons organic shortening
6 tablespoons cold butter
a little less than 1/2 teaspoon salt
a pinch of sugar
1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon and 1 teaspoon cold water

In a food processor, combine the flour and salt.  Pulse a few times to mix.  Add the shortening and butter and pulse until you’ve created little pebbles in the flour.  You can also do this the way I did for years, cutting the shortening into the flour using 2 knives in a scissor-like motion to create the little pebbles.  This goes faster than you think after you get the hang of it.

Dump this mixture from the food processor into a mixing bowl and add the water a few tablespoons at a time.  This is where you just have to learn to feel when the dough has just the right amount of water.  Too little water and the dough will fall apart; too much water and the dough will be stiff and heavy.  I usually end up adding around 7-8 tablespoons of water, but that so much depends on the flour and humidity.  If my dough feels a little wet, I just add more flour as I’m rolling it out.  The goal is to add as little water as possible and still create a workable dough.

Divide the dough in half.  Lightly flour your work surface and form a nice disk with your dough.  Lightly flour each side of your dough and roll to the desired size, flouring and turning the dough often to keep it from sticking.  I usually fold the dough in half to transfer it to my pie pan, or you can roll it onto your floured rolling pin and then roll it over your pie plate.  Lightly press the dough into the pie plate, letting it hang over the edges.  Do not cut off the overhang.

For the top crust, I place the crust over the pie, turning the edges under all the way around by folding it over the overhanging dough and sort of rolling it up to the edge of the plate.  Then I crimp the edges with my thumb (from my left hand) and two fingers (from my right hand).  Most times I will sprinkle the top crust with a little sugar before placing in the oven.