Kitchen

Tips & Tricks for Homemade Pie Crust

May 9, 2017

The number one tip for making homemade pie crust for the first time is “don’t be afraid.” Homemade pie crust tastes so far above and beyond frozen premade crust that even if you’re a beginner baker, it’s bound to impress. What’s more rustic than a fresh homemade pie? Gwenyth is begging to serve this!

The great thing about this homemade pie crust recipe is that it’s the perfect neutral base, great for sweet and savoury fillings alike.

Before you start, really take these three tips to heart. Or write them on your hand or something.

#1 Don’t freak out

#2 Don’t be a perfectionist

#3 Don’t touch it too much

Similar to a first date, you can’t put too much pressure on creating a perfect pie crust. It’s not going to show in the finished product that you scooped up every single crumb and that your dough rolled out like a dream. So relax.

Grate butter to easily marble through dough

Rather than breaking apart cube of cold butter, grating creates the tiny bits you need without using the warmth of your fingers. Grate your butter into your flour mixture and rub the shortening between your floured fingers to create the texture of coarse sand.

Sprinkle in cold water as you need and use as little as possible

Why cold? Here’s the weird thing: the temperature actually changes depending on the season. If you’re working in a hot kitchen in the middle of August, keep that water in the fridge.

Keep your dough in fridge for at least a hour

Dough needs time, love, and patience (think of our new relationship metaphor!) to merge together. The colour of your dough should be creamy, not white, and stay together as one dough ball.

Flour counter by throwing at an angle to spray evenly

Ok, I saw a chef do this and not only did it make you look very cool, but it was also a very effective way to evenly spread flour. Throw a large pinch of flour at a 45° angle down at the counter so it sprays evenly across your work surface. Or just sprinkle it the regular way.

Just keep pressing the crumbs together as you roll it out

This is usually when I would freak out because this isn’t as easy as the play-dough texture you might be expecting. The #1 mistake here would be to reform a ball of dough and roll it out again and again. Just fit the pieces together tangram style and roll with it…literally.

Roll crust loosely around rolling pin to unroll in pie dish

The ol’ roll up and unroll. This is the only way to move your large delicate crust without multiple pairs of hands. Get the biggest piece that you can into the base of the dish and fit other scraps in to fill edges.

Finish edges with a runny egg wash

Paint the top of your pastry for that bakery-style sheen and sprinkle a little sugar, if you so desire.

Here’s the pie crust recipe I always follow, from baking classes I took at Le Dolci Bakery in West Toronto.

Pie Crust Recipe

  • 375g all-purpose flour
  • 160g cold unsalted butter cut into 1/2″ pieces
  • 125g vegetable shortening cut into 1/2″ pieces
  • 100g COLD water
  • 5g salt
  • 15g brown sugar (optional)

Instructions

  1. Sift the dry ingredients together.
  2. Crumble in the butter and shortening for a texture similar to wet sand.
  3. Add water sparingly until you can keep dough together in a ball.
  4. Wrap in cling film and place in fridge for 60 minutes or longer.
  5. Flour your counter before rolling out your dough.
  6. Cut some indents on the top crust to allow steam to escape.
  7. Brush the edges with egg wash and sprinkle with sugar.
  8. Preheat oven to 400 ̊F and bake for 10 mins.
  9. Then reduce heat to 350 ̊F and bake for an additional 50 mins or until the pastry is golden brown and center of the pie is bubbling.

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