Great Pies Start with a Great Crust

One of my FAVORITE things to make at Thanksgiving is PIES.  I love to make them from scratch … no store-bought pie crusts for this girl!  So I’m going to post the next few days on the wonderful desserts we have for our Thanksgiving feast.

pie crustBut before you can make a pie … you have to make a pie crust right? I love my pie crust recipe and have used it for years.  I got it from Good Things Catered, a blog that is no more (sadly).  The trick to pie crusts that are not soggy is keeping them cold.  I make sure that I cut my butter and shortening first and put them in the refrigerator.  Then I measure out all my dry ingredients into a bowl and also chill those as well in the refrigerator.  Next, I use ice water in the recipe when it calls for it. Sometimes you can even put a baking sheet in the freezer, then roll out your dough on it before transferring to your pie crust.  And of course, I keep my crusts in the refrigerator until I’m ready to use them.  Some folks make crust ahead and defrost.  I am sure that works okay, but I’m a make-it-the-day-of-or-before-kind-of-girl and I take my time with it.

So here’s my absolute favorite basic pie crust.

Basic Pie Crust

2 1/2 cups unbleached flour

1 tsp salt

2 tbsp sugar

1/2 c shortening sticks (crisco makes these)

12 tbsp butter

6-8 tbsp iced water

Cut butter and shortening into cubes and put into fridge (or freezer if you are pressed for time).  Combine flour, salt, and sugar in bowl.  Add in chilled butter and shortening and use paistry cutter to cut into dry mix until pea sized.  You can also use a food processor for this to make it easier – but I do it the old fashioned way.  Add in your iced water and fold and mix with rubber spatula until it slightly sticks together.  Divide into two balls, wrapping each in plastic wrap and pressing into 4″discs. Refrigerate at least 45 minutes, or up to 2 days.

You will know your dough is getting too warm if when you roll it out it becomes sticky (with all that butter and shortening you will see!).  Use plenty of flour and feel free to pop back into the refrigerator before making your edges pretty or filling it.  If I’m doing a double-crust pie (like apple pie) I will roll out the top layer on plastic wrap and put it back in the refrigerator.  This recipe makes two pie crusts.

Click for a Printable Version: Basic Pie Crust

Enjoy!  Next up, our favorite pies.  Crispy Caramel Apple Pie, Pumpkin Pie, and Pecan Pie.  Yum Yum!