This post is about how to make all-butter pie crust. There is nothing more satisfying than making your own pie dough and making a pie from scratch. This is the pie dough that I use for most of my recipes and I get great results every time.
Growing up and well into adulthood my mother made the most amazing pies. The filling was always just right and the pie crust was incredibly flaky. I've always love to bake, but I focused on cakes, cookies and pastry. There was no need for me to learn how to make pies because my mother had that locked down.
Then came the day when my mom wasn't able to make pies anymore. It wasn't sudden, it was gradual as her arthritis made it hard for her to stand and to roll out dough. So I learned to make pie crust. The first few weren't great, but practice really does make better and eventually perfect. So if you're new to pie dough and pie crust I want to encourage you to dive right in and just keep practicing.
Only 6 Ingredients in This Pie Crust
This pie dough has five basic ingredients and each ingredient plays a specific role in creating a delicious butter pie crust.
A good pie dough starts with quality ingredients. I use Bob's Red Mill All-Purpose Flour because of the quality and protein content. It's my go to flour for most of my baking.
- Unbleached All-Purpose Flour. Provides the structure for the pie crust.
- Cold Unsalted Butter. Butter provides the flavor and flakiness of the pie. Use unsalted butter, because different brands of salted butter contain different amounts of salt and it's better to control the salt by adding salt.
- Kosher Salt. The salt enhances the flavor of the pie crust.
- Granulated Sugar. Sugar adds a little sweetness and helps with the browning of the dough as it bakes.
- Ice Cold Water. Water holds everything together. Ice cold water helps ensure that the butter stays cold. The recipe calls for 1/2 cup of water. The dough will be a little wet, but as the dough rests and chills it will absorb the water. Start with half the water and add the remaining water 1 tablespoon at a time. In most instances you'll use all the water, but I've found that during the winter I might not use all the water because of the moisture in the air.
- Lemon Juice or Vinegar. Just a little acid helps control gluten formation and makes the dough easier to roll out after it has chilled.
How to Make The Dough
Start by cutting cold butter into 1/2-inch cubes and place it in the refrigerator. Place all the dry ingredients in a bowl and whisk them to combine.
Add the cold butter to the dry ingredients and toss the cubes of butter in the flour until they're all coated with flour.
Use your hands to mix the butter into the flour mixture, but smashing the butter into flat pieces and or use a pastry cutter to cut the butter into the flour.
Add the lemon juice to the ice water and add 4 tablespoons of water to the dough. Use a silicone spatula to toss the water with the butter-flour mixture. Add the remaining water 1 tablespoon at a time until the dough holds together when you press some of it in your hand.
Knead the dough and form the dough into a ball, making sure that all the flour is mixed in. Divide the dough into two even pieces, about 390 grams each.
Shape each ball of dough into a flat disc and wrap each one in plastic wrap. If making the pie the same day chill the dough for at least 45 minutes.
Store the dough in the refrigerator for up to 2 days. Or freeze it for up to 2 month bu placing the dough in a freezer bag.
Rolling and Shaping the Pie Dough
Remove the dough from the refrigerator and let it sit at room temperature for 5 minutes before starting to roll it out. If removing from the freezer, let it sit at room temperature for 10-15 minutes.
Place the dough on a well floured surface. Roll the dough out by starting at the center and roll up. Return the rolling pin to the center and roll down, lightly pressing the dough each time.
Repeat this move 2 more times and rotate the dough a quarter turn. Repeat the steps of rolling the dough starting in the center.
Roll the dough out to the required size depending on what you're making. For most pies I roll the dough out to a 12-inch circle. For a galette I roll the dough out to 12-14-inches depending on the amount of fruit.
See my recipes for Blueberry Crumble Pie and Blackberry Galette for examples rolling out dough.
Pro Tips for Making This Recipe
- Use Cold Butter. Your butter and water should be cold when they mixed into the dry ingredients. My mother sometimes chilled the flour. I haven't tried that technique yet, but it worked for her. I keep a jar that holds 2 cups of water in the refrigerator at all times so I know that I will have ice cold water whenever I need it.
- Don't overwork the dough. Working the dough too much will activate the gluten in the flour and create a dough that is harder to roll our and a finished pie crust that is chewy. Once the water is added only work it enough with a wooden spoon or silicone spatula to work it into the other ingredients and then shape it into a circle or square for your recipe.
- Keep the dough cool. After chilling the dough, let it sit on the counter for 5-10 minutes to make it easier to roll out. Quickly roll out the dough and fit it into whatever baking pan or pie plate that you are using. Then chill the dough again after shaping it.
Troubleshooting Pie Crust
- The pie dough is crumbly and the edges crack when rolled out. Not enough water was added to the dough.
- The dough tears as it's lifted into the pie plate. The dough is too warm. If it is fragile or soft return the dough to the refrigerator and let it chill for 15 minutes.
- The pie crust is tough and chewy. The dough was either overworked or not all the butter called for in the recipe was used.
Try these recipes with the all-butter pies crust.
All-Butter Pie Crust
- 2-1/2 cups (380 grams) unbleached all-purpose flour
- 2 tablespoons (25 grams) white granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 20 tablespoons (284 grams) cold unsalted butter cut into 1/2-inch cubes
- 1/2 cup ice-cold water or more if required
- 1 teaspoon lemon juice
Mixing By Hand
- Put the flour, sugar, and salt in a bowl and whisk to combine. Cut the butter into 1/2-inch cubes and add it to the flour mixture. Use your fingers or a pastry cutter to cut the butter into the dry ingredients until it resembles small peas.
- Combine the ice-cold water and the lemon juice. Add the ice water to the dough and use a rubber spatula to mix the water into the dry ingredients. The dough will s be slightly crumbly or shaggy but will hold together when squeezed into a ball. If more water is needed add a tablespoon at a time.
- Dump the dough onto a lightly floured surface and press the dough together, folding it over on itself until it starts to hold together. Try not to work the dough too much or it may become overdeveloped and tough.
- Divide the dough into 2 equal parts and shape each piece into disk 1-inch thick. Wrap each disk in plastic wrap and chill for at least 45 minutes. The dough can be refrigerated for up to 2 days.
- Follow the directions in the recipe that you’re using the pie dough for to roll out and shape the pie dough.
- Put the flour, sugar and salt in a bowl and stir to combine. Place the flour mixture into a food processor.
- Cut the butter into 1/2-inch cubes and add it to the flour mixture. Pulse the dough until it is coarse and crumbly, and the butter is about the size of peas.
- Pour the mixture into a large bowl. Add 1/4 cup of ice water and use a rubber spatula to toss together. Add the remaining water and mix into the dough until it starts to come together. It will still be slightly crumbly or shaggy but will hold together when squeezed into a ball. If more water is needed add a tablespoon at a time.
- Dump the dough onto a lightly floured surface and press the dough together, folding it over on itself until it starts to hold together. Try not to work the dough too much or it may become and overdeveloped and tough.
- Divide the dough into 2 equal parts and shape each piece into a disk 1-inch thick. Wrap each disk in plastic wrap and chill for at least 45 minutes.
Storing the Dough
- With either method, the dough can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 2 days and frozen for up to 2 months. If freezing the dough, wrap each disk in another layer of plastic wrap and then placed them in a freezer bag. When ready to use the dough place it in the refrigerator the day before you plan to use it.
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