Pie Dough How To

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Pie Dough How To

By The Paula Deen Test Kitchen

It’s just not Thanksgiving without a piecrust homemade from scratch. That rich, buttery flavor and flakey texture makes for a happy memory that stays with us all year long. Whether it’s Apple, Pecan, or Pumpkin pie, a homemade piecrust is an essential part of the holiday season.

For some reason, it seems like people get nervous and shy away from dough, maybe thinking it’s harder to make than it actually is. Well fear not, friends, for it’s time to cure your pie dough-phobia with this simple how-to tutorial!

image1. Gather all your ingredients and measure everything out. Make sure you have everything you need before you get started. There’s nothing worse than starting a recipe then realizing you’re out of sugar.

It’s important that your butter and shortening (the fats) are very cold and cubed into small chunks. If working in a hot room (often the case during the holidays with all the cooking and baking that’s going on) it’s helpful to make sure that all your ingredients (and even the equipment you’re using) are nice and cold. If necessary, you can place everything in the fridge to chill.

image2. Begin by pulsing together the flour, sugar, and salt together in the chilled bowl of a food processor. Next, add the butter (and the shortening, if you’re using). Pulse only until you have coarse crumbs, around the size of peas. The picture shown here illustrates the correct texture. The secret is to not overwork the butter or to pulverize it to bits. You want the little chunks of cold butter because they will create layers in the dough, so when the butter melts in the oven and makes steam pockets, you end up with that wonderful flaky texture.

At this point, you’re ready to add your cold water. For safe measure, add a few ice cubes to the water in your measuring cup to make sure it’s extra cold. If we haven’t emphasized this enough, cold is the key to your flaky success!

Now slowly add the very cold water and pulse until the dough just comes together. You’ll know when it just holds together when rubbed between your fingers. It should not be pulsed to the point where it all comes together in a ball. This should not take more than 20 seconds. The mixture should still be slightly crumbly.

 

image3. Remove the dough from the food processor, flour your work surface, and knead just for a few moments. Divide the dough in half and form each into a flat round disc. Be careful not to overwork. Wrap in plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes before rolling out.

 

Paula’s Perfect Pie Crust
Makes 2 (9-inch) pie crusts

Ingredients:
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon fine salt
3 tablespoons granulated white sugar
1/4 cup vegetable shortening, cold
12 tablespoons butter, cold and cubed
1/4 cup to 1/2 cup ice water

Directions:
In a large mixing bowl, sift together the flour, salt and sugar. Add the shortening and break it up with your hands as you start to coat it all up with the flour. Add the cold butter cubes and work it into the flour with your hands or a pastry cutter. Work it quickly, so the butter doesn’t get too soft, until the mixture is crumbly, like very coarse cornmeal. Add the ice water, a little at a time, until the mixture comes together forming a dough. Bring the dough together into a ball.

When it comes together stop working it otherwise the dough will get over-worked and tough. Divide the dough in half and flatten it slightly to form a disk shape. Wrap each disk in plastic and chill in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes. On a floured surface roll each disk out into a 10 to 11-inch circle to make a 9-inch pie.

Read More From Baking Basics.

Read More From Holidays and Entertaining.

Read More From Thanksgiving.

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Leave a Comment

Reader Comments:

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Best pie crust I've ever made! Thank you!

By Rachel Baugh on December 16, 2013

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My Mom made the best flaky crust. She baked all our breads, rolls, pies and cakes. I have never made a pie crust or rolls, etc. I tried once and gave up. I am 71, and still have never made a pie crust!

By susan johannes on October 28, 2013

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Love, love Bobby's lighter recipes...just feel better making and eating them even if they are only 100 calories less in some cases

By Marilyn on September 28, 2013

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More of a question...being a type 2 diabetic, would substituting Splenda for the 3 T of sugar work in this piecrust recipe? I support you all the way, Paula and have not set foot in any of the stores which have pulled your products and/or no longer support you! God Bless YOU!

By Sandra on July 22, 2013

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This is diane again...about the perfect pie crust recipe I forgot to type the 1 1/4 cups crisco...sorry. So here it is again. 3 cups flour, 1 tsp. salt, 1 1/4 cups crisco In a small dish, beat 1 egg, 5 TBSP. cold water, 1 TBSP. VINEGAR Add wet to the dry ingredients. Mix til dough forms.

By Anonymous on November 16, 2012

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The perfect pie crust ingredients are: 3 cups flour, mixed with 1 tsp. salt... In a small dish, mix: 1 egg, 5 TBSP. cold water , 1 TBSP. VINEGAR Combine wet with the dry and mix til dough forms. Try it and enjoy. Diane PS I have all your cookbooks and watch faithfully...also received your magazine. I love the special collectors editions the best!

