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Jul 4, 2010 07:24 AM

Flakiest Pie Crust Recipes

Because I am not a baker and have often cheated (a.k.a. "bought") with pie crusts, I am wanting to master making my own so by the time Thanksgiving hits, I am good to go.

What is your "go to" pie crust recipe?
Do you use a food processor or do it by hand? (Ina has used a processor and Martha has made it both ways)

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  1. I usually use the refrigerated pie crusts that you roll out, but I did make this pie crust from Cook's Illustrated. It is made with vodka. The idea behind it is that vodka is 40% alcohol and alcohol will not form gluten with the flour so it won't get as tough.

      1. This is my grandma's recipe, all time best flakiest crust ever. The ingredients aren't as important as the techniques.

        for a two crust pastry
        1c. vegetable shortening
        2c. sifted flour (too much flour kills it)
        1/2 t. salt
        ice water

        Start by putting a cup of water in the freezer to chill.
        Add the salt to the flour and cut in your shortening. You want to blend until it looks like corn meal. If you work it too much at this point, it can get warm. If this happens, fridge it for a little while to cool it down again.
        Add ice water, a little at a time, until the dough all comes together in a ball. I stir mine together with a butter knife because I used to overmix it a lot.
        Roll it out in whatever manner you prefer. Between wax paper is ok, but Gran and I both use a floured surface. It is a very delicate crust, but out of this world once it's baked.
        Most importantly, if you have to roll it out more than twice, throw it out! (Otherwise it'll be too tough and Gran will not be happy with you.)

        1 Reply
        1. re: sablejane

          Thanks for the recipe, Sable Jane. When you say "roll it out more than twice," what do you mean? That is, do you mean flattening it with a rolling pin once (but with multiple strokes) and then mooshing it back together because it came out irregularly shaped or torn and then rolling out the dough a second time? Or do you mean not applying the rolling pin to the dough for more than two strokes? If it's the latter, boy, I don't see how you can get the dough thin enough with just two strokes. Please clarify. (I must admit that flakey pie crust often eludes me!)

        2. If you want flaky, make sure to use shortening (as opposed to butter, or at least more shortening than butter if you are using both).

          Other than that, the other tried-and-true principles apply ... keep everything cold, don't overwork, etc.

          Re: Vodka. I'm a big believer in using vodka in my pie crusts, but some do no like it for whatever reason (finding the dough a bit hard to handle). I recommend vodka, but I don't think it is a given or necessary.

          1. i do a flaky pie crust with cream cheese. i also freeze my butter ahead of time, then grate the amount i need into the food processor.

            1 cup all purpose flour + 2 tbsp cake flour
            1 1/2 tsp sugar
            couple pinches of salt
            pulse together

            5 1/2 - 6 tbsp unsalted butter
            1 1/2 - 2 tbsp cream cheese
            grate butter into processor, along with cream cheese. pulse til resembles cornmeal. turn into a bowl.

            3 tbsp ice water, or more
            work 2 tbsp of ice water into dough, then add the third. mix til dough just holds together, adding a bit more water as needed. (i never need more than the 3, just as an fyi). wrap in saran and refrigerate or freeze before use.

            always flaky, always yummy.