Homemade pie crust recipes

Mom still uses the old 50’s Betty Crocker cookbook recipe, but uses veggie oil instead of butter/shortning/lard. It turns out light and flakey.

What’s your favorite homemade pie crust recipe? (No, Pillsbury doesn’t count…)

Cook’s Illustrated’s version works well for us. Can’t remember the exact proportions, but it’s about half shortening cut in very finely (let the food processer rip for as long as you want), and then half butter cut in to large lumps (pea-sized).

Well, pretty much all pastry recipes are the same: flour, fat, water,
salt, and sometimes a bit of sugar. If you have The Joy of Cooking, the
recipe in there (Flaky Pastry Dough) is pretty much the one I use. Re
the fat, shortening gives you a flaky crust, butter tastes good. Some
recipes use 1/2 of each. I actually prefer to use all shortening. It’s
not about the ingredients so much as it is how you put them together.

Typically, you whisk together flour/sugar/salt, then cut in the fat.
You can use a pastry blender, or just a couple of knives. However you
do it, work quickly until you have a fairly uniform mixture that looks
kind of like wet sand. Then add water - use ICE water, as you want to
keep the dough cool. Sprinkle a few tablespoons at a time, and work it
in with a fork. You’re just adding enough to get things to kind of
stick together. Then - divide into two pieces (top and bottom crust),
form into a flat disk (like a big hockey puck), wrap in waxed paper or
plastic wrap, and refrigerate for an hour or so.

Rolling it out is a challenge if you’ve never done it before. The Joy
of Cooking actually describes the process pretty well, and I’m sure you
can find a video online. You might consider buying a pastry cloth, if
you don’t have one. Only a few dollars, it’s just a piece of canvas
on which you roll out the dough after first sprinkling it with flour.
Getting the dough into a pie pan, or a top crust in place, is always
a challenge. With a pastry cloth, you can use it to sort of wrap the
rolled out dough around the rolling pin. Some people roll out dough
between pieces of waxed paper or plastic wrap - I’ve never found that
to be helpful.

I use a Silpat (one of those silicone mats) to roll the dough out on. Then I take the Silpat with the rolled out dough on it, flip it upside down over the pie pan and peel it off.

Once upon a time, I had a pie crust recipe from the newspaper that called for egg and I think a little sugar. It was very rich and great for pumpkin pie. It did tend a little more toward crumbly than flaky IIRC, but was tender and very tasty.

Then I lost it. I only made it once and couldn’t remember enough to make it again. :frowning:

I used to make all the pie dough from scratch, but haven’t in years for lack of time. The refrigerator dough is actually pretty good, worlds better than the frozen crusts that were all you used to be able to buy.

I may try to make crusts again this year, though. I’ve scheduled a little more time for cooking, and learned to make dough in the processor rather than by hand. We’ll see how things go. Probably give the Cook’s recipe a try. They’re pretty reliable as long as they stick to New England food.

2.5 cups flour
1 tsp salt
1 cup shortening
1/2 cup water (I use about 3/4 cup water because I live in a desert)

Combine salt and flour. Cut in shortening. Add water. Form into a ball; cut this in half. Works best if you can refrigerate at least 4 hours.

I’ve never used a pastry cloth or mat.

Cold fat, cold bowl, cold utensils, make a short dough and refrigerate. Roll out on floured board…STOP OVERWORKING IT, GODDAMN IT!..oh, and a little orange juice in the mix. Yeah, it’s a secret recipe from my mother, and man is it light as a feather and flaky as Michelle Bachmann.

This may be some sort of baking heresy, but I generally roll mine out on a floured plastic (?) cutting board. If you’re coordinated enough, you can put the pie pan upsidedown on top and just sort of flip the whole shebang over. Also, in terms of proportions, I generally use something between the Joy of Cooking and the Moosewood fat/flour ratio, and generally half butter and shortening.

The Washington Post has a pie crust recipe they recommend for beginners. I’ve never tried it, though.

I use the Silver Palatte’s recipe:

1 2/3 c. flour
1/4 c. sugar
1/2 tsp salt
10 TB butter (fresh from the fridge)
2 egg yolks
1 tsp vanilla
2 TB cold water (plus a little more)

In a bowl, combine the flour, sugar, and salt. Then cut the butter into small chunks and using just your fingertips work the butter into the flour mixture, mashing it between your fingertips, until all the big lumps are gone and the mixture has the texture of coarse meal. (I actually get out a frozen icepack, the blue gel kind you put on injuries, and periodically rest my fingers on it so that my fingers don’t get warm enough to melt the butter.)

In another bowl, lightly beat the egg yolks, vanilla, and water together. Then, with your fork, mix the liquid into the flour mixture until it forms a ball. (I always have to use a little more water, and use my fingers.) Then take the dough and put it on your clean kitchen counter or a pastry board, and with the heel of your palm, work all around the ball, smearing it out in a thin layer. Then gather the dough back into a ball, wrap with wax paper, and put it in the refrigerator for 2-3 hours.

After it’s properly chilled, place the dough between two big sheets of wax paper and roll it out as thick or thin as you want. Work quickly because the dough will get sticky (if it gets too sticky to peel off the paper, just put it in the fridge for a while). When you can peel it off the paper, do so and do whatever the rest of your recipe calls for.
This is a rich sweet crust, not light and flakey – I use it when I need something substantial to bear the weight of the pie or tart filling.