Basic Flaky Pastry Pie
Updated: Apr 14
When I’m not feeling lazy, I do make homemade pie crust. It’s definitely easy, but not as convenient as buying one from the frozen section of the grocery store. However, you will be rewarded with a tender and flaky crust than your typical frozen pie crust, and you will need only four ingredients for this recipe: flour, water, fat, and salt.
Recipes differ from baker to baker. Some people prefer the traditional classic crust made with butter, and some people use shortening or lard. Depending on the method and the fat you use, it will result in different finished product.
MEALY CRUST VS. FLAKY CRUST?
So first you need to decide if you want a mealy crust or a flaky crust because fat size creates a different final product. If you want mealy crust, go for oatmeal sized fat pieces, and if you want flaky crust, make sure the fat is the size of a nickel. I prefer to have a mixture of both, so that’s why I will do half oatmeal and the other half nickel pieces.
LARD VS. SHORTENING VS. BUTTER?
Lard: Makes the best pastry crust in terms of texture, though it is not as tasty as butter, and is less bland than shortening. It has a higher melting point and lower water content making it easier to work with. Shortening: Is a ideal fat to use because it also has a high melting point. Again, it is good in terms of texture, but bad in terms of flavour in comparison to butter. Butter: Results in a buttery, flaky, and crispy crust, however, it is not as delicate as lard. Some people use half shortening/lard and half butter, getting the best of both worlds. Getting the ideal texture as well as the buttery flavour. Feel free to use what you have on hand but today I will do half lard and half butter.
Basic Flaky Pastry Pie
Makes 1 Bottom Pie Crust
1 1/4 cup all-purpose flour or pastry flour, plus extra for rolling 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt 1/2 cup (4oz or 115gram) of unsalted butter, or shortening, or lard, or a mix, cubed and very cold 1/8 cup to 1/4 cup (30ml to 60ml) cold water 1/2 teaspoon sugar (optional, sometimes I add this to add some sweetness to the pie crust)
In a large bowl, whisk together the flour and salt (optional - sugar).
Add half the chosen fat to the flour mixture.
Cut the chosen fat into the flour mixture with a pastry blender or a whisk until it resembles oatmeal.
Add the remaining half of the chosen fat to the flour mixture
Cut the chosen fat into the flour mixture until it resembles the size of a nickel.
Using a fork start mixing, and add the water into the flour mixture, a tablespoon at a time, until the mixture forms a ball. You may need less water, so add the water until the dough just forms. If needed, gather the pastry dough in your hands and form into a ball.
Wrap in plastic and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes or overnight.
On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough 1/8 of an inch thick into a 13" round for a 9" pie pan.
Place the dough in the pie plate, by using the rolling pin to transfer into the pie pan. If the dough stretches, it could cause shrinkage. So it's best to use the rolling pin to transfer. Do this by placing the rolling pin in the centre of the dough, and wrap half of the dough around the rolling pin, it will hang a bit. Then transfer the dough to the pie pan and gently unwrap the dough into the pie pan.
Next, gently press the dough into the bottom and sides of the pan.
Trim the dough, but allow 1" of dough overhang.
Finish the edges are you prefer. (crimping, fluting, scalloped, roped edge, forking, etc.)
See notes for final step!
NOTES: If pre-baking, use a fork and lightly prick the bottom and sides of the pie crust, then brush the edges with egg wash (put colour and shine on pastry crust), then preheat the oven to 425 degrees F and bake for about 8 minutes in the preheated oven. OR If not pre-baking, simply fill the pie crust with the pie filling and bake accordingly. OR If not using right away, wrap the pie crust with plastic freezer wrap and store unbaked pie crust in freezer until you need to use it, but make sure to use within 3 months or store the unbaked pie crust in the fridge for up to 3 days.