Homemade Flaky Pie Crust

I’ve never been fully satisfied with store-bought pie crust. They are convenient and get the job done. Some are actually quite good. Though none of them have buttery richness flavor that you get only through real, homemade crusts. Yes, butter – and usually a whole stick of it! I try not to make too much dessert, since it is just the two of us eating it. But when I do, there is no substitute for butter.

I’ve always thought homemade crusts were difficult to make, especially since I don’t have the space for a full-sized food processor or stand mixer. But I tried it one day and it was quite simple (and fast!) to make! This recipe can be used for any types of pie or galette (but not tarts – their crusts are slightly different).


-By Hand Method-

  1. Stir together flour, sugar and salt in a large bowl.
  2. Using a pastry cutter (or 2 knives), cut the butter into the flour until the mixture resembles coarse meal and the butter pieces are no larger than small peas.
  3. Add the ice water and mix with a fork until the dough pulls together. If the dough is dry, mix in more water 1 tablespoon at a time.

-By Stand Mixer or Food Processor Method-

  1. Combine the flour, sugar and salt.
  2. Mix or pulse the ingredients together.
  3. Add in the butter and mix or pulse until the mixture resembles a coarse meals and the butter pieces are no larger than small peas.
  4. Add the ice water and mix until the dough pulls together. If the dough is dry, mix in more water 1 tablespoon at a time.

-To Shape the Crust-

  1. To shape the crust, transfer the dough to a lightly floured work surface and flatten into a disk.
  2. Lightly flour the dough and roll with a rolling pin until it becomes at least a 12″ round, so there is enough dough to cover up the sides of the pie dish.
  3. Transfer the round into the dish and press into bottoms and sides.
  4. Refrigerate until ready to use.

Cook’s Notes

To get the coarse meal texture, you need to cut in very cold butter pieces. I find that as I’m cutting the stick of butter into small cubes, it starts to soften. In this case, I freeze the cubes a few minutes so they’ve hardened.

If you don’t have a pastry cutter, using 2 dinner knives in a “X” crossing motion also does the trick. If using knives, the smaller the butter pieces the easier. A trick to getting very small pieces of butter is to use a box grater. Freeze the stick of butter so it’s stiff and then grate the butter into shreds. If the shredded butter is softening, freeze it again before cutting into the flour. I’ve made crusts using knives and it works perfectly well.

For the ice water, I usually end up using about a total of 6 tablespoons.

Instead of shaping the dough directly on a work surface, I do it on top of parchment paper, which facilitates in transferring the  dough to the dish (see next tip). To roll the dough into a round, turn the dough (or your rolling pin) a quarter turn after a few rolls. I also lightly flour the dough after a few turns. As you’re working the dough, the heat causes the butter to melt, which makes the dough stick to the rolling pin. If the dough becomes too soft to work with, refrigerate it for a few minutes.

To easily transfer the crust to the dish, slide the rolling pin underneath the parchment paper. Transfer by flipping the crust onto the dish and pull off the parchment paper baking. After pressing the crust into the pan, remove the excess dough by roll the rolling pin over the edges of the dish.

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