Tips & Tricks
The Complete Guide to the Perfect Pie Crust (With Pictures!)
It is a truth universally acknowledged that any great pie, no matter the filling, starts with the perfect pie crust. It’s the buttery, flaky vessel that holds those summer-ripe berries; the crumbly bite along with the must-have seasonal pies of apple and pumpkin; and it perfectly complements each savory morsel of a beef pot pie. That’s the great thing about pie; it can be simple, complex, dressed up or dressed down according to the occasion, our tastes, and what ingredients we have available. But it all starts with the crust.
That’s why we’ve compiled this step-by-step guide, following the recipe of our Basic Pie Dough, to showcase all the tips you need to make a perfect pie crust every time. Here’s what you’ll need:
Ingredients for Basic Pie Dough:
- 2 cups all-purpose flour, plus extra for rolling
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- ½ pound unsalted butter, cold (2 sticks)
- ½-¾ cup ice water
Before you get started, make sure that all of your ingredients are cold. And when we say cold, we mean cold.
“Put your butter in the freezer for 10-15 minutes before you get started on the dough,” advises Kris Stubblefield, Lodge Test Kitchen manager. “The more you handle the ingredients, the warmer they get and you want them to stay cold throughout the entire process. So use cold, cold, cold butter, ice water, and work in a timely manner to get the best results.”
Step 1: Place the flour, salt, and sugar in a large bowl and mix them together with a fork. Then, cut the very cold butter into ½-inch cubes.
Step 2: Once your butter is cut, work it into the flour until no large chunks remain. You can use your hands or a pastry blender.
Pro Tip: If your butter is extra cold, you can skip cubing the butter and use a box grater to grate the butter into manageable chunks. This will help you evenly coat the butter in the flour mixture with no giant pieces of butter.
Step 3: If you mix it by hand, remember to break up the big chunks of butter, careful not to overwork the dough.
“The consistency should be like sand,” said Test Kitchen Kris. “And once it’s combined, the mixture should be shaggy, not homogenous.”
Step 4: Make a hole in the center of the mixture, then add ⅓ cup of ice water.
Step 5: Gently fold the water into the flour and butter. Add more as needed, one tablespoon at a time, just until the dough comes together.
Step 6: Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and shape the dough, careful not to overwork it.
Step 7: Cut the dough into two pieces, with one larger than the other (eyeball ⅓ of the dough for the smaller piece).
Step 8: Shape the two pieces into discs, cover them in plastic wrap, and let them rest in the fridge for at least one hour before forming the pie. The second disc can often be used as a lattice for the top of a pie, or kept on hand for future pies. The dough will keep in the fridge for up to 5 days and in the freezer for 3 months. When freezing, make sure to date it so you’ll know how long it’s been in the freezer.
“I tend to forget about the second disc of dough in the freezer. But this comes in handy when we have last-minute plans or company coming to town,” said Test Kitchen Kris. “If I’m wondering what to make, I open my freezer and often find pre-made pie dough ready to use. It allows me to quickly throw together a delicious homemade quiche or a fruit galette for our guests that makes an impression and also uses up produce in my fridge. It’s a win-win.”
Step 9: Remove the large disc of dough from the refrigerator. Make sure it’s cold! It’s important to do the next 3 steps quickly while the dough is cold.
Step 10: Use a rolling pin on a floured surface and roll the dough, moving from the center of the ball to the edge, adding more flour as needed. Do this until the entire disc is ⅛-inch thick.
Step 11: Set the pan you’ll be using for the pie over the dough to check the size of your disc. This will help you determine if you need to roll it out more, or not. You want to make sure you have enough for 1 inch of dough to hang over the edge of the pan.
Step 12: Next, you want to transfer your dough to your pie pan or cast iron skillet. There are a couple ways to do this. The easiest is to fold the dough into fourths, flouring in between folds so it doesn’t stick together, for easy transfer to your bakeware. You then take the dough, place it in the skillet, and unfold it. This helps you lift and place the dough without the risk of a potential tear.
You can also roll the dough around your rolling pin and unroll it over your bakeware.
Step 13: Once your dough is placed, tuck the dough down into the bakeware and then trim the edges so that 1 inch of dough hangs over the edge.
Step 14: Carefully press the dough into the side of your bakeware, ensuring full contact.
Step 15: Want to add a pretty design to your pie dough? Use your knuckle to crimp the dough around the edge of the pan. If you use the Lodge 9 Inch Pie Pan, you can simply press the dough into the pan and the scalloped edge will perfect the design for you.
Step 16: Last, but not least, we recommend you use a fork to poke holes in the bottom of your pie crust so the dough doesn’t bubble up and separate from the pan. If you need to pre-bake the dough for a recipe, you can bake it with beans or pie weights holding it down and that will keep the dough from rising.
That’s it! That’s the step-by-step guide for making a Basic Pie Dough to ensure you make a perfect pie crust every time.
Now that you’ve mastered the crust, try making these delicious pies at home.
We guarantee everyone will be asking for seconds.
This recipe uses staple ingredients found in most pantries. The cornmeal is what distinguishes this pie from other custard pies.
Pumpkin Pie With Spiced Whipped Cream
Dress up pumpkin pie this holiday season with spiced whipped cream.
Maple Custard Pie With Sugared Cranberries
Maple syrup and tart cranberries meet in this silky custard for a yummy autumnal pie.
Apple Pie with Cheddar Crust
This recipe uses our Basic Pie Dough recipe, then adds cheddar cheese for a subtle savory element.
Cranberry Apple Pie
Adding cranberries to this apple pie transforms a classic fall dessert into a special Thanksgiving treat.
Did you try this process? We’d love to see your creations!
Share them with us on social media @lodgcastiron.