Gallery: The Science of Pie Dough | The Food Lab

  • Perfect Pie Crust

    pie crust

    Buttery, flaky, and tender.

    Use a Scale!

    food scale

    Make sure to use a scale to measure out your flour. Dry cup measures can differ by as much as 50 percent! I use 6.25 ounces of flour per single pie crust, or 12.5 ounces for a double-crusted pie.

    Process

    process flour mixture

    Process 2/3 of your flour along with the sugar and the salt (a tablespoon of sugar and a 1/4 teaspoon of salt per crust).

    Add Your Fat

    sliced butter

    Add butter (and/or shortening if using) at a ratio of 1 stick (1/4 pound or 8 tablespoons) per 5 ounces of flour. So for a double crusted, 12.5-ounce batch, that'd be 2 1/2 sticks of butter, cut into pats.

    Pulse Until Pasty

    pie dough

    Pulse the butter into the flour until a nearly smooth paste forms. A few clumps of butter are fine, but there should be no dry flour remaining (yes, this is not how a traditional pie crust is made).

    Pulse in Dry Flour

    add dry flour to pie dough

    After forming the flour/fat paste, spread it evenly around the bowl of the processor then add the remaining 1/3 of the flour and pulse until the large clumps of paste break up. Just two or three short pulses. Transfer it to a bowl.

    Add Water

    cup of water

    Sprinkle the dough with 3 tablespoons of cold water per pie crust.

    Press Together

    press pie dough together with spatula

    Use a spatula to press the dough together until it forms a single ball. If making a double-crusted pie, divide the ball in half.

    Form a Disk

    form disk out of pie dough

    Form the ball into a disk and place right in the center of a piece of plastic wrap. Wrap it tightly, then chill for at least two hours.

    Begin Rolling

    rolled pie dough

    Begin rolling out the dough on a well-floured surface, rotating and flipping it regularly as you progress until it is too large to flip easily. If your dough has been refrigerated over night, you may need to let it warm for a few minutes before rolling.

    Continue Rolling

    rolled pie dough

    Continue rolling until the crust is about 2 inches wider all around than your pie plate.

    Use a Bench Scraper

    bench scraper to lift dough

    A wide bench scraper will help you lift your dough over the rolling pin with minimal breakage.

    Transfer

    drape pie dough over pie plate

    Slide a pie plate under the dough and drape it gently over the top. Make sure it's centered!

    Nice Fit

    press pie dough into plate

    To fit the crust into the plate, gently lift the edge with one hand while using the other to form it into the corners. You should not have to squish the dough at all—you want it to maintain a uniform thickness.

    Trim

    trim excess pie dough

    Use scissors to trim the edge of the dough so that it overhangs the pie plate by about 1/2 an inch.

    For a double-crusted pie, fill the pie with your chilled filling and place the top crust on top before trimming both pie crust edges together.

    Fold Under

    pie dough

    Fold the edge of the crust underneath itself so that you create a slightly thickened edge that's flush with the lip of the pie plate.

    If shaping a double-crusted pie, both edges should be folded underneath together.

    Flute

    fluted pie crust edges

    Flute the edges of the crust with the forefinger and thumb of one hand and just the forefinger of the other.

    Baked

    baked pie crust

    Your pie crust should bake up tender and flaky.

    pie crust