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ATK/Cook's Illustrated Vodka Pie Crust

Need the recipe for ATK/CI pie crust they do with Vodka. Anyone attempt this yet? Results? Tips? Looking forward to trying it!

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  1. Pie crust recipe with vodka here: http://www.seriouseats.com/recipes/20...

    But also read this piece by the creator of the vodka piecrust recipe: http://sweets.seriouseats.com/2011/07...

    1. That's now the official crust of my household. It's easy and you can't screw it up. You can, however, spend a fortune in vodka if you make it enough. Follow the directions, including chilling, and be aware that the texture of the dough is like fondant, not pie crust, so don't think you've messed up if yours is like this.

      But I agree with drongo that you should read the second article s/he linked. I have yet to try that method, but when I do, it will certainly be cheaper.

      2 Replies
      1. re: Isolda

        I am also a huge fan of the vodka crust but it does get expensive. I read Kenji's article about the vodka-free method and adopted some of his ideas, and it worked spectacularly. I halved the vodka and used all butter the last time I made crust and it was every bit as good as the original CI recipe, perhaps even better. Try it and see what you think!

        1. re: biondanonima

          I remembered this comment about the vodka crust being expensive today when I saw a 750 mL bottle of Everclear 190 proof (95% alcohol) for $7. Since presumably all one needs is the alcohol with no (or minimum) flavoring, I think Everclear (diluted with water to 40% alcohol) would be an inexpensive replacement for vodka.

          I didn't buy the Everclear though -- I don't think I want something like that in the house. It would be kinda like having a bag of cocaine (which I don't have either) in the living room.

      2. I use the Vodka pie crust recipe whenever I make pie. I use lard (bought from a local farmer's market) in place of shortening, and I rarely use all of the cold water called for; my experience is I only need about 2 to 3 tablespoons of cold water vice the 1/4 cup the recipe specifies.

        You may find this crust is more pliable than a traditional crust made with the bare minimum of water, but it's much easier to work with and always tasty. I find it has a tendency to shrink as it cooks, so compensate for that by pinching it over the edge of the pie pan a bit more than you might normally.

        1. I use it, love it and will never switch. It's easy enough for beginners and quick enough for long time pie crust makers. I use cheap vodka, (Georgi) no need for the high priced stuff. Can't taste it anyway.

          2 Replies
          1. re: bushwickgirl

            Funny, I have the Georgi sitting up next to my flour in the pantry as well. Only caveat I have with the vodka crust is that it can be very soft. Sometimes it almost falls apart when I try to transfer to the pie pan. I still eyeball the water and cut back if needed.

            1. re: bushwickgirl

              Yes, a cheap one would be better! We had an old bottle of Stoli in the cupboard and since we rarely use vodka for anything but cooking (the bottle was a gift), that's what I used. So, it was quite a haute pie crust.

            2. How does it compare to vinegar pie crust? It doesn't seem like it would be any different and the recipe I have was my grandmothers.

              3 Replies
              1. re: rasputina

                My vinegar crust recipe only uses 1 T vinegar, whereas this vodka recipe uses 1/4 cup. The vodka one is easier to work with, which might be better for a novice.

                1. re: Isolda

                  Yeah, my grandmother's recipe was with vinegar. I think the science is the same, but it was not realized why at the time. Problem with vinegar is if you used enough to really make a big difference, the sourness would be overpowering.

                2. re: rasputina

                  The vinegar is supposed to make the crust more tender - to counteract possible overworking of the dough. There usually isn't enough of it used to serve the same purpose as the vodka does, which I understand is to add more liquid to the dough (to make it easier to work with) which will evaporate during the cooking process.

                3. Strange to come across this post. I recently found this recipe while looking for The Best Ever Pie Crust. and I have to say...it is amazingly perfect. I've made it a few times now for apple pies and mincemeat pie and I wasn't pleasantly surprised. Plus I love asking people what they think the secret ingredient is. :)

                  Have you tried it yet? How did it turn out?

