A new and improved pie crust recipe that yields flaky and tender results every time. This may become your new favorite 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.
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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.
The printable recipe card with full ingredient amounts and instructions can be found at the bottom of this post.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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Flaky and Tender Pie Crust
- Combine both flours, salt, and sugar (if using) in a large bowl.
- 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.
- Add the eggs and carefully cut them into the flour with a silicone spatula.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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
- For the best results, I highly recommend following the recipe instructions for the pie you are making.
- 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.
- 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.
- Refrigerate the crust for 30 minutes. While the crust is chilling, preheat the oven to 400ºF.
- 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.
- 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.