It can be tricky to get that perfect flaky, golden brown pie crust. However, with a few tricks you can get a perfect pie crust for any pie. Here's how:
- Gather your ingredients and supplies. You'll need flour, salt, and shortening for most pie crust recipes. Although recipes differ in the exact amounts, one common recipe uses 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, half a teaspoon of salt, a cup of shortening, and 6 tablespoons of ice-cold water. You can also replace half of the shortening with butter, if you like. To make a pie crust, you'll need a bowl, a pastry cutter, a rolling pin, and some wax paper, as well as a pie tin. Some recipes suggest chilling the dry ingredients before you use them, but your crust should turn out fine with room temperature flour and salt.
- Mix your dough. In a large bowl, combine the flour and salt. Then cut in the shortening with the pastry cutter, making sure the shortening is evenly distributed throughout the dough. Keep cutting the mixture until the dough forms pea-sized balls. Now, add your water. You may not need all of the water, so if the crust is holding together, stop adding water.
- Form dough balls. With your hands, gather the dough into two balls, one for the bottom crust and one for the top. Now, chill for 30 minutes before rolling.
- Roll out your dough. Tape waxed paper to your counter so the dough won't stick. Or, you can lightly flour your counter and rolling pin. When you are rolling out the first ball of dough, if it is too crumbly to shape, add some water. If it is too wet, and does not crumble at the edges at all, add a little more flour. Roll the ball of dough until it is about 1/8 inch thick. Set it aside, and roll out the other ball. Try to roll each ball into as close to a circle as you can, which will make it easier to fit into your pie pan.
- Form the crusts. Carefully lift one of your crusts into the pie pan. Lightly press it into the pan, and use a sharp knife to trim the edges. If it breaks, pinch it back together. Fill the pie with your filling. Now, lift the top crust into place. Using a fork, crimp the top and bottom crusts together, and trim the excess with a sharp knife. Cut slits or a design into the top crust. You can coat it with an egg wash if you'd like a golden sheen. Now, your pie will be ready to bake. Make sure to watch it carefully, or your perfectly made crust could burn.
Getting a perfect pie crust requires practice. There are many variables that affect your pie crust turns out. For example, the colder your shortening, the flakier the crust will be. If you over-mix your ingredients, the crust will become tougher. Once you perfect your pie crust recipe, you'll never go back to store-bought crusts again.