Perfect Pie Crust

Yield 1 standard 9-inch pie crust top & bottom, each

Ingredients

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 cup shortening (I prefer butter flavored, if you have it)
  • 1 whole egg
  • 5 Tbsp + ice cold water
  • 1 Tbsp white vinegar

Instructions

  1. Gather all your ingredients. I like to fill a whole glass measuring cup with ice water. Combine flour & salt in a large bowl. Stir. Cut in shortening with a pastry blender, two forks, or pulse in a food processor until pea sized chunks are achieved. You do not want to crumble this mixture because those little balls of shortening are creating pockets of air in your pie crust, which become the flakey layers you want to achieve.
  2. Add the egg, 5 Tbsp cold water & 1 Tbsp white vinegar. Mix with your hands. Keep adding water 1 Tbsp at a time until the mixture is less crumbly & is starting to come together. Empty the contents from the bowl onto the counter. Continue to add just enough water for the dough to come together, but not be sticky.
  3. Cut dough in half & create 2 flat discs. Saran wrap the discs & place them in the freezer for 15 minutes. This gives the dough time to rest & keeps the shortening solid, since you want those flakey layers.
  4. Once the dough has chilled, remove one piece at a time as you work on your crust. Flour your surface & rolling pin. Roll from the center outwards & rotate the dough after a few rolls. Add extra flour underneath as necessary, so it doesn't stick to the counter. Continue rolling & rotating the crust until the dough is about ¼" thick & nice & round.
  5. Next, I like to roll my dough up around my rolling pin to make it easier to transfer to the pie dish. When you set your dough into the pie dish, sink your crust down from the sides so that it's not being stretched. The dough will shrink even more as it bakes, so you want to press the sides down towards the bottom of the dish forming the dough as close the the size & angles of the pie dish as possible.
  6. Leave a good ½" space over the edge, but trim up any scraggly edges. You may freeze the other pie crust disc for later if you double wrap it, or if you are doing a double crusted pie, go ahead & roll out the other disc. Fill the pie shell with your choice of filling. Wet your finger & run it around the edge of the crust, this will help seal the two pieces together. Place the top crust onto the pie. Cut off excess edges & proceed with the crimping as stated in the next steps.
  7. Crimp the edges of the dough by pushing the pointer finger of one hand into the thumb & pointer finger of the other hand. You are kind of tucking that extra crust around the edges as your crimp. This makes that crimped edge nice & thick & less likely to break. This crust is ready for pie filling, or if you want to use it for cream pies, you need to blind bake it.

  8. To blind bake the crust for cream pies, go ahead & dock/pierce the bottom of the crust with a fork. Place a piece of parchment inside the shell & fill it with raw, dry beans, about ½ pound. I used pinto, but it doesn't matter, whatever you have is fine. NOTE: These beans are no longer good to cook & eat afterwards, but I keep them in a container just for pie baking purposes. The beans act as a weight so the pie crust doesn't bubble up & it stays in place all the way around the dish, keeping the crust from sinking downwards.
  9. Bake at 350*F for 20 minutes. The exposed edges will look dry & will have just started to turn light brown. Pull the parchment with the beans out of the crust. The bottom will look wet. You will now return the crust to the oven for 12-15 minutes to finish baking the bottom part of the crust.
  10. Remove the crust from the oven when it is light brown & the bottom no longer looks wet. Use for cream pies.
  11. Note: If you are baking a pie with a double crust, you need to cut slits into the top layer & bake the pie for a minimum of 1 hour or until the filling bubbles & the crust is brown. You should notice through the slits in the crust if the filling has bubbled. If your crust is getting too brown, cover with foil until the filling bubbles. In my experience it usually takes 1 hour plus 10 to 15 minutes for the filling to bubble & the crust to be completely baked.

Recipe Notes

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