Buttery Pie and Tart Crust

Buttery Pie & Tart Dough. Photo © Molly Watson
  • Total: 15 mins
  • Prep: 15 mins
  • Cook: 0 mins
  • Yield: 1 pie crust (8 servings)
Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)
188 Calories
13g Fat
14g Carbs
1g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 1 pie crust (8 servings)
Amount per serving
Calories 188
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 13g 17%
Saturated Fat 8g 38%
Cholesterol 30mg 10%
Sodium 214mg 9%
Total Carbohydrate 14g 5%
Dietary Fiber 1g 3%
Protein 1g
Calcium 27mg 2%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

A pie or tart is often judged based on the flakiness of the crust, so the crust recipe is a crucial part of the sweet or savory dish. This basic one-crust recipe makes a flaky yet buttery crust that works with any type of tart or pie. For a double-crusted or lattice-crust pie, like peach pie or blueberry pie, simply double the recipe.

Ingredients

  • 1 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup sugar (for sweet pies and tarts only)
  • 1/8 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter (chilled and cut into pieces)
  • 3 tablespoons ice water or ice-cold vodka, divided

Steps to Make It

  1. In a large bowl, combine the flour, sugar (if using), and salt. Drop the butter pieces into the bowl on top of the flour mixture.

  2. Use your fingers, a fork, a pastry cutter, or two knives to work the butter into the flour mixture until it resembles cornmeal with stray pea-size pieces of butter in it. (Feel free to do this in a food processor; simply pulse the mixture until the desired texture is achieved, which usually requires just a few pulses.)

  3. Pour 2 tablespoons of ice water or chilled vodka over the mixture and stir until it comes together. Add another tablespoon of water or vodka if it remains too dry to pull into a dough.

  4. Turn the mixture onto a well-floured work surface. Knead it once or twice to create a ball of dough. Pat the dough into a disk shape about 1/2-inch thick, wrap it in plastic wrap, and chill at least 30 minutes and up to 3 days.

  5. Unwrap the disk of dough and put it on a well-floured surface. Roll it into an 11- to 12-inch circle, turning the dough 90 degrees between each pass of the rolling pin to make sure it doesn't stick (lift the dough and re-flour surface if the dough starts to stick at all).

  6. Fold the dough in half over the rolling pin. Use the pin to lift the dough half-way over a pie plate or tart pan. Let the dough drop into the pan (if you push or force it into place it will only shrink back to its original shape when baked). Cover and chill until ready to use.

Recipe Tips

In order to achieve a perfect pie crust, you do need to follow a few tips, from using very cold butter to making sure you leave some chunks of butter when mixing the dough together. You also want to start with the minimum amount of water and only add if needed; water helps the gluten develop which will deter the crust from becoming tender. To avoid any risk of adding too much water, you can use vodka; vodka makes a flaky crust because it has very little water. (The alcohol will bake off.)

Although it is important not to overwork the dough, you also want it to be a dough and not a bowl of clumps and crumbs. So make sure you knead it until it comes together. Also, don't skimp on the chilling and resting time, which is key to creating a dough that won't shrink back when it's rolled out and baked.