Before I had much experience with pie, I tried a recipe called “perfect pie crust,” which employed butter instead of shortening for the fat. At the time, I’d only ever made shortening crusts and the butter one had a much better flavor, so I thought the name apt, although it wasn’t as flaky as I desired. Although I balk at the word “perfect,” I have now found my own favorite pie crust that for me is very close to it, and although I’ve included the recipe before on a previous blog for apple pie, I think it’s good enough to warrant a blog of its own.
This one has the best of both worlds–the butter adding flavor and the shortening, flakiness. It turns out well even when I over-process it, which I almost always do (I don’t like to see big globs of fat in my crust so I tend to over-mix the fat into the flour). I don’t think there’s a way to ruin this crust besides burning it, which would be really hard to do. It puffs as it bakes and is so flaky that you can see it with the naked eye.
Like I said, it’s perfect!
Perfect Pie Crust
*Makes enough for two pies or one double-crust pie
2 1/2 cups flour
1/2 tsp. salt
2 sticks butter, cold and cut into 16 pieces
1/4 cup shortening, chilled in freezer
6-10 T ice-cold water (I use a scant 1/3 cup every time)
Mix flour and salt. Cut the butter and shortening in with a pastry blender or food processor until pieces are the size of small peas (I usually make them half that size at least or smaller, but the crust will be more flaky if you can resist following my example). Add ice water and mix until it starts to form a ball. Divide dough in half, gather in your hands and gently shape each into a ball, flatten them into discs, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until ready to use. If they get too hard, I leave them on the counter until pliable enough to roll out.
When ready to make your pie, roll out one disk and fit into a pie plate, trimming off the excess. Fill, cover with the top crust, pinch and flute the edges. Brush beaten egg over the top crust (that’s how you get that golden shine), cut a few vents holes and then bake according to pie recipe directions. If you are making a one-crust pie, you can either halve the recipe or freeze the second disc for later use.
Recipe Source: The Dessert Lover’s Cookbook by Marlene Sorosky