My Homemade Pie Crust

Circle B Kitchen
In other posts I have alluded to the fact that I am not a professional baker and therefore not very precise when it comes to all things baking.  I learned to make pie crusts 35 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.  I have tried other trans-fat free shortenings, but none work as well as Earth Balance.  I can honestly say that my pie crusts actually come out better with it! 

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.

Here’s the recipe…

For a 2-crust pie

2 cups of all purpose flour
1/2 cup cold butter, cut into pieces
1/2 cup shortening (I use Earth Balance shortening sticks)
½ tsp salt
About 6-8 tablespoons of water

In a food processor, combine the flour and salt.  Pulse a few times to mix.  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.  Add the shortening and butter and pulse until you’ve created little pebbles in the flour. 

Dump this mixture 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.

For the top crust, I place the crust over the pie, turning the edges under all the way around and then crimping with my thumb and two fingers.  Most times I will sprinkle the top crust with a little sugar before placing in the oven.