Learn to make a homemade Flaky Butter Pie Crust with just four essential kitchen staple ingredients. This easy recipe makes the best pie crust from scratch that's perfect to use in your favorite sweet and savory recipes!
Pie crusts can be made using a variety of ingredients. The traditional crust utilizes a combination of flour, fat, and liquid. The type of fat used can vary, with options including butter, shortening, lard, or even a mixture of both. Each fat imparts its own texture and flavor to the crust: lard tends to make a very flaky crust, while shortening can yield a tender crust but might lack flavor.
Butter, on the other hand, provides a rich taste and excellent flakiness. Butter is also a natural and unprocessed fat, which many prefer over more processed alternatives, and the recipe steps are simple! Toss butter, flour, and salt into a food processor and pulse until you get small chunks. Splash in ice water a bit at a time until those chunks turn into big clumps. Split it in half, shape it into discs, and chill it in the fridge. After an hour, roll it out bigger than your pie dish, pop it in, shape the edges, and give it another quick chill. Then, fill it up and bake according to your recipe, and you’re ready to go!
Butter pie crust is capable of adapting to both sweet and savory recipes. Butter crust is the foundation for classic fruit pies, from apple and berry varieties to rich and creamy custard-based ones like chocolate or lemon meringue. This pie crust also shines in savory dishes such as quiches filled with cheese, vegetables, and meats, or chicken pot pie. Knowing how to make a reliable butter pie crust means you're always ready to whip up something amazing!
Why You’ll Love This Recipe
- This butter pie crust achieves that golden-brown perfection, promising a flaky bite every time.
- It’s made with just four simple ingredients you can find anywhere, and that includes water!
- Using butter to make pie crust offers the best taste and texture.
- You can use butter pie crust to make sweet and savory dishes, so it's always good to have them on hand.
Ingredients You’ll Need
- Butter - Provides the crust with a rich flavor and contributes to the flaky texture, creating melt-in-the-mouth layers.
- All Purpose Flour - Acts as the main structure for the crust, ensuring it holds together while baking and serving.
- Salt - Enhances the overall flavor of the crust, balancing out the richness of the butter and highlighting its savory notes.
- Ice Water - Binds the ingredients together and keeps the butter cold, ensuring the crust remains flaky when baked.
How To Make Flaky Butter Pie Crust
Cut the butter into the flour: Add the butter, flour, and salt into a food processor. Pulse for 2-3 seconds until there are small chunks.
Add liquid: Splash in the ice water, a teaspoon at a time, pulsing between additions. Stop once the dough starts to form large clumps.
Shape and chill: Transfer the dough to a floured surface, divide it in two, and shape it into discs. Wrap each in plastic and refrigerate for at least an hour.
Roll and prepare: After chilling, roll out a disc on a floured surface until it's larger than your pie dish. Transfer to the dish, shape the edges, and refrigerate for another 30 minutes before filling and baking.
- Ensure your butter is very cold before starting; it's even beneficial to freeze the butter for about 15 minutes prior to cutting it into the flour. This ensures a flakier crust.
- When adding ice water, always start with a lesser amount and gradually increase. Too much water can make the crust tough.
- Work quickly when rolling out the dough to prevent the butter from melting. A warm dough can lead to a less flaky outcome.
- If the dough becomes too sticky or soft while rolling, refrigerate for a few minutes to firm it back up.
- Use a pastry cutter or bench scraper to assist in transferring the rolled-out dough to the pie dish to avoid tears.
- When pressing the dough into your pie dish, be gentle. Overworking the dough can result in a hard crust.
- Mix in finely chopped fresh herbs like rosemary or thyme to the dough for a savory twist.
- Replace half of the all-purpose flour with whole wheat flour for a more rustic and nutty flavor in your crust.
- For dessert pies, add a couple of tablespoons of granulated sugar or vanilla extract to your dough for a subtle sweet note.
- Incorporate finely grated parmesan or cheddar into the dough for a rich and tangy flavor, perfect for savory pies or quiches.
- If you're out of butter or want a different texture, use lard or shortening in place of butter. Lard will provide a flaky crust while shortening yields a tender bite.
- Use coconut oil or a dairy-free butter alternative for those avoiding dairy. Remember to keep it cold, similar to how you'd handle butter.
- Add finely ground nuts like almonds or walnuts to your crust mixture, giving a unique flavor and crunch.
Storing & Freezing
Storing: Wrap the crust tightly in plastic wrap or aluminum foil and store it in an airtight container. Refrigerate for up to one week before baking.
Freezing: If you've just made the dough, shape it into discs, wrap it in plastic wrap, then a layer of aluminum foil, and freeze for up to three months. If you've already rolled out or baked the crust, ensure it's cooled, then wrap it tightly in plastic wrap and aluminum foil before freezing. When you're ready to use, thaw the dough or crust in the refrigerator overnight before baking.
The toughness in a pie crust can result from overworking the dough or adding too much water. It's crucial to handle the dough as little as possible and to add water sparingly until just combined.
You can use a pastry cutter or two forks to cut the butter into the flour. It might take a bit more time and effort, but it will achieve a similar texture to using a food processor.
Shrinkage usually happens when the dough is over-stretched while placing it in the pie dish or if it hasn't been chilled enough before baking. Always ensure the dough is relaxed and sufficiently chilled to maintain its shape during baking.
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Flaky Butter Pie Crust
- Using a food processor, mix together butter, flour and salt. Mix for 2-3 seconds until the dough forms small chunks.
- Add water, one tablespoon at a time, to the mixture and mix for 10 seconds. Continue adding water until the dough starts to form large clumps. Be careful not to add too much water.
- Place the dough onto a lightly floured surface, and press the dough into the shape of a ball using your hands. Divide the dough into two evenly sized pieces. You carefully flatted each piece to form a disc. Wrap each disc in 2 layers of plastic wrap and immediately place them in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour. Be careful not to overwork the dough.
- Lightly flour your workspace and remove the dough from the refrigerator. Using a rolling pin, evenly roll the dough into a circle. Roll the dough until it is 3 inches larger than your pie dish.
- Transfer the dough to a pie dish by folding it in half and then into a quarter. Carefully unfold the dough in the pie dish. Once the dough has been arranged in the dish, you can create your crust pattern.
- Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for an additional 30 minutes. Remove the crust from the refrigerator and fill with your prepared filling. Follow the baking instructions for the pie filling.
Pre Baked Crust
- Remove the dough from the refrigerator and poke holes in the bottom and sides of the pie crust using a fork. Line the bottom of the crust with parchment paper and fill the bottom of the crust with pie weights or dry beans (this helps prevent shrinking). Place the dough-lined dish on a baking sheet and place in the oven. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until the crustturnsy golden brown.
*All nutrition information provided is automatically calculated and is an estimate and will vary based on ingredients, brands, and changes in cooking methods listed in the recipe. If you need exact numbers on your ingredients, I would recommend calculating them with your prefered nutrition calculator.