Classic Butter Pie Pastry Tips
What type of fat should I use in my pastry crust? Pie crusts
can be made with butter, shortening or lard. While lard and shortening do turn out a tender, flaky crust, the flavor is often lacking. But recipes made with butter (like this one) provide tender layers along with a fabulous buttery flavor.
Should my butter be cold?
Yes, always start with cold butter. That way, the heat of the oven will melt it, creating pockets of steam. The steam then gives the pastry a lift, resulting in flaky layers. Chill the dough according to the recipe directions and soften it only slightly before rolling on a lightly floured surface.
How should I mix the dough?
When mixing pie crust dough, a gentle hand is needed to create flaky layers. Using a fork, toss (don’t press) cold butter and water into the flour just until everything is mixed and thoroughly coated. Overmixing or handling the dough too much will create a tough crust.
How do I roll an even crust?
To ensure even rolling, give the dough a quarter turn after each roll. This will also help prevent the butter from melting and the dough from sticking to your work surface and rolling pin. Most pie recipes are rolled out to 1/8-inch thickness. But just how thick is that? Here’s a handy hack: Two stacked quarters measure 1/8 inches! So keep them nearby for an easy guide. Here are a few of our favorite pie crust secrets
What should I do if my pastry rips while I’m rolling it out?
Try this easy fix. Simply dip a finger into cold water and patch with a bit of extra dough; gently press. Sprinkle a little flour onto the patch.
How do I make a fluted edge?
Flute the crust by positioning your index finger on the edge pointing outward. Then place the thumb and index finger of your other hand on the outside of the edge and pinch the crust around your finger to form a V. Continue around the entire edge.
Can I freeze unbaked dough for later use?
Yes, you can freeze unbaked dough for later use! Prepare the dough as directed and shape into a disk. Wrap tightly in waxed paper; freeze in a freezer container for up to several weeks. When ready to use, thaw in the refrigerator overnight. (Psst! Find more tips in this pie crust guide
!) Research contributed by Sarah Farmer, Taste of Home Executive Culinary Director