This easy pie dough recipe (made with all butter) is so simple, you’ll think twice before buying pre-made dough from the grocery store again!
It took me an unusually long time to try my hand at making a few different staple recipes from scratch. I’m talking things like buttercream frosting, pizza crust and pie dough.
None of these things are terribly tricky to make, it’s just the ease of buying a reasonably good (if not great) already-made product at the grocery store won me over.
Not to mention the cost of making some of these recipes from scratch can actually cost *more* than just buying it ready-to-go.
Sometimes it’s worth it to try anyway — for the flavor, for the ease of just crafting something on a whim without leaving your house, or even just because you want to master something you’ve never tried.
Easy Pie Dough
In full transparency, I didn’t want to attempt homemade pie dough, even an easy pie dough, without having a food processor to do the hard work.
I have a pastry cutter. I can’t tell you the last time I used the pastry cutter. I don’t find using a pastry cutter for long periods of time to be relaxing or soothing, no matter how rhythmic the motions.
I’ve fully embraced modern technology via my food processor and KitchenAid mixer, and am completely on board with the fact that I don’t have to muscle my way through cutting or hand-kneading doughs in order to produce a delicious, perfect end product.
In the food processor, pie dough literally comes together in a matter of a minute or two.
A MINUTE OR TWO.
Then, after a rest in the fridge, it’s ready for your pie-making enjoyment.
My recipe makes two pie dough disks, which you can use to make a single pie with a top and bottom crust (fruit pies), or two pies with bottom crusts only (custard pies).
You can also freeze the dough to use later if you have a disk left over.
Or, if you’re like my husband, you can just eat the pie dough raw if there are leftovers. (I’m not kidding.)
My grandmother used to take leftover pie dough (the scraps after trimming around the edges of the pie plates) and turn them into treats: brush with butter, sprinkle with cinnamon-sugar and then bake in the oven till golden. Mmmm…
Easy Pie Dough Tips
1. Use cold, nearly frozen butter.
In pastry dishes, cold butter helps produce flaky layers when the steam releases during baking and creates little pockets in the dough as the butter melts. Some even suggest that *all* ingredients should be chilled to master perfect pie crust!
I usually cut my butter into small cubes for pie dough, but some people swear by grating the butter into slivers instead. If you’re not using a food processor, I’d definitely go the grating route, but either way make sure that butter is cold.
2. If you’re going to make a single crust pie, consider blind baking the crust.
Learning how to partially pre-bake (or blind bake) the pie crust helps to keep it from getting soggy when the filling starts out like liquid — think pumpkin pie and other custard pies — and then finishes baking in the oven. You can also fully pre-bake a crust for no-bake pies!
For increased protection from soggy crust, try brushing an egg wash on the inside of the dough before it bakes to act as a seal. Blind baking only takes a few minutes and can greatly affect the finished quality of your pie.
3. Butter works the best.
Butter, shortening or lard tend to be the most common binders for pie dough. I’m a fan of butter. All butter.
I know there are varying opinions, but I just can’t get past the flavor of anything other than a full-butter crust. And, if my opinion isn’t enough (hopefully you’re chuckling), then maybe this taste test to determine which makes the best pie crust will have you in the butter camp, too.
Try some of my pie recipes:
- 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/2 tablespoon granulated sugar
- 1 cup salted butter, chilled and diced into small cubes
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
- 6 tablespoons ice-cold water
- Add the flour, sugar, salt and butter to a food processor that holds at least 6 cups.
- Pulse until the mixture looks crumbly, about 10-15 times.
- Turn the processor to low, add the water, and continue processing until the crumbles blend together, about 20-30 seconds.
- Stop the processor and pinch some of the dough mixture between your fingers — if it sticks together and looks smooth, it's done. If it's still crumbly, add a little more water (not even a tablespoon), give another whir in the processor, and then try pinching it again.
- Remove the dough from the food processor and form it into a ball (but don't knead it), and then divide it into two.
- Flatten each half into a round disk, about 1/2" thick, cover them each tightly in plastic wrap, and then place them in the fridge to chill for at least an hour.
After the dough has chilled...
- Spread a little flour on your counter and roll each of the dough disks out to a 1/8" thick circle. They should be large enough to fit in a 9-inch pie plate, with excess around the edges for crimping.
- Gently press each sheet of dough into your pie plates. If it's a pie without a top crust (like pumpkin pie), use your fingers to crimp the edges or make another decorative edge. Follow the same for the second pie.
- If your pie has a top crust (like apple pie), gently press one of the dough sheets into a pie plate. Once your filling has been added, top with the second sheet, trim excess from around the edges — leaving enough to crimp. Add a couple slits to the top to allow steam to vent.
If you have a leftover disk of dough, keep it covered tightly in plastic wrap, place it in a zip top bag and then freeze it until you're ready to use it.
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Nutrition Information:Yield: 16 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving:Calories: 174 Total Fat: 12g Saturated Fat: 7g Trans Fat: 0g Unsaturated Fat: 4g Cholesterol: 31mg Sodium: 125mg Carbohydrates: 15g Net Carbohydrates: 0g Fiber: 1g Sugar: 0g Sugar Alcohols: 0g Protein: 2g