Crust recipe

june2012 001

This is it.  Years of making pie have landed me right here – my perfect pie crust recipe.  It gets rave reviews and results in a very light and delicate texture.

I feel like a sell-out because I have not converted to all butter, but it’s just not the same. I tried all butter, I tried lard and I even tried coconut oil.  But this combination delivers exactly what I want in a pie crust.

Best of Both Worlds Pie Dough

For one 9-inch pie crust (double if necessary)

1 1/2 cups all purpose flour

2 Tablespoons sugar

1 tsp salt

4 T shortening (Frozen!)

*You can do Spectrum organic palm oil shortening to feel a little better about this 

8 Tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter (Frozen!)

1/4 cup ice water

1 teaspoon cider vinegar (just add to the water)

Place dry ingredients into food processor and pulse a few times to distribute the salt and sugar.  Scatter frozen cubes of butter and shortening on top of the flour.

Pulse in processor for about 1 second each time until the mixture looks like coarse meal.  You can take a knife and fluff it around to be sure no large chunks are under the blade.  This should be about 6-8 pulses.  Once the fat is cut in, add the ice water through the chute about a tablespoon at a time while you continue short pulses.  The mixture will not look like cookie dough – it will probably look a little crumbly.  Periodically check to see if the dough pinches together.  When the dough begins to hold together, turn it out onto saran wrap, form into a ball, wrap and press it into a disc.  If you did a double batch, separate the dough into two discs.  Refrigerate for an hour or up to two days.

TIP: cut the butter and shortening into small pieces and toss in freezer in a ziploc bag. I keep a couple of pre-cubed bags in the freezer during months when I’m making a lot of pie  so they are ready to go.

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5 Responses to “Crust recipe”

  1. Terri M. December 10, 2011 at 11:50 am #

    Hi Emily,
    Long time no see! I’ve been hearing so much about your blog and was eager to check it out. I’m impressed! Well done!

    I was at dinner the other night with your mom and suggested that, if you’re looking for a new challenge, you might try to perfect a tasty (and workable) gluten-free pie crust. There is a growing number of people, like me, who have to eat GF and the commercially made crusts are for the most part inedible, either lacking in taste or so crumbly that they’re unusable. Whole Foods sells a frozen crust that’s pretty good (The Gluten Free Bakehouse) and my husband, who’s a wizard in the kitchen, has come up with a GF flour mixture of his own that’s pretty good so it can be done, but few have mastered it.

    I look forward to following your blog and trying some of your recipes. They sound delicious!

    • emilythome December 12, 2011 at 8:39 pm #

      Hi, there! What a nice surprise to see you on here! Thanks so much for indulging my pie obsession. 🙂 You have such a good point – there is definitely a new challenge waiting with pie recipes for special diets. I could do a post that addresses things like gluten-free, vegan and even just a lower fat version. Gluten free would be the ultimate challenge, though. You’re on! I’ll have to secret shop the Whole Foods crust and then see if I can do better. I hope all is well with you and your family. I hear Ashley is in Germany these days – wow! All the best for a fantastic holiday! -Em

  2. Tom January 5, 2012 at 2:33 pm #

    I’ve been trying various combinations of vegetable shortening and butter for crusts. My 97 year old father (a real pie afficionado) said his aunt always used lard and it was the best. Vegetable shortening is pretty nasty stuff, but I have some doubts about the lard. I’ll give it a try and let you know how it goes. Thanks for the blog. I’m a novice and enjoying the challenge. Made a mixed blackberry/mulberry pie using berries from my son’s backyard. It turned out very well. I used half butter and half shortening for that crust.

    • emilythome January 5, 2012 at 8:14 pm #

      I so hear you on the quest to find the perfect ratio of fat for pie crust. I had hoped to have a love affair with lard, but after a few tries, I’m not sold. I’ve been using organic palm oil shortening that is non-hydrogenated (but pricey) and it makes me feel a little better about using vegetable oil. I’ll be anxious to hear about your pie making endeavors. Keep in touch and let me know where you land on the crust! And you might need to do a guest post on that blackberry/mulberry pie – sounds fantastic!

  3. Tom January 6, 2012 at 9:15 am #

    Thanks. I also meant to say that I use an egg to replace a couple tablespoons of water in my crusts. I’ve made several lemon meringue pies from my son’s lemons and my sister’s lemons and a couple years ago some coconut cream pies from my own trees. I haven’t tried anything with the guavas yet.

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