By Diane Page on November 16, 2012

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I realy love these cooking tips that make cooking easyer and the food tastes better.Thank you for takeing the time to share . Jack Sims Nov 13/12 St.Cloud,Fl.

By Jack sims on November 13, 2012

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I've used the rolled crust because i couldn't seem to make crusts of my own. So I can't wait to try this out. Thank you so much.

By Ramona Beck on October 24, 2012

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Dear Paula, I want you to know I am a fan,I love you recipes and your show.GOD BLESS YOU.

By sonia bariani on July 12, 2012

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Hi Paula, I'm wondering if there is a way to make the pie crust without the shortening. I have a nephew with an allergy to soybean oil which is the main ingredient in vegetable shortening and I haven't found a pie crust recipe that doesn't include shortening. Can I increase the amount of butter to equal the shortening. Thanks.

By Stephanie on June 26, 2012

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Dear Paula - I want you to know I am a fan, and I think the work you have done to bring Southern Cooking to national awareness is remarkable. And also I think the current negative remarks regarding your work, are not only in really poor taste, but also deny the value of what you've done. Southern cooking IS unique. I have been married to a man from Louisiana for 30 years, and as a New Yorker, I had no idea of the cuisine I was walking into. His grandmother gave me The Junior League of Lake Charles cookbook as a wedding present, and from that point forward I have been trying to grasp what roux is, let alone what is a perfect biscuit. We've lived in Texas, visited Alabama, Florida, Tennessee and everywhere the food was the best ever. I am never bored by Southern Food, it is always distinctive, and real. And I think there are only 2 other true American cuisines:New England coastal and New Mexican Southwestern. So thank you for what you've done. Please don't change what you're doing- it's historical, it's something that no one else has done. (And, of course, it's Southern and tastes great!) All my best, Janet Bertinot

By Janet Bertinot on February 14, 2012

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What is that white stuff on the yolk of an egg? I always remove it as I was told it was something nasty. Please clarify what it is.

By Peggy Ward on January 09, 2012

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I watch Paula and sons alot. I like it when you have the boys on with you. Nothing better than family in the kitchen. I also love when you bring friends in to cook with you. I really like your old as the hills receipes. My Mother was a great cook. I was raised with ten brothers and one sister with Mom and Dad. Money was scarse so Mom invented lots of her own receipes that would stretch for our big family and fill our hungry bellies. You cook like that from "back in the day" times. Love it!!!!!!!!! Keep cooking!!!!

By Sharon E. Hindman on December 30, 2011

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I love you recipes and your show. I seem to always end up with a soggy crust when I make a pie. What can we do to get the crust to be cooked and flaky? Thanks

By Doris on December 08, 2011

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I tried this wonderful is the only thing comes to mind

By jmesspage on November 24, 2011

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Dear Paula, I heard or read somewhere that when using frozen pie crust to rub the bottom with something so it won't get soggy. Can you help me? All of your reciepes that I have tried are wonderful. You are my favorite of all the cooking shows on the Food Network. Thanks for all your advice and reciepes. Patty Payne willpatpayne@hughes.net

By Patty Payne on November 23, 2011

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I LOVE YOUR SHOW AND I LOVE YOUR RECIPES.I WATCH YOUR SHOW SO MUCH I FEEL LIKE PART OF THE FAMILY.............THANK YOU FOR ALL YOUR WONDERFUL RECIPES.AND GOD KEEP YOU AND YOURS SAFE AND HEALTHY.HAVE A WONDERFUL HOLIDAY...........

By MARIE MCMAHON on November 11, 2011

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dear paula, your directions seem easy. i'm going to give it a try this weekend while my husband is with his cousins at the UM vs FSU foot game. if it doesn't work maybe we can barter. you can visit me and show me how (because i don't know how to roll out dough opr knead for that matter) and my husband is a podiatrist maybe your feet hurt from standing and cooking for long periods of time!

By shari harris on November 09, 2011

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i'm traamatized I didnt see Paula Dean at Haynes on Saturday 5 november my grandcrazies only cared about the good food.

By Margaret L Moss aka Peggy on November 09, 2011

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LOVE YOUR RECIPES, THERE SO HELPFUL IV,E ALWAYS LOVED COOKING & BACKING THINK IT WAS MY CALLING! I LOVE COOKING FOR OTHERS TO ENJOY. MUST SAY I ADMIRE YOU AN ALL YOUR ACCOMPLISHMENTS,I CAN TRUELY RELATE. LOVE YOU COOK BOOK,S MY DREAM IS TI COME TO SAVANNA AN VISIT YOUR RESTRAUNT, AN HOPE TO MEET YOU. KEEP UP THE GREAT WORK & THE RECIPES COMING! SINCERELY STELLA MELTON

By stella melton on November 08, 2011

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