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Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Easy Flaky Pie Crust

I love pies. Good pies. Pies with flaky, buttery, crispy crust. I've finally found the easiest way to make pie crust just like that. 

This is the pie crust developed by Kenji from the Serious Eats  food lab that I mentioned in my pumpkin pie post. I love it so much I figured it deserved a post all it's own. The best part about it is obviously the taste and texture, but the easiness of making it is a close second. If you missed my first post a quick rundown of the process is that you make a butter flour paste with 2/3 of the flour and then quickly cut in the remaining third. This process ensures uniformity and eliminates guesswork so that you can add the same amount of water each time and not wonder if you got it right. I've now made this four times and it's been constantly delicious! 

I have a few tips for making this. If you have a scale use it! If you don't, I highly recommend getting one not just for this recipe but all baking recipes because volume measurements are very inaccurate. Make sure your butter is cold and actually follow the resting times of the dough in the fridge. If you want the dough to be easier to work with, you can sub in shortening for up to 6 tablespoons of butter. I usually do all butter or 4 tablespoons of shortening. If you don't have a food processor a stand mixer could work or you could even blend the butter and sugar by hand. It'll just take longer, and the results won't be quite as good. Be sure to actually make a paste in the beginning, nor just cut in the butter like you would with a normal pie crust recipe. Also, when blind baking these crusts I've found that pie weights on top of tinfoil or parchment work best for me. I tried docking (poking the crust all over with a fork), but I don't know if I didn't do it enough or what but my pie crust was severely malformed. Well on that happy note, have fun baking!

Check out the beautiful flaky layers on the pie crust cookie! (pie crust scraps baked with cinnamon sugar)

Easy Flaky Pie Crust
Science of it here

This makes enough for either one double crust or two single crust pies. In my 7 cup food processor I've had the most success with making half at a time.

12.5 ounces all-purpose flour (If you need to convert to volume a cup of flour is 5 ounces)
2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon kosher salt
2 1/2 sticks (20 tablespoons) chilled unsalted butter, cut into 1/4-inch pats
6 tablespoons cold water

Put sugar, salt and 2/3 of the flour into a food processor and pulse a couple times to mix. Distribute the butter pats evenly over the surface. Pulse about 25 short times until the dough barely begins to clump and there is no more dry flour. Spread the dough evenly around and sprinkle the remaining flour. Pulse about 5 times until the dough just begins to break up. Transfer to a bowl and sprinkle the water over the top. Fold the dough using a spatula until it forms a ball. Divide the ball into two and form two 4 inch discs. Completely wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least two hours. Use in your favorite pie recipe!

To blind bake:
Line the pie with aluminum foil or parchment and fill with pie weights, dried beans, or pennies. Bake in a preheated 400-425 oven for 25-35 minutes for partial baking (light golden brown to be baked again with filling) or 30-40 minutes for full baking (dark golden brown). Remove the pie weights halfway through.


  1. Holy cow, is that your pie crust?! Because it is GORGEOUS. I only dream of making crusts that look like that...

  2. I'm totally using this recipe when I try and tackle pie baking! Thanks for your input on the recipe!

  3. Haha thanks Janae! I'm assuming you're talking about the second picture. That is my crust, but the picture was taken before baking. It doesn't look quite as perfect after baking, but it tastes better! Katie, good luck! I'm sure it'll go well for you!

  4. Hi Sara! Do you think this pie crust could be made by hand? I don't anticipate getting a food processor here anytime soon. I'm looking for another recipe since mine didn't turn out exactly how I want it. Thanks!

    1. Leanna, in the article where the author talks about the technique
      he says that " A stand mixer will do the job reasonably well; a pastry cutter will, too, though it requires much more work. You can even get a decent crust using just your fingers. But if you've got the processor, use it." So I'm thinking it'll work, it'll just take longer. If you have some shortening available I'd use some of that (He says up to 6 tablespoons of butter can be replaced with shortening) so that it's more tender. Good luck! Let me know how it goes :)