Perfect Pie Crust

Simple things are never to be underestimated. I sometimes think baking a soufflé is a simpler task than making a good pie crust. By good, I mean it has to hold together well for lifting and folding, must be flaky when finished and has a hint of a buttery taste. I’ve gone through many crust recipes, most of which use 100% shortening or 100% butter. I found that pure shortening makes the most durable crust because it holds well for making fun shapes and decorating but they taste like old animal crackers and the texture is clay-ish. The pure butter recipes on the other hand is too rich, too soft, and barely holds together for lifting and folding. The best recipe is the one that incorporates both butter and shortening so that the flavor is not overwhelming yet still holds well for transferring from rolling mat to the pie plate for baking. The following recipe is adapted from Bon Appétit 2007. I’m sure you’ll be pleased with the finished product.

Recipe yields 2 pie crusts (enough dough for 1 double-crust pie,, 1 lattice-topped pie, or 2 single-crust pies).

Ingredients:

  • 2 1/2 cups unbleached all purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
  • 1/2 cup frozen solid vegetable shortening cut into 1/2 inch cubes
  • 5 tablespoons (or more) ice water
  1. Blend flour, sugar, and salt together in a large bowl. Add butter and shortening. Mix until dough resembles coarse meal.
  2. Add 5 tablespoons ice water and mix with fork until dough begins to clump together, adding more water by teaspoons if dry.
  3. Gather dough together and divide dough in half; flatten each half into a disk shape. Wrap each disk in plastic and refrigerate at least 1 hour. Crusts can be prepared 3 days ahead. Keep refrigerated.
  4. When ready to use, dust each disk with flour before rolling out so it doesn’t stick to rolling pin or surface.
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