The ideal pie crust is not only easy to roll out, but also one that's perfectly flaky and tender when baked. The secret? Ice cold vodka straight from your freezer. Unlike water, alcohol does not contribute to the formation of gluten, the network of proteins that can cause an overworked pie crust to turn leathery and unappealing. In addition, alcohol burns off quickly in the oven. Don't worry, vodka is flavorless so the couple of tablespoons in this recipe won't affect the flavor of your final dish.
It is important both the water and vodka used in this recipe are ice cold when they're incorporated. This helps keep the fat in the crust cold as well. The colder the fat when you put the pie crust into the oven, the flakier the final product.
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 cup solid vegetable shortening (chilled)
- 2 tablespoons ice water
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 tablespoons vodka (chilled)
Gather the ingredients.
Place the flour in large mixing bowl and cut in the chilled vegetable shortening with a pastry blender until crumbly.
Shortening is helpful when making a decorative pie crust, because doughs that are made with it hold their shape the best during baking. This is because shortening has a higher melting point than butter.
Dissolve the salt in the water, then drizzle over flour mixture.
Add the cold vodka and stir lightly with a fork until the mixture just holds together.
Using floured hands, divide the dough evenly into two balls.
Pat each slightly to flatten, and wrap separately in wax paper. Refrigerate for at least one hour.
To blind bake the pie crust, roll out one part of the refrigerated crust on a lightly-floured surface to fit into a 9-inch pie pan, with the edges slightly overlapping. Flute or crimp the edges of the pie crust. Refrigerate a dough-lined plate until firm, about 15 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 400 F.
Remove the pie pan from the refrigerator and line the crust with non-stick foil or parchment paper. Fill the pie pan with pie weights, dry beans, or even pennies. This will weigh down the crust and keep it flat as it bakes without any filling.
Bake for 15 minutes. Remove the protective covering and weights, and bake for an additional 5 to 10 minutes until crust is golden brown and crisp.
Use with your favorite pie recipe.
- The dough will also keep for a couple of days if kept in the refrigerator, so feel free to make in advance.
- Pie crusts are fully blind baked like this when the pie recipe calls for a filling that doesn't need to be cooked, such as a chocolate pudding or a pastry cream with fresh fruit.