Flaky and Tender Pie Crust

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A new and improved pie crust recipe that yields flaky and tender results every time. This may become your new favorite pie crust!

overhead view of tender, flaky pie crust

Flaky and tender pie crust recipe

I have always used my go-to homemade pie crust for everything in the past. It is mixed with butter and shortening. It calls for vodka to help make it flaky.

I loved this recipe so much until I recently tried a different method for pie crust. This one also yields an incredibly tender dough that tastes buttery and flakes apart while remaining sturdy.

This dough can be used for any pie or tart. You can add sugar to make the pastry dough sweet or leave it out if you are making a savory pie.

Give it a try for apple cranberry pie, lemon chess pie, or honey pie.

side view of tender flaky pie crust recipe

How to get flaky pie crust?

Use a combination of butter, eggs, and water to create a flaky dough that is crisp yet tender.

The butter will melt during baking, creating little pockets of steam which add flakiness. Water makes the dough crispy and light while the eggs keep the dough soft and rich.

How to get a tender pie crust?

As I mentioned above, the use of eggs will make pie crust soft but using a combination of cake flour and all-purpose flour will also make the pie crust softer. Cake flour contains less gluten and we know gluten is what makes bread chewy.

How to make pie crust?

Step 1: Cut the butter into the flour

This recipe uses a combination of all-purpose flour and cake flour. Cake flour contains less gluten which will help keep the crust tender.

Cut cold butter into the flour with a pastry blender. You’re aiming for pieces that are smaller than hazelnuts but larger than peas. And don’t worry about trying to make all the pieces the same size.

butter cut into flour in a glass bowl

Step 2: Mix in eggs and water

Add the eggs and cut them in until there is no loose flour in the bottom of the bowl.

You will need to add a few tablespoons of water as well. Mix the eggs in first then gradually add the water, one tablespoon at a time, until the dough comes together.

pie crust dough in a glass bowl

Step 3: Knead the dough

Turn the dough out onto a floured work surface and knead it just enough to get it to hold together. I like to use the heel of my hand and “smear” it together.

Divide the dough in half and flatten each half into a disk. Wrap them tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 2 hours before using.

ball of pie crust dough on a white rolling mat

stack of pie crust dough wrapped in plastic wrap

Tips for homemade pie crust

  • As long as the dough is kept cold, it can handle overworking. This is why I suggest refrigerating it for 2 hours before rolling it out.
  • If the dough shrinks back while rolling just pop it back in the refrigerator for 30 minutes and try again.
  • Pie crust can be modified after it’s made. You can cut more butter and water in if you find the dough to be dry.
  • You can also add more flour if you find the dough too sticky.

close up view of tender, flaky pie crust in a glass pie pan

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tender and flaky pie crust recipe image
5 from 1 vote
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Flaky and Tender Pie Crust

A new and improved pie crust recipe that yields flaky and tender results every time. This may become your new favorite pie crust!

Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Keyword pie crust recipe
Prep Time 25 minutes
Chill Time 2 hours
Total Time 25 minutes
Yields 2 (9-inch) pie shells
Calories 325 kcal
Author Jen Sobjack

Ingredients

  • 1 and 1/2 cups cake flour
  • 1 and 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3 tablespoons granulated sugar optional*
  • 1 cup unsalted butter cold, cut into pieces
  • 2 large eggs lightly beaten
  • 2-3 tablespoons ice water

Instructions

  1. Combine both flours, salt, and sugar (if using) in a large bowl.

  2. Using a pastry blender, cut the butter into the flour mixture until the butter pieces are smaller than hazelnuts but larger than peas, about 2 minutes.

  3. Add the eggs and carefully cut them into the flour with a silicone spatula.

  4. Fold in the water, one tablespoon at a time until no dry crumbs remain in the bottom of the bowl. Pick up a chunk of dough and squeeze it together. If it doesn't come together, add 1-2 tablespoons more water and cut it in.

  5. Turn the dough out onto a lightly flour surface. Knead the dough by smearing it with the heel of your hand just long enough to get it to come together.

  6. Divide the dough in half and flatten each half into a disk. Wrap the disks tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 hours.

Baking the crust

  1. For the best results, I highly recommend following the recipe instructions for the pie you are making.  

Blind Baking

  1. On a lightly floured surface, roll the pie crust to fit your pie dish. Place in pie dish; trim off any excess along the edges, leaving a 1-inch overhang. 

  2. Fold the excess under so it sits up on the rim of the pie dish. Flute the edges with fingertips. Prick the bottom of the crust with a fork. 

  3. Refrigerate the crust for 30 minutes. While the crust is chilling, preheat the oven to 400ºF.

  4. Line the bottom of the crust with parchment paper and fill with pie weights. (Make sure the parchment paper is large enough to be lifted out easily.) Bake for 15 minutes.

  5. If you need the crust to be fully baked, remove the pie weights and bake for another 15 minutes, until the bottom is golden brown and looks matte instead of shiny. (The exact baking time will depend on the thickness of the crust.) Cover the edges with a pie shield or aluminum foil if they are becoming too brown before the inside has finished baking.

Recipe Notes

* Use the sugar if you are making a sweet pie and leave it out if you are making a savory pie.

Adapted from Baking by James Peterson

Nutrition Facts
Flaky and Tender Pie Crust
Amount Per Serving (1 slice)
Calories 325 Calories from Fat 171
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 19g 29%
Saturated Fat 12g 60%
Cholesterol 81mg 27%
Sodium 190mg 8%
Potassium 56mg 2%
Total Carbohydrates 31g 10%
Sugars 3g
Protein 5g 10%
Vitamin A 12.3%
Calcium 1.6%
Iron 6.6%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

Nutritional values here on my recipes should be used as a general guide only. Since different brands of ingredients have different nutritional information, the values shown are just an estimate.

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