All butter flaky Pie Crust, with easy to follow concise steps AND a short video so you can nail your pie crust every. Single. Time!!! With a food processor, the dough is done in 1 minute. I exaggerate not.
This is a shortcrust pastry recipe that is perfect to use for sweet and savoury pies and tarts.
There’s no magic ingredient in this pie crust recipe, it has the same ingredients as 99% of other recipes out there. But it’s presented neatly, easy to follow, and it’s simple if you just follow the recipe steps incorporating all my little small-but-important tips! 🙂
This is my “go-to” pie crust that I use for all things sweet such as Pecan Pie and Pumpkin Pie. It’s buttery and flaky, it’s tender enough to cut through with little effort with a fork yet doesn’t disintegrate into crumbs when cutting slices of pie. Nobody wants that piece of pie with no pie crust! 😩
It’s made with just butter, no shortening. Which may immediately deter some people who are loyal to pie crusts made with shortening – but before you run away, let me say this:
Yes, shortening yields a very flaky pastry – but it’s tasteless. And a well made pastry using butter is certainly flaky enough – but more importantly, tastes so much better. Even doing 50/50 of each lacks flavour.
So all-butter it is. And always will be!
What you need to make a pie crust
Here’s all you need:
- Very cold butter – your goal is to end up with tiny little bits of butter in the dough rather than melted or creamed butter mixed through the dough. The little bits of butter melt in the oven and create air pockets which makes the pastry flaky.
- Very cold water – for the same reason as above
- Flour, salt and if making pastry for a sweet filling, sugar.
PART 1: 1 minute pie crust dough
I feel like I’ve paid my dues over the years, making pie crust dough by hand – either rubbing the butter in with the tips of fingers or using a pastry cutter. Nowadays, I opt for the simple, foolproof, 1 minute method using a food processor.
- Pulse flour, sugar and salt twice just to combine, then scatter butter over;
- Chickpea size butter – Pulse 5 times until the largest butter bits are chickpea size;
- Ice cold water – With the motor running on low, drizzle 2.5 tbsp of water in.
- Crumbly dough – after 10 seconds, it should look crumbly but when you pinch it together, it should stick and form a dough. Crumble = good = leads to flaky pastry. If it stays sandy, add another 1/2 tbsp cold water and blitz again;
- Tip out crumbly dough on work surface;
- Bring together with your hands – no kneading. Crumbly dough will stick together!
- Pat into disc shape;
- Refrigerate – Wrap with cling wrap and refrigerate. This makes the teeny tiny butter bits cold again = flaky pastry.
OK, so maybe that takes you 90 seconds. Or 2 minutes. It’s still super duper fast!
Part 2: Rolling it out
You’ll find this dough is pretty easy to work with because it’s not insanely short, like pastries used by high end patisserie chefs. (Rule of thumb: higher butter to flour ratio = more crumbly rich pastry = indulgent = pastry very hard to work with = let’s leave that to the professionals).
So here’s how to roll pie crust dough out:
- Start rolling out – Place chilled disc on floured work surface and roll out into a circle. Shift dough around / flip as you roll it out to ensure it’s not sticking to work surface – if it is, slide to the side, sprinkle more flour on the work surface then continue. Sprinkle the top of the pastry and the rolling pin if needed (sometimes it does, sometimes it doesn’t);
- Roll out BIG – Roll out into a circle 10cm / 4″ larger than the pie dish. Sounds large – but you need to fit it into the pie dish and want at least 1.25cm / 1/2″ excess around the rim. Patch cracks as you go – just pinch a bit off scraggly edges;
- Roll onto rolling pin – Gently roll the dough onto the rolling pin. Use a large knife if needed to get the edge started;
- Transfer to pie tin – Roll the pastry completely onto the rolling pin, then transfer to the pie tin;
- Unroll over pie tin then slide the pastry around as needed so it’s centred;
- Drape into pie tin, don’t stretch and pull – this causes shrinkage;
- Trim edges leaving 1.25cm / 1/2″ excess;
- Tuck overhang under for neat edges.
There’s loads of ways to decorate a pie crust edge. You really can get creative! Here’s one classic way to do it – large crimps.
If you do decorate the pie crust edge, it’s best to refrigerate for 20 minutes prior to baking just to re-chill the butter in the dough (because crimping takes extra time during which that butter is softening!).
PRO TIP: Thicker pie crust on edge = crimps maintain shape better when baked. Thin pastry = floppage.
EASY TIP: Skip the crimp, just press a fork on the rim to get nice imprints all the way around.
Blind baking refers to when you pre bake the empty pie crust so it doesn’t go soggy filled with a wet filling. It’s an extra step that I like to do just for extra crispiness in the base (you’ll see in the recipe video).
Do you have to blind bake? No, it’s optional. This pie crust won’t go soggy even if you don’t blind bake as long as the total bake time is 40 minutes or more (which depends on the filling you use). I personally don’t know of any pies that require less than 40 minutes bake time – but I’ve added that as a cautionary note having observed this once during a period of intense pie making (don’t ask😂).
