Monday, November 14, 2011

Best Homemade Pie Crust

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!)

1 Best Crust

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.

4 Best Crust

2 Best Crust

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. 

3 Best Crust

Tips & Tricks for The Best Pie Crust

  1. 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.
  2. By hand – combine dry ingredients then use your hands or a pastry cutter to cut together.
  3. 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.
  4. Add the water gradually; I do 3/4 of it, then drizzle the rest as needed until the dough holds together roughly.
  5. The dough will craggily (not perfectly) hold together in a ball when pressed together.
  6. 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.
  7. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes, or up to a few days.
  8. 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.
  9. Roll the dough out on parchment paper to prevent sticking and minimize the need for a lot of flour. 
  10. Dust the parchment lightly with flour, then use flour a little more liberally on the top.
  11. 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.
  12. 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.
  13. 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.
  14. 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.
  15. 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.


5 Best Crust


  1. IMO, butter makes the best crust! Lovely tutorial.


  2. a croissant-like pie crust, I think I might cry
    T x

  3. The pie crust looks delicious!

  4. Have I ever told you that you are "Perfect"....

  5. thank you so much for the detailed tutorial. MUCH needed.

  6. You are heaven sent! For someone who loves to bake but rarely comes out successful,(especially with crusts...grrr!) (like me!) a tutorial as extensive as this is a goldmine! Thanks! More power!

  7. Used this for all of my Thanksgiving pies and they were absolutely amazing. This will be my go-to method for pie crusts from now on! Thank you for sharing :)

  8. Great set of tips- I've shared them on Pinterest crediting, thanks!

  9. Very good info. Lucky me I came across your website by accident (stumbleupon).
    I have book marked it for later!Drinking Water System


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