I was born and raised in Arizona, so you can imagine my shock when winter came rolling around that first year I moved to Minnesota. Yikes! I had never seen -25° on my car thermometer before, and the idea of using a credit card to scrape an inch thick sheet of ice off my window seemed completely ridiculous. And let’s not talk about the “snotcicles” that dangle off the end of one’s frozen nose. But I was determined to fully embrace it. So I invested in some great cold weather running gear (breathable face mask, thermals, ear muffs, and all), fully outfitted my kids with a hefty winter wardrobe, and made sure to have plenty of snow-melting salt and a snowblower nearby. Despite my best efforts, however, the bitter cold and I just don’t get along. In the end, I decided to find indoor things to do with my free time (that’s a tough realization for a very outdoorsy person…)
So I baked, and baked. And baked. I baked cookies and cakes and bread (lots of bread) and dessert bars of all types. It was great! The aromas wafting through the house, combined with the warmth of the oven that was nearly always on put me in a happy place. But the one thing that constantly eluded me was how to make pie crust.
I’m not talking about one that crumbles and falls apart, or one that’s a big doughy mess coagulating on the counter top (I’ve made lots of those). I’m talking about a light, flaky, rich, hearty, melt-in-your-mouth pie crust. Hard as I tried, mine never worked. I was hell-bent on cracking the code of how to make pie crust that always works.
I tried any number of combinations of butter, shortening, lard, various types of flour, and an array of techniques. My determination paid off! I finally got it right. Follow these tips and the recipe below and you’ll be good to go! (It’s the perfect crust for my Homemade Apple Pie! Yum!)
Tips and Tricks for How to Make Pie Crust That’s Perfect Every Time
- The colder the better – the fat in the crust needs to be very cold to properly cut into the flour. This makes a huge difference!
- Don’t be afraid to knead the dough, but DO NOT overwork it or it will become too dense and tough.
- Use lard! Yes, I know many of you won’t want to do this, but the results I get from using lard (for half of the fat) are amazing!
- Once the disc of dough is made, put it in the fridge for at least an hour before attempting to roll it out.
- Use a French Rolling Pin – I find this gives the best results for a consistent crust thickness.
- Roll out the bottom crust first, then place it in the pie dish and poke holes in the bottom, then return to the fridge for 30 minutes before adding the filling.
- Use a food processor to cut the fat into the flour. I’ve never had much luck doing it with a hand pastry blender, but I’m sure that works for many. I just never figured it out!
- Don’t give up! Once you get the hang of how to make pie crust, you’ll find that it really isn’t that hard. And it’s SO much better than store-bought.
After fighting with the frozen weather of Minnesota for six years, I finally gave up and returned to my beautiful, warm home state of Arizona. Don’t get me wrong… Minnesota is a very beautiful state; I’m just not built for the cold. But I will always be thankful for the baking skills I acquired in my attempt to deal with it. I hope you benefit, as well.
Whether you’re making a fresh, cinnamon-y, tangy apple pie, or a cool, summertime fruit tart, or even a comforting beef pot pie, this crust won’t let you down. Comment below to let me know what type of pie you’re making with it! And when you make it, don’t forget to take a picture to post on Instagram! Tag me @ The_Spicy_Apron! (as always, if you know someone in desperate need for a fail proof pie crust recipe, please share this with them. They’ll thank you for it!)
And, seriously, make sure to check out the recipe for my Homemade Apple Pie here! It’s really delish!
This recipe makes enough dough for a two crust pie. If you only need one crust, cut all the ingredients in half.