Flaky Pie Crust
This recipe for flaky pie crust is the last pie crust recipe you’ll ever need! I’ve been making pies for a while now and I can say that this recipe results in the flakiest pie crust ever, while staying nice and tender! What makes good pie crust? Of course, it needs to have flaky light and buttery layers, but that’s not all. It should be light and tender, easily broken through with a fork without being tough in any way. If your pie crust is tough, it can mean that you either put too much water/liquid into your dough OR that you kneaded the dough too much. Pie dough needs to be brought together very gently, without much kneading.
Versatility of this pie dough
The amazing thing about pie crust dough is how versatile it is! I know a few people who always claim they don’t particularly like pie at all. But these same people have the exact opposite reaction when they try my hand pies or galettes, sweet OR savory! My mom is definitely one of these people. I love a good traditional 9inch round apple pie as much as the next person, but this recipe can yield SO MUCH MORE.
I’ve made small hand pies, large AND individual appetizer galettes, mini tarts, wrapped it around pieces of hot dogs and sprinkled with everything bagel seasoning! It has been a crowd pleaser EVERY TIME. In other good news, you can prepare the dough in advance, wrap it up super tightly, place in a ziplock bag and freeze until the next time you need it!
Tips for making the flakiest, most tender pie crust
Flaky and tender pie crust is the result of layers of marbled or streaked butter throughout the dough. These layers of butter need to stay cold up until the moment they hit the heat of the oven, where the butter layers will puff up the dough and evaporate, leaving you with FLAKY LAYERS! In order to achieve this, follow these tips:
- COLD COLD COLD! One of the most important factors to pay attention to is the temperature of the ingredients you’re working with. The butter should be SUPER cold, straight from the fridge. The water has to be ice water. It is possible to make good pie dough in warmer temperatures, but it is much easier to do so in cooler environments.
- Work quickly and efficiently! Working as quickly as possible will ensure that everything stays cool and that your butter won’t start melting. Because of this, I like to have all my ingredients ready and laid out in front of me before I start.
- Don’t add too much water! Pie dough is quite simple to make, once you get the hang of it and are familiar with how it should look and feel. This recipe calls for 8 tablespoons of ice cold water, which is perfect for me and my environment. But depending on many little factors, you may need slightly more or less water in your dough. But basically, the dough should not be wet or sticky. Perfectly hydrated dough will seem a bit dry at first, but should hold together when you squeeze it. At first, it might not seem like it’s enough water, but it will come together after a few gently kneads with a bench scraper. A dough that is too wet will bake up tough and thin.
- Be GENTLE, do not over work the dough: Another reason your dough might be tough may be if you over-worked (over kneaded) the dough. I like using a bench scraper to bring the scraggly dough together and then wrapping the entire dough in plastic wrap. Then, using the palm of your hand or a rolling pin, gently flatten the dough until it fills up the entire plastic wrap tightly and place into the fridge to chill before following the next steps to “laminating” the dough.
Things You’ll Need
- All purpose flour
- Granulated sugar
- Unsalted butter
- Ice cold water
How to make flaky pie crust
- Whisk dry ingredients together, and then add cubed butter, tossing to coat in flour. Flatten each piece of butter and gently rub it into the flour, but keep the butter pieces large and flat. Add the ice cold water, mix gently to hydrate the flour.
- Dump the dough out onto a clean surface and fold it into itself with a bench scraper, almost “kneading” it gently a few times until the dough comes together into one big mass. It’s ok if there are a few craggly bits. Wrap in plastic wrap, and with a rolling pin or the palm of your hand, roll the dough gently to fill the plastic wrap tightly. Chill in fridge for 1-2 hours.
- Unwrap chilled dough and place on floured surface. Gently roll dough out to a long rectangle that is roughly 8×15 inches (just eye ball it, doesn’t have to be anywhere near perfect!) Fold in thirds like a letter starting from the long side. Rotate 90 degrees and gently flatten with rolling pin and repeat the roll and fold technique 2 more times. Work quickly to keep everything cold.
- After last fold, flatten and roll dough to about 1/2 inch thick. Cut dough in half and tightly wrap each piece and place in fridge to chill for at least 2 hours, preferably overnight.
A few simple ingredients and easy techniques to create lovely flaky tender pie crust for all your pie, hand pie, and galette needs! the possibilities are endless!
for the pie crust dough
- 2 1/2 c (320g) all purpose flour
- 1 tb granulated sugar
- pinch of salt
- 1 c (2 sticks, 227g) unsalted butter, cubed, COLD
- 8 tb (about 1/2 c, 118g) ice cold water
Prep the pie dough
- In a large bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, and salt. Add cubed butter, and toss around to coat each cube of butter in flour with your hands. Working quickly to keep all ingredients COLD, take cubes of butter and flatten them between your thumb and fingers, rubbing the butter into the flour slightly. Keep butter pieces big and flat.
- Make a well in the middle of the flour mixture and add ice cold water. With a large spoon or spatula, fold the mixture to hydrate the flour, Dough will still look kind of dry but don't be tempted to add much more water. If dough looks VERY dry, add 1 more tablespoon of water.
- Dump dough out onto a clean work surface. Using a bench scraper, bring the edges of the dough into the middle and "knead" it gently. continue doing several more times until most of the dough is one coherent mass. It's okay if there are still other craggly bits.
- Place dough and any bits onto a large piece of plastic wrap. Wrap the dough gently in a roughly rectangular shape, just making sure to fully seal all edges, doesn't have to be tight. Turn the wrapped dough over so that the plastic seams are on the bottom. Using a rolling pin, gently roll the dough so that it fills up the entire plastic wrap, stretching it a bit until the dough is very tightly wrapped. Place in fridge to chill for at least 1 hour.
Roll and laminate dough
- Unwrap chilled dough and place on floured surface. Gently roll dough out to a long rectangle that is roughly 8x15 inches (just eye ball it, doesn't have to be anywhere near perfect!) Fold in thirds like a letter starting from the long side. Rotate 90 degrees and gently flatten with rolling pin and repeat the roll and fold technique 2 more times. Work quickly to keep everything cold. If you're getting melty butter bits, wrap up and chill in fridge before continuing.
- After last fold, flatten and roll dough to about 1/2 inch thick. Cut dough in half and tightly wrap each piece and place in fridge to chill for at least 2 hours, preferably overnight. And then proceed with whatever recipe you're using pie dough for!