Any Pie Bakers Out There?

Decorating By Winter1979 Updated 31 Jul 2008 , 4:56pm by Jasmine33

Winter1979 Posted 29 Jul 2008 , 4:08pm
post #1 of 23

A few questions for the pie bakers:

What is your favorite pie crust recipe?
How long can you refrigerate pie dough before you roll and bake?
Can you and how do you freeze your pie dough?


22 replies
MaisieBake Posted 29 Jul 2008 , 4:29pm
post #2 of 23

Joy of Cooking.
Dunno; if it's more than a day I either bake or roll out and freeze in the pan.
Yep. Just stick it in the freezer. Wrap it to keep it from picking up freezer burn or weird smells.

Texas_Rose Posted 29 Jul 2008 , 4:31pm
post #3 of 23

Here's the only pie crust recipe I use. I don't refrigerate or freeze it, just make it right before I need it.

2 cups flour
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup oil
5 tablespoons ice-cold water

Mix flour and salt, make well in center. Pour in oil. Blend with pastry blender until it resembles crumbs. Add water and stir until it just forms a ball. Divide in half, wrap one half and roll out the other.

It's really light and flaky. I know most people make crust with shortening, but I've used this recipe as long as I can remember.

HerBoudoir Posted 29 Jul 2008 , 4:35pm
post #4 of 23

My basic crust: 1 cup very cold butter, 3 cups AP flour, pinch salt, and just enough ice cold water to pull it all together. Pulse in a food processor to cut the butter into the flour, then add the water a little bit at a time until it starts to pull together into a ball. Wrap the ball in saran wrap, flatten a bit, then chill at least an hour up to 3-4 days.

If I freeze it, I double wrap in saran wrap and then put in a ziploc bag.

I adjust this recipe sometimes by adding a little sugar, swapping out some of the flour for ground nut flour, add cinnamon or lemon zest, etc.

You can replace some of the butter with veg shortening - it makes a really flaky crust but I prefer not to use shortening in my cooking at all.

I have also tried some of the crust recipes in the Pie and Pastry Bible, and they have been very good.

maryjsgirl Posted 29 Jul 2008 , 5:25pm
post #5 of 23

Find a butter/shortening combo pie crust recipe and sub most of the water for vanilla flavored vodka plus a tablespoon or two. I learned in my Cook's Illustrated that the water is what makes crust tough. So if you sub alcohol you can add more liquid, but actually be adding less water. So your crust will be wet and really easy to roll too. I love this method! You cannot taste the alcohol at all. I also freeze my butter (already cut into cubes) before adding it to my flour. I use a food processor.

If I am going to freeze I roll it out and place it into a foil pie plate to freeze. Sit it in the freezer to harden a little then wrap it with plastic then foil.

Pookie59 Posted 29 Jul 2008 , 6:28pm
post #6 of 23

I've never heard of using Vodka in pie dough.

I disagree that water makes the dough tough. Tough dough is more likely due to a bad recipe (not enough shortening or water) or overhandling of the dough. My crust is always flaky and tender and I've been making pies since I was 12 (about 37 years!).

Easy recipe: 2 cups all purpose flour, 1 t. salt, 2/3 c. plus 2 T shortening, 5-6 T ice water.

I usually make my pie dough fresh. You can wrap and freeze the unbaked pie shell, but it never seems as good as one that has been made fresh the same day.

MaisieBake Posted 29 Jul 2008 , 9:11pm
post #7 of 23

I'm not understanding the vodka explanation.

Structure or toughness happens when the flour gets wet. It shouldn't matter that the vodka will evaporate in the oven faster than the water.

sadiepix Posted 29 Jul 2008 , 9:29pm
post #8 of 23

I love my no-fail crust recipe.

3 cups flour
1 cup cold butter (or 1/2 butter/1/2 shortening or butter-flavor shortening)
1 egg
1 tbsp vinegar
ice water

Cut fat and flour to size of cornmeal/small peas.
Whisk egg and vinegar together.
Make a well in the center of the flour mix and add egg mix. Sprinkle a few tbsp water over and mix with a fork in large motions. Add more water as you mix, just til the dough hold together. Allow to rest at least 30 minutes in the fridge before using.

