Pie Pastry Basics - Make a Perfect Pie Crust

  • 01 of 05

    Pie Pastry Basics - Incorporating the Butter

    Pie Pastry Butter and Flour Mixture
    Diana Rattray

    When making pie pastry, begin with chilled butter and ice water. Cut the butter (or butter and shortening combination) into small pieces and put it in the freezer for about 15 minutes before you begin to prepare the dough.

    This photo shows the mixture of flour, salt, and butter. Note the crumbly texture and many pea-size pieces of butter. This was done in the food processor, but your fingers or pastry blender can be used to get the same results.

    Continue to 2 of 5 below.
  • 02 of 05

    Pie Pastry Disks

    Pie Pastry Disks Ready to Chill
    Diana Rattray

    The flour mixture is moistened with just enough ice cold water to bring it together. Add the ice water in small amounts just until the flour is moist enough to clump.

    Knead the dough just a few times, or until the dough holds together and shape it into one or two flat disks, depending on whether you are making a one or two-crust pie. Wrap the disk(s) in plastic wrap and chill for 20 minutes before rolling. 

    Continue to 3 of 5 below.
  • 03 of 05

    Pie Pastry - Rolling the Dough

    Pie Pastry - Bottom Crust
    Diana Rattray

    Take one disk of pie dough from the refrigerator and roll it out on a lightly floured surface with a lightly floured rolling pin. If it is over-chilled and cracking when you start to roll, let it stand at room temperature for just a few minutes. The rolled-out dough should be about 1/8-inch in thickness and about 1 1/2 inches larger than the circumference of the pie plate.

    Roll from the center to create a fairly even circle and roll as quickly as possible to avoid overworking the dough. Sprinkle more flour over the top of the dough if it begins to stick to the rolling pin. A sheet of wax paper between the dough and the rolling pin helps avoid sticking.

    Fit the dough into the pie plate. Trim the edges, leaving enough overhang to crimp. If you are not making a top crust, crimp the edge as desired.

    Continue to 4 of 5 below.
  • 04 of 05

    Pie Pastry - Top Crust

    Filling and Top Crust
    Diana Rattray

    Add the filling to the pie and roll the top crust out just as you did the bottom crust. Transfer the top crust to the filled pie plate and center it over the pie.  Folding it over the rolling pin can be helpful if the crust seems too delicate to lift by hand. Bring the bottom and top crust edge together and crimp as desired, using a lot or very little of the dough overhang. Trim excess dough. 

    Lightly brush the top crust with egg wash made with 1 egg yolk and 1 tablespoon of milk or light cream. Using a small sharp knife, cut several slits in the top crust to allow steam to escape.

    Continue to 5 of 5 below.
  • 05 of 05

    Pie Pastry - Glazed and Baked Double Crust Pie

    Pie Pastry - Glazed Baked Double Crust Pie
    Diana Rattray

    This photo shows a glazed and baked double crust pie made with a butter pie pastry. I sprinkled the top with a few teaspoons of vanilla sugar, but you could use a cinnamon sugar blend or plain granulated sugar as well.

    If the edge of the crust is browning too much and the filling is taking longer, fashion a foil ring and fit loosely over the crimped edge the last several minutes.