There is nothing more satisfying than making a homemade pie from scratch.
Yes, I mean the filling AND the crust.
I think many people are intimidated to make homemade pies because they are daunted by the task of making the crust.
Friends. This is doable. I'm here to hold your hand through it.
I've been making homemade pies with homemade pie crust since high school. I spent my childhood watching my mom make pies, and in high school my Nana walked me through it a few times. Since then, I've adjusted the recipes I use and created my own.
There are 2 ideologies in the pie-making crowd: Butter and Shortening (and the small faction who uses oil). I learned from my BFF Alton Brown (we're totally cooking BFF's, he just doesn't know it yet) that butter and shortening each have their benefits, as they have different melting points and each result in a different texture (and taste) of crust.
My previous recipe involved shortening. The whole idea of shortening kind of grosses me out. And while Alton would champion using both shortening and butter in a recipe for maximum crust texture, I have moved on to an all-butter recipe that I've worked up myself. Which I'll share below.
In the near future, I will add a video to this post because I am a visual learner. And for those who have never made pie crusts before, it is helpful to watch someone do it first. So hold tight, newbies! Video is forthcoming!
Note: The optional sugar and cinnamon are mainly for fruit/sweet pies. I like the flavor they add to a pie crust, but would opt to not use them if I were using the pie crusts for, say, chicken pot pie.
- 2 cups of All-Purpose Flour
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 stick + 2 TBS COLD unsalted butter, chopped into small pieces (10 TBS in total)
- 6-8 TBS of cold water
- (OPTIONAL) 1 tsp sugar
- (OPTIONAL) 1 tsp cinnamon
1) Mix the flour and salt together (if you are using sugar and cinnamon, add this now).
2) To the flour mixture, add a few cubes of butter. Using a Pastry Blender or fork, cut the butter into the flour mixture until the butter pieces are roughly the size of peas (it's okay if they are a little bigger). You can also use a food processor by pulsing the mixture in short bursts. Keep adding butter until it's all incorporated.
3) To the butter-flour mixture, add the cold water 1 tablespoon at a time. To do this, add the water, and use a fork to toss it with the flour mixture. Keep doing this until the flour mixture turns into a rough dough ball (you may not need all 8 TBS, or you may find you need a bit more). You want the dough to be doughy but not overly sticky. Work the dough gently with your hands until it is all together in one ball. If you find it's sticky, add a little more flour. If you find it's too dry (and won't clump together), add a little more water. Keep doing this until it's a consistent dough texture.
4) To roll the crusts: Split into two small balls. Take one of the balls and place it on a floured surface. Roll it out until it's 1/8 inch thick and fits the size of your pie plate (generally 9 inches, but some pie plates are 8 or 10 inches). Put the rolled crust into the pie plate, add filling, then roll the second crust for the top (if needed).
I will share my peach and apple pie recipes soon, so you can get on with practicing your newfound skill. Seriously? People will be amazed at how awesome your pie tastes. Homemade crust (especially one made with all butter as the fat) has a very rustic, flaky look to it. It's so legit.
I want to hear about your pie-crust making endeavors! Be sure to come back and share a comment! Or, if you need any clarification, don't hesitate to ask.
Check back soon for the how-to video as well as pie recipes!