I will keep my crust in the fridge for up to 3 days, and in the freezer for months with no issue. I rarely pre-roll it, as I never know what I might use it for. Just let it thaw in the fridge, then use.

I always wrap it well to freeze, usually in flat disks about the size I would need for a crust.

Mmmm pie!

taxnerd Posted 29 Jul 2008 , 9:34pm
post #9 of 23

I depends what kind of pie I'm making what my favorite crust is. Usually, my favorite crust is a shortbread crust, which is ideal for pies that do not have to be baked after being filled.
1/2 cup butter, melted
1 Tbsp Confectioner's sugar
1 heaping cup all-purpose flour
Mix ingredients to form dough. Press into bottom and up sides of a 9.5" pie plate. Note that this only makes enough for a single crust pie. I don't make double crust pies. I don't think the shortbread would work very well on top of the pie.

If using pie filling that does not have to be baked, bake the crust in a 350 degree oven for about 15 - 20 minutes or until crust is lightly browned. Cool completely before filling.

If using pie filling that does have to be baked, bake the crust for only about 10 minutes in a 350 degree oven, remove from oven, fill, cover edges with foil if necessary and return to oven for time and temp specified in your pie recipe.

When I want a more traditional crust, I use basically the same crust as Pookie59 posted with the exception of substituting an organic non-hydrogenated shortening for the more traditional Crisco. I've actually gotten alot of complements on my crust since I've switched from Crisco; people seem to the think the "healthier" shortening makes a flakier crust.

nicolepa Posted 29 Jul 2008 , 9:39pm
post #10 of 23

Whatever recipe you use, if it has shortening be sure to use one w/trans fat. the TF Free shortening makes the crust hard to work with and it won't be flaky.

maryjsgirl Posted 29 Jul 2008 , 11:51pm
post #11 of 23
Originally Posted by MaisieBake

I'm not understanding the vodka explanation.

Structure or toughness happens when the flour gets wet. It shouldn't matter that the vodka will evaporate in the oven faster than the water.

I didn't say that it had to do with it evaporating in the oven, lol.

Water mixed in with the flour causes the gluten to develop. Gluten is what makes pie crust get tough.

Vodka is only 60% water and 40% alcohol The alcohol doesn't affect the gluten levels. So you can add more liquid to your crust using the vodka than if you were to use water.

For me I love the texture. But, more importantly it is so simple to roll out, because the dough is a lot more soft due to the added liquid.

I have also read that some "old schoolers" swear off butter, because of its supposed affect on the texture of pie crust. Its not really the butter, but the fact that they allow the butter to soften. Butter contains water and when it softens and melts it releases the water which again makes the dough tougher.

Which reminds me...

***to original poster***

Always add your fat to your flour first. This helps protect the flour from producing gluten by coating the flour.

Mac Posted 30 Jul 2008 , 12:48pm
post #12 of 23

What makes pie crust tough is over-working the dough!

When first starting out, I used to mix my dough until it was all nice and smooth and the crust was terrible. I then learned from an experienced pie-maker that your pie crust should only be stirred 10 times and no more.

The dough is still crumbly but works together as you roll it out. It is melt-in-your-mouth flakey when done.

Rincewind Posted 30 Jul 2008 , 3:11pm
post #13 of 23

I'm not a pie expert, but I have been trying and reading up on them the past year. My dad prefers pies to cakes, so I'm determined to get better with them. The last pie I made I used Cook's Illustrated Foolproof Pie Dough recipe- it was my best pie crust yet.

But... I'm not sure if it was the addition of vodka (replacing some of the water) or using the food processor to mix the dough. Or both. This was the first time I had used a food processor to mix a pie dough. This is faster than doing it by hand and the ingredients stay colder, so... I'm going to try a different recipe sometime while using the food processor to see if I find much difference.