                  11 Replies
                  1. re: rockability

                    Um, I think it's agreed in this thread that we are mostly all Vodka Pie Crust lovers.

                    I'm a bit confused by your post. You wrote that you found it amazingly perfect, "I have to say...it is amazingly perfect" then you weren't pleasantly surprised "I wasn't pleasantly surprised."; are you talking about the same recipe, and the vodka one at that? Perhaps you misspoke. Anyway, I'd really like to know what your experiences and thoughts are, pie crust wise, of course.

                    No one is going to guess what the "secret" ingredient is; the taste is totally lost in the baking. Don't even bother asking.

                    1. re: bushwickgirl

                      Obviously I misspoke. It happens. I WAS pleasantly surprised. Better?


                      1. re: rockability

                        Oh no, it's ok, seriously just wanted clarification, that's all. Misspoke, happens to me too, it's no biggie.

                        I wasn't picking on you.

                    2. re: rockability

                      I am so glad everyone has been mentioning this pie crust recently. I first made it a few weeks ago, actually I think it was the first time I ever made a pie crust and it was OK but not great. I may not have baked it enough, or I blended it too much because I didn't see the bits of butter showing when I was done, like this time. But yesterday I was brave enough to try again, and filled it with apples that I think was also a CI recipe (you microwave for 2 minutes before putting in) and I am so happy with the results. The crust was flaky and buttery (I used buttery Crisco, maybe that's why) and the apples made the best filling I ever tasted. I am eating way too much of it, and eating every crumb of the crust, which I never usually touch. I will admit it was the vodka that caught my attention, but don't think I'll be searching for another recipe anytime soon. Thanks guys for sharing!

                      1. re: coll

                        Coll, what is the microwave technique? I used one of their recipes which called for sauteeing the apples briefly before adding them to the crust but nuking them seems to save that step.

                        No need for the whole recipe, just the bit about how to pre-cook the apples in the microvave.

                        1. re: Ernie Diamond

                          You cut up the apples, added the sugar and spices etc, everything except butter pats, and microwaved for 2 minutes. Let cool before putting in crust. They said for some reason, it keeps the apples from becoming mushy, as weird as it sounds. Worked for me!

                          1. re: coll

                            I can't wait to try this! Thanks for mentioning it . I love my apples crunchy but I make such tall apple pies that if I want to saute things I have to do it in batches which makes me not do it at all. Can't wait to try it though.

                            1. re: Allice98

                              I used three different types of apples as I saw recommended somewhere, not even sure which was which but the therory was that some will get softer and some will have bite. I found it to be good advice.

                            2. re: coll

                              Oohh, sounds interesting! I'll definitely be trying this technique out. Thanks for sharing!

                              1. re: rockability

                                It came out so good I couldn't help sharing it!

                              2. re: coll

                                I do this too - there's an explanation on the CI website about how gently heating the apples to 120 degrees sets the pectin so that they get fully cooked but not mushy when the pie is baked. Works like a charm.

                        2. Parcooking apples for pies is not new news, and not invented by CI. Glad Mr. Kimball and gang have caught onto it though. It's especially good for those that love a tall pie because your apples will cook through, you don't have to worry about a raw and runny pie. I'm waiting for CI to catch onto my mother-in-law's trick for chilling the flour, salt and shortening and then adding water to crumbs and immediately rolling. Makes very flaky crust.

                          Here's my old slideshow of my mother-in-law making an apple pie and microwaving the apples.

                          1. I finally attempted to make a pie crust with this method. I was making a suet crust steak and kidney pie and I basically replaced half the water with the vodka that it called for. Everything tasted overwhelmingly of vodka...especially the "doughy" parts on the inside that made contact with the gravy...the gravy itself was almost completely ruined, as all the vodka seemed to absorb into it. A failure. However the crust was near picture perfect and the texture was spot on. So I guess it did its job texture and look wise but not flavor wise. Anybody have any idea what I did wrong?