- Prick the base with a fork to help stop it form bubbling up;
- Place large sheet of parchment / baking paper over the pie tin;
- Place another piece over it to form 90 degrees across the other one;
- Fill pie tin with baking beads, dry rice or beans or sugar – this weighs the pastry down to stop the base from bubbling up and the sides from sliding down;
- Bake for 15 minutes at 220°C / 425°F (180°C fan);
- Remove pie weights using paper overhang. Be careful here – nobody wants hot beads bouncing all over the kitchen!!
- Return to oven for just 5 minutes to “set” the base;
- Remove from oven and voila! Ready for your favourite filling! This particular crust was filled with Pumpkin Pie Filling.
I should’ve gotten closer to the Pecan Pie so you can really see how flaky and delicate that pie crust is! You’ll get a good look in the Pumpkin Pie and Pecan Pie recipe videos though (they’re short and to the point!).
I hope you found this to be a concise but complete post on how to make pie crust. It’s hard to get motivated to document let alone film a pie crust when there’s so many other visually exciting foods to film!! But finally I’ve buckled down and done it.
Now from hereon, I can focus on the fun part – the FILLINGS!! – Nagi x
Watch how to make it
1 Minute Pie Crust
Recipe video above. My go-to pie crust I’ve been loyal to for more years than I can remember, a classic pie crust also known as shortcrust pastry. Flaky and easy with a dough that comes together in 1 minute. Makes pastry for 1 x 23cm / 9″ pie dish or tart tin (serves 8 – 12 people). Double it for a covered pie (use recipe scaler). VIDEO and PROCESS PHOTOS above super helpful for newbies!
- 1 1/4 cups (185g / 5.6 oz) flour ((plain / all purpose flour))
- 2 tsp sugar ((skip if making savoury pie))
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 115g / 1 stick unsalted butter, cold, cut into 1cm/ 1/3″ cubes ((Note 1))
- 2.5 tbsp ice cold water (+ more as required)
Place flour, sugar and salt in food processor. Pulse twice to combine.
Scatter butter across surface. Pulse 5 times until the largest pieces are the size of chickpeas.
With the motor running on low, pour 2.5 tbsp of water into the tube feeder.
Keep blitzing for 10 seconds until crumbs form (also see video). Pinch between fingers – they should stick and form a dough.
Tip crumbs out onto work surface, bring together into dome (don’t knead), pat into 2cm/ 4/5″ thick disc.
Wrap in clingwrap then refrigerate 1 hour (up to 2 days, otherwise freeze).
Sprinkle work surface with flour, unwrap dough and place on the flour. Sprinkle top with flour, dust rolling pin with flour.
Roll out into round that’s 10cm/4″ larger than 22.5cm/9″ pie tin. Patch up and roll over cracks as necessary
Gently roll the pastry so it wraps around the rolling pin. Unroll it over the pie tin.
Drape pastry into pie tin (do not stretch/pull) then trim edges with scissors leaving a 1 cm / 2/5″ overhang.
Tuck excess under. Then crimp or decorate edge as desired. Refrigerate 15 minutes (while oven heats up).
Preheat oven to 220°C/425°F (200°C fan).
Place 2 large pieces of parchment/baking paper crosswise over the pastry, then fill with baking beads or lots of rice or dried beans to weigh it down. (Note 2)
Bake for 15 minutes, then remove from oven.
Use excess paper to CAREFULLY remove hot beads, then return to oven for 5 minutes or until base is light golden (doesn’t need to be 100% cooked though).
Remove from oven and fill with chosen pie filling – such as Pumpkin Pie or Pecan Pie. The pastry will not be 100% cooked, it finishes cooking with the filling. It’s cooked enough so the crust will not go soggy.
1. Cold butter – key to flaky crumbly pie crusts is to end up with teeny tiny little bits of cold butter all through the pastry when it goes into the oven. The butter melts then creates air pockets which makes the pastry flaky.
Butter softens and melts as you work with it, which is why there are refrigeration steps and the recipe specifically calls for cold butter and cold water.
So if it’s warm where you are, and it takes you longer than 5 – 7 minutes to roll out the dough, press into tin, crimp edges and get it into the oven, refrigerate the dough for 15 minutes or so before baking.
2. Pie Weights stops base from puffing up and helps reduce pastry shrinkage
3. Different measures in different countries – The measures in this recipe work with both US and metric (rest of world!) measures.
4. Source – knowing me, it was probably originally sourced from New York Times, Cooks’ Illustrated or America’s Test Kitchen (that would be tyical of me) but it’s now written exactly how I do it and there’s every chance ingredients were marginally tweaked to what I think is the perfect balance!
4. Nutrition is for pie crust only, per serving (8 servings).
Life of Dozer
Post-Pie snooze. Isn’t this what we all do??