I do know that crusts made with butter-- while having a good flavor, are crispier than shortening-based crusts; shortening crusts are flakier. So I prefer using both, unless I want a crisper, less flaky crust. Shortbread type crusts really work well with certain pies.

Oh- I refrigerate the dough at least one hour before rolling it out. I also refrigerate (20 minutes or so) after I place it into the pie pan . I've never frozen one before, though I have heard of this being called for in certain recipes (like some tarts, for example). And if you're interested in the Cook's Illustrated recipe, I can type it up for you, though it may already be posted somewhere online.

Good luck!

michellenj Posted 31 Jul 2008 , 12:22am
post #14 of 23

This has been a really informative thread, thank you all for your recipes and tips.

gateaux Posted 31 Jul 2008 , 12:40am
post #15 of 23

My recipe is simple:

1 part fat either butter or crisco
3 parts flour - all purpose or whole wheat
1 part very cold water or 1 part 7-up or Sprite

for a savory pie like meat pie I will use water and sometimes add a little bit or dry basil or crush cloves.

for a sweet pie, like apple I will either use water or 7-up and I will often add 1-2 tbsp of brown sugar to help with browning and sweetness.

Everyone seems to come back for more.

I keep my pastry in the fridge up to 1 day and in the freezer up to 2 month. When frozen, just thaw in fridge for 6-12 hours and let sit on counter for about 30 minutes before using.

If I bake a sweet pie I usually use a metal type pan and for a savory pie I often use a glass pan.

It works for me.

Good Luck.

Mike1394 Posted 31 Jul 2008 , 12:48am
post #16 of 23

Maryjsgirl, Nice call on the Vodka. With using the vodka less gluten will be formed.


maryjsgirl Posted 31 Jul 2008 , 1:27am
post #17 of 23
Originally Posted by Mike1394

Maryjsgirl, Nice call on the Vodka. With using the vodka less gluten will be formed.


I got this idea from Cook's Illustrated. I love them!

Winter1979 Posted 31 Jul 2008 , 2:25am
post #18 of 23

Thank you all so much for your responses, now just to choose one......

dinas27 Posted 31 Jul 2008 , 1:21pm
post #19 of 23

as horrible as it is lard makes the best crust IMO. I have an old family recipe that I use so i cant give it away.

As far as refridgerating and freezing - my crust is better if it sits in the fridge for a few hours or overnight. Making pie crust is messy (cutting in fat by hand) so when I lived at home my mom and I would make 5 batches at a time and freeze then she could just pull one out when she needed it. Just let thaw in the fridge.

Lady_Phoenix Posted 31 Jul 2008 , 1:40pm
post #20 of 23

Erin, I have to agree with lard for the best crust ever. I have tried butter, shortening, a combination of everything. I always come back to lard. My grandparents lived well into their 90s, and thats all she ever used for cooking and baking, so it can't be that bad for you. icon_rolleyes.gif

Dee1219 Posted 31 Jul 2008 , 1:40pm
post #21 of 23

Yes I agree, I use lard in the place of crisco! I LOVE it. It provides a wonderful flaky light crust! Think about it, in the good old days that is what they used! When I visited the Amish country I asked a lady in her home that we visited what she did for pie crust and she said lard! I couldn't believe it! I also use it in my home made bread! Yummo!!

FromScratch Posted 31 Jul 2008 , 1:43pm
post #22 of 23

I like Martha's recipe.. and I add some sugar to it. I'll have to try it with the vodka though.. very good idea indeed.

VERY cold (cut into 1/2 cubes and frozen) butter.. ice cold water and not working your crust very long makes for a flakey crust. I do mine in the food processor.. it works like a charm. The trick is that you don't want your crust to be too wet. Just enough water to make it crumbly but wet enough to pinch together is perfect.

Jasmine33 Posted 31 Jul 2008 , 4:56pm
post #23 of 23

While we are at it, does anyone have a really great banana cream pie recipe? I have home made vanilla pudding and I was wondering if I could add banana extract to it, add bananas and make some home made cool whip out of whipping cream.

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