This is our favorite pie crust. It’s very flakey and tender – almost like a croissant – and is made with butter, flour, and water (that’s it!)
We got the recipe from Alice Waters and our lovely well-worn copies of her book The Art of Simple Cooking. We use this crust recipe for everything: pies, tarts, galettes, sweet, savory, large, small.
We’ve made this recipe completely by hand at times, and using a food processor at other times. It always works perfectly, and over time we’ve developed a few tips & tricks to deal with the dough.
Tips & Tricks for The Best Pie Crust
- For food processor – combine dry ingredients then pulse a few times; just until butter is in large irregular pieces. I’d estimate I use about 5 quick pulses.
- By hand – combine dry ingredients then use your hands or a pastry cutter to cut together.
- You’ll know you’ve got the right texture when the smallest pieces are like coarse sand and the larger ones are like small gravel.
- Add the water gradually; I do 3/4 of it, then drizzle the rest as needed until the dough holds together roughly.
- The dough will craggily (not perfectly) hold together in a ball when pressed together.
- Divide in two and wrap each ball in plastic to prep for refrigeration. Use the plastic wrap to press the dough together more firmly to form a better ball.
- Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes, or up to a few days.
- When ready to roll out, let sit and soften on the counter for 20-30 minutes. A rock hard dough fresh out of the fridge will crack all over the place when you try to roll it, so it’s best to let is soften.
- Roll the dough out on parchment paper to prevent sticking and minimize the need for a lot of flour.
- Dust the parchment lightly with flour, then use flour a little more liberally on the top.
- When rolling, think of your dough as a clock. Roll from the center to 12, then 3, then 6, then 9. This helps keep the dough roughly circular in shape.
- Roll the dough to fit your pie tin; I usually roll mine to about 1/8”. The edges will be all cracked and irregular, so I just try to roll out the dough large enough so that I can trim those edge pieces off and throw them away.
- When the dough is the right size, pick up the piece of parchment you’ve been rolling it out on and use it to transfer the dough to the baking dish. I like to turn my pie pan upside down onto the pie tin, then flip the whole thing over right-side up.
- Trim edges, fold as you desire (folding & trimming the crust is more of a style thing than a right or wrong thing), and poke with a fork to help prevent bubbles from forming on the bottom as the crust bakes.
- Pre-bake the crust or not, as your recipe requires.
Recipe for Best Pie Crust
From the Alice Waters classic
makes enough for two crusts
- 2 cups all purpose flour
- 1/2 tsp salt (optional)
- 12 Tbsp cold butter, cubed
- 1/2 cup ice cold water
Combine flour, salt, and butter. Pulse a few times; just until butter is in large irregular pieces. Drizzle in the water bit by bit, pulsing in between, until dough forms a craggy ball. Divide in two, shape into discs, wrap in plastic, and refrigerate for 1 hour or longer. When ready to use, take out one disc and let soften on counter for 10 minutes then roll out to fit the tart pan.