Pie Crust 101: Perfect Your Pie with Homemade Pastry

Pie Crust 101: Perfect Your Pie with Homemade Pastry

Have you ever purchased a pre-made pie crust shell at the grocery store instead of baking one from scratch, too overwhelmed with the thought of perfecting the right pie recipe and with no idea where to begin?

Somehow it just never compares to a homemade pie crust. To save your taste buds from artificial flavoring, the team at Cooks Innovations will break down the steps on how to bake the perfect pie crust from scratch.

The recipe itself is pretty basic, and yields enough dough to fill a 6-inch pie pan:

  • 4-1/4 ounces flour (about 1 cup)
  • 3 ounces butter (6 tablespoons), chilled, cut into small cubes
  • 1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon sugar (increase to 1 teaspoon for dessert pie)
  • 2 tablespoons ice cold water

Before we start, it’s important to know that you must follow this recipe very closely. Your crust is the main attraction of your pie, so give it the attention it deserves! A general rule of thumb is to keep all of your ingredients very cold. The colder they are, the easier it’ll be to work with, and the more likely your pie crust will turn out well in the end.

First, mix the flour, sugar and salt together in a large bowl. Cut the butter into the dry ingredients using a pastry blender or a fork. To “cut the shortening”, blend it into the flour until it becomes smaller and smaller. Add the water and mix until the dough holds together. Once the dough has reached the right consistency, press into a large circle, wrap in plastic wrap, and chill for at least 30 minutes.

Now it’s time to roll out the dough. The plastic wrap used earlier will help make this step a little easier, preventing the rolling pin from sticking to the dough. Ideally, you want the dough to be a quarter of an inch thick and 10 inches in diameter. Always roll outward from the center, making sure to keep the dough as circular as possible. You can use your pie pan as a guide to make sure you leave enough extra dough for the crust. Just flip your pan upside down directly on top of the flattened dough and look at what’s exposed.

If you see at least 1-2 inches of dough around the edges, you’re good to go. If it looks a little empty, you may need to roll the dough out a little more in that particular area, careful not to make any holes! If you prefer to make more than one pie, you can always divide the dough evenly and use it with smaller 4-inch tart pans, following the same steps.

Next, transfer your dough into the pan or pans. The final step to making your pie crust is creating a decorative crust. Simply fold the edge of your dough underneath itself (think pizza crust but backwards). Then, place your thumb and index finger at a slight angle on the edge of the pie, and pinch the dough. Continue to do this in succession, very closely back to back along the edge of the pie until you’ve gone around the entire crust. Eventually, you will have a beautifully decorated pie crust that’s ready to be filled, baked, and enjoyed!

Depending on the actual pie recipe you’re following, the baking time and temperature will vary, so of course refer to your actual recipe. Luckily you can bake the crust ahead of time. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees, and line the pie with aluminum foil. Fill it about halfway with dried beans, rice, or pie weights to keep the pie flat. Bake for 20 minutes, then carefully remove foil and return pie to oven. Bake for another 10 to 15 minutes, then remove and cool. Whenever you’re ready to fill and bake for the final time, it’ll be ready to go.

Baking the perfect pie crust doesn’t have to be a mystery. With this step-by-step guide on how to master the art of crafting a pie crust from scratch, you’ll be a culinary connoisseur before you know it.

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