Pie Crust My Way

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I did a cooking show before cooking shows were cool. You didn’t see it? You would have had to get up by 5:30 Saturday morning to watch me. I never quite made it to prime time.

As part of my job as a county extension agent in Johnson county, I was asked to do a short cooking demonstration on Channel 5.  Making the perfect pie crust was my subject.

I practiced many times before that showing, perfecting my technique and my recipe.  The same recipe is still the easiest, flakiest and most reliable crust recipe I have.  Nothing fancy or difficult. See recipe below and follow along with the pictures below.

 

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Use fork, pastry cutter or food processor to cut fat into flour.

 

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Flour/fat mixture should be very coarse with some pieces looking like small peas and other pieces resembling thick cut oatmeal

 

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Sprinkle ice cold water over flour mixture and start to compress into a ball. Only use as much water as necessary to make a shaggy ball.

 

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Sprinkle flour over cloth.

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Work flour in with your fingers

 

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Dump crumbly dough onto floured cloth.

 

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Put your hands underneath the cloth and use the cloth to press the dough together. This keeps your warm hands off the dough so the fat doesn’t melt. Also keeps the sticky dough off your hands.

 

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If dough is too sticky at this point, put more flour on the cloth–not the dough.

 

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Use rolling pin to roll out dough, making strokes starting at the center and going outward at different angles in opposite directions like you are going around a clock. Strive to keep your circle symmetric.

 

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When you are satisfied your crust is large enough and thin enough, place empty pie plate upside down on top of dough.

 

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Carefully, scoot your hand underneath the pastry cloth and flip the whole mess upside down

 

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The tea towel will end up on top.

 

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Peel the towel off of the crust. It may stick in a few places. Use a knife to carefully free the dough from the cloth.

 

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Trim crust with cooking scissors or a knife leaving about 1/3-1/2 inch overhang.

 

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Fold overhanging dough up under the edge to make it even with the side of the pie plate.

 

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Here I am pulling my fingers in opposite directions to make a ruffled affect.

 

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Take a long sheet (about 40 inches) of parchment paper and twist it. Coil the twisted paper to fit inside your unbaked frozen pie shell.

 

Pie Crust My Way
 
Detailed instructions for making a classic pie crust
Author:
Recipe type: Dessert
Ingredients
Classic Shortening Pie Crust
  • 3 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 cup shortening (i.e. Crisco)
  • 6-9 tablespoons ice cold water
  • Pinch salt
Part-Butter Pie Crust
  • 2¾ cups flour
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ⅓ cup cold butter
  • ⅔ cup ice cold shortening
  • 6-8 tablespoons ice water
Instructions
  1. Use fork, pastry cutter or food processor to cut fat into flour.
  2. Flour/fat mixture should be very coarse with some pieces looking like small peas and other pieces resembling thick cut oatmeal
  3. Sprinkle ice cold water over flour mixture and start to compress into a ball. Only use as much water as necessary to make a shaggy ball.
  4. Use a pastry cloth or plain weave tea towel (not terry cloth).
  5. Sprinkle flour over cloth and work in with your fingers. I also use a special sock on my rolling pin that comes with the pastry cloth. Work flour into it also.
  6. Dump crumbly dough onto floured cloth.
  7. Put your hands underneath the cloth and use the cloth to press the dough together.
  8. It should look like this. If dough will not come together, Sprinkle a few drops of water over dough until it will stick together. If dough is too sticky at this point, put more flour on the cloth–not the dough.
  9. Use rolling pin to roll out dough, making strokes starting at the center and going outward at different angles in opposite directions like you are going around a clock. Strive to keep your circle symmetric.
  10. Every little bit, lift up the dough. If it sticks, sprinkle a little more flour on the cloth, not the dough. Do you see a pattern here? Many people end up with so much flour on the dough that the result is dry and tough. Not good!
  11. When you are satisfied your crust is large enough and thin enough, place empty pie plate upside down on top of dough.
  12. Carefully, scoot your hand underneath the pastry cloth and flip the whole mess upside down.
  13. The tea towel will end up on top.
  14. Peel the towel off of the crust. It may stick in a few places. Use a knife to carefully free the dough from the cloth.
  15. Trim crust with cooking scissors or a knife leaving about ⅓-1/2 inch overhang.
  16. Fold overhanging dough up under the edge to make it even with the side of the pie plate.
  17. Make a decorative border.
  18. Place finished piecrust in the freezer for at least 30 minutes.
  19. Take a long sheet (about 40 inches) of parchment paper and twist it. Coil the twisted paper to fit inside your unbaked frozen pie shell. No need to stab the crust repeatedly with a fork unless you need therapy for a bad day.
  20. Bake in a preheated oven at 375 degrees F for 25-30 minutes. Remove parchment paper but don’t throw it away. It’s reusable.
  21. Use a knife or toothpick to carefully puncture any bubbles (making the smallest incision possible) to let the hot air out and gently press the dough back down against dish. If your pie crust shrinks down into the pan, more than likely you stretched it while rolling out or you neglected to freeze the crust ahead of time.
Notes
1. If you need a fully baked crust for a different recipe, put crust back in the oven after removing parchment paper for another 10-12 minutes. 2. Since my TV program, pie crust trends have changed. Butter has become a popular ingredient but in my opinion, it is harder to handle. The flavor is better but the dough must be well chilled or your pie crust will melt before your very eyes. Pi Crust 201 is adapted from The Sweet Melissa Baking Book. Use the same technique described above. But be very careful that the fat stays cold. Refrigerate dough before rolling out. After dough is rolled out and finished in pie plate, freeze for at least 30 minutes before baking.

 Related Posts:

Yogurt Pie Crust

Cookie Pie or Tart Crust

Fruit and Cream Mini-Tarts

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{ 9 comments… read them below or add one }

Janet November 22, 2009 at 4:33 pm

Thank you! I will start practicing this after the holidays.

Reply

Sis November 22, 2009 at 8:59 pm

Thanks. No “skinny” tricks here. :+)

Reply

Sis November 22, 2009 at 9:00 pm

Is this recipe for two crusts or one?

Reply

Romaine November 22, 2009 at 9:52 pm

These recipes will each make 2 single crusts for 9″ pie or 1 double crust.

Reply

amanda November 23, 2009 at 9:16 am

What a fabulous tutorial, will have to try your method. I need to get a tea cloth. Love the design around your crust :)

Reply

Christina Lee November 23, 2009 at 11:51 am

What a beautiful pie crust! I always like them better homemade! I will have to try your method!

Reply

Joan November 23, 2009 at 4:28 pm

I never buy pie crusts because I think that it is too easy to make one. Then I never make pies because it seems like too much trouble to make a crust. You don’t get anywhere if you are cheap and lazy!

Reply

Katrina November 25, 2009 at 11:48 pm

That is awesome. I love the crimping. I was just “complaining” that I really stink at pie crust crimping. I try. But need to try harder to make it look better. Love your tutorial! Thanks.
Johnson Cty. where?

Reply

isabelle December 9, 2009 at 10:40 am

Great tutorial! I will try your fantastic method, thanks for sharing:))

Reply

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