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Tender, Flaky Pie Crust, Every Time

 

From apple pie to quiches and tarts, a critical feature is a tender, flaky crust that embraces the filling. Yet try as you may, your crust comes out tough, rubbery, or soggy. It’s utterly disappointing. While there isn’t a way to revive a sad pie, there are some easy tips and steps to making perfect crust every time. 

Avoid the Pitfalls

To make excellent pie crust, understanding the downfalls and why crust goes bad is essential. There are three leading causes of lousy crust: overworking the dough, adding too much water, or not prebaking the crust when it’s needed. Though not technically a cause of horrible crust, overthinking and worrying too much won’t help either. 

 

The Secret of Perfect Pie Crust Starts with Any Crust Recipe

Usually, the main ingredients are flour, fat, and liquid. Everyone has a flour preference, just don’t use self-rising flour. Fat can range from butter, shortening, or oil. For the liquid, some prefer using milk, vinegar, water, or a combination. The choice is up to you.

 

The Real Trick is Cutting in the Fat with the Flour

Mixing the butter/lard with flour (and other dry ingredients) requires having the patience to follow through until the fat turns into pea-sized lumps. Once that is achieved, add only half the liquid first and then intermittingly add drops at a time between incorporating the liquid until the dough is just like a fresh can of playdough and is turning into a ball shape. Another way to know it’s getting to the right consistency is to think of dry cookie dough.  Then knead the pie dough into a nice ball - the dough should be firm and hold its shape.

 

Wrap in Plastic and Chill in the Refrigerator for at Least 30 Minutes

After that let it sit for 5-10 minutes before starting to roll it out. You’ll know it’s ready if it is pliable and doesn’t break off in chunks. If it’s not ready, simply wait a few more minutes and try rolling again. Once the crust is rolled out, press the bottom and sides into the pan.  Then either prebake the crust or fill it up and bake according to your recipe. 

 

Bonus tip:

Do you end up throwing away pie dough? A fun, quick way for a tasty treat is to re-roll out the dough shards, place on a baking sheet then sprinkle with cinnamon sugar or brown sugar. Bake it right above the pie for 15 minutes and pull it out. Just let it cool off for a couple minutes before crunching away.