It is that time of year, full of family, friends, and definitely all the food. In our family, whether for Thanksgiving or Christmas, pie takes center stage. Every year I end up making about a dozen pies over the holidays. We make cherry, pumpkin, lemon meringue, chocolate, apple and anything else that tickles my fancy. One key to a great pie is a wonderfully flaky crust. A pro tip for pie: don’t overwork your crust. It is not bread, and therefore you do not want any gluten development. Another key is keeping the butter cold and your crust chilled until they are ready to be baked.
This is my favorite crust recipe and is a crowd pleaser for savory or sweet pies. Enjoy baking!
Basic Pie Crust (From Ad Hoc by Thomas Keller)
2 ½ cups all-purpose flour, plus extra for rolling
1 ¼ teaspoons kosher salt
2 ½ sticks (10 ounces) unsalted butter, cut into ½ inch pieces and chilled
About 5 tablespoons ice water
- Combine the flour and salt in a large bowl.
- Add butter and toss with flour.
- With your hands or a pastry blender, work the butter into the flour. Keep working butter until there are no butter pieces larger than a pea.
- Drizzle ¼ cup of the water over the top of mixture.
- Using a fork, mix until the dough just holds together when pinched. If needed, add additional water.
- Turn dough out onto a floured surface and knead until dough is smooth and butter is completely incorporated.
- Divide dough in half, with one piece slightly larger than the other. The larger piece will serve as the bottom crust.
- Shape dough into 1-inch thick discs and wrap tightly with plastic wrap.
- Refrigerate for at least one hour or up to one day.
- When ready to roll out, flour your work surface and rolling pin.
- Roll dough out to a 13-14-inch round, about an eighth-inch think.
- Roll outward from the center, rotating the dough often and adding flour as needed to keep dough from sticking.
- Fold dough and place in a 9-10-inch pie plate, gently easing the dough up the sides.
- Roll out second dough using the same technique to a 12-inch round.
- Place on parchment lined cookie sheet and refrigerate both doughs for 15 minutes.
- Bake pie crusts according to filling recipes.