This Flaky All Butter Pie Crust Recipe Is All You’ll Need To Make The Perfect Pie
A flaky pie crust recipe made with all butter couldn’t be easier. In this tutorial I will show you how to make a mealy dough (like a shortbread crust) for the base layer of your pies and a flaky dough (delicate and melt-in-your-mouth tender) for the top crust for perfect pies every time.
I first learned how to make this pie crust recipe in pastry school and I was surprised and how easy it really was. Having a French pastry chef to demo for you does tend to help I must admit. I have used these two pie crust recipes for every single pie I’ve made since then.
How Do You Make A Good Flaky Pie Crust
Some of the issues that come up with making your own pie crust recipe is the dough can turn out super tough and hard to cut. Not really what we’re looking for in a flaky pie crust recipe. The second issue is the bottom layer of the pie not baking all the way through and you end up getting a soggy bottom (to your pie). Yuck. The last issue is being able to handle your pie crust recipe easily so your pie ends up looking pretty and not like someone dropped it on the way to the oven.
The secret to a perfect flaky pie crust recipe is all about the butter and keeping it cold cold cold. I achieve this by using a cheese grater to grate my butter straight out of the fridge and as soon as it’s grated I put it in the freezer to make sure it stays cold until I need it.
The reason why pie dough get’s tough is the second you start working the butter into the flour, it warms up and starts saturating the flour. Then you add in water which activates the gluten in the flour and things start getting tough.
The key to keeping things flaky is to keep the butter cold enough that the flour coats the butter without combining with it and using only enough water to make things stick together and then immediately stop mixing.
Once the dough comes together you place the dough into the fridge to chill for at least 1 hour. This allows the water to absorb fully into the flour without making more gluten and also keeps the butter cold. When you roll out your pie crust you should see little chunks of butter in the dough. These chunks form the flaky layers you want in your crust. No chunks of dough, no flakes.
How To Make Mealy Pie Dough ( Pâte Brisée)
Mealy pie dough is a little bit different than the top crust. You can make yours by hand but this pie dough is so forgiving, you can make it your stand mixer with the paddle attachment. Simply place your flour and butter in the bowl and mix until a sandy texture is formed. Then add in your egg and water until a dough forms. Wrap in plastic and let chill for an hour before rolling out.
Because the flour and butter is combined together first, you get a crust with the texture of a shortbread cookie. Firm but cuts easily and is very tender. Not as tender as the flaky top crust but perfect for holding together when you cut without getting tough.
How To Make A Single Crust Pie Recipe (Baked)
Mealy pie dough is perfect for a single crust pie like pumpkin or lemon meringue. You can also use it to make mini tartlets, hand pies or even a strawberry galette.
I roll out my mealy pie dough between two pieces of parchment paper. I try to get mine really thin, like 1/16th of an inch. This way the bottom layer bakes quickly, is very crunchy and not doughy. Then I flip the paper over into the pie pan. Press the dough into your pie pan and trim off the excess. Fill your pie with your filling and bake until the pie crust starts to shrink away from the edge of the pan. When your pie shrinks this means that the center of your bottom crust is baked through and you won’t have a doughy center.
How To Make A Single Pie Crust Pie (No Bake)
If you’re making a no-bake pie (like no-bake strawberry pie) then you would poke holes into your pie crust using a fork so that your crust doesn’t bubble up during blind baking (pre-baking a crust with no filling).
To blind bake you can place some parchment paper into your pie pan and fill with some dried beans or use pie weights. This just holds the pie crust down while it bakes. Once your crust is nice and brown and starts to pull away from the edge of the pie pan, it’s done. Let it cool and fill with your desired filling.
How To Make A Double Crust Pie
For a double pie crust recipe follow the same directions as the single crust pie for the bottom layer using your mealy pie dough. Fill your pie with your desired (fully cooled) filling like my summer berry filling. Put your pie pan into the fridge while you work on the top layer. You always want to keep your dough as cold as possible at all times. Take out some of your flaky pie dough and use a nice sturdy rolling pin to start rolling it out. We used a wooden rolling pin and would actually “beat” the top of the dough a couple of times to start to flatten it out which can be extremely stiff due to the cold butter.
Roll out your flaky pie crust recipe between two pieces of parchment paper. I make the top layer about 1/8″ thick. Make sure you moisten the edges of the bottom layer of crust with some water or egg white before adding the top layer of crust or it will split during baking and your filling will leak out. Flip the top layer of crust onto the top and press down the edges to seal them down. You can also crimp with your fingers or press with a fork. I keep things pretty simple here.
When you place a crust on top of your pie, it’s important to make some vents for air to escape. You can make some very simple knife slices or you can use a cookie cutter to make some pretty shapes and decorate the top. For my “Fathers Day Pie” I simply used a paring knife to cut out some letters.
Brush the surface of your pie crust recipe with some egg white and then sprinkle with some granulated sugar. If you skip this step then your pie won’t brown very nicely and will seem visually dry on top.
How To Perfectly Bake Pie
To bake your pie, you want to preheat your to 400℉. Move your rack to the bottom of the oven. You want more heat on the bottom than the top. Place your pie into the oven and bake for 30 minutes or until the top of pie starts to brown. Then I place a pie crust protector over the edges of the pie so they don’t brown too quickly. You can also form a barrier using aluminum foil strips. For the last 10 minutes of baking I place a baking sheet on a rack near the top of the oven to keep the pie from browning before the bottom of the crust is finished. Once the edges of the pie start pulling away from the sides I know the pie is done. You can remove the pan and brown the top more if you need.
How To Make Decorative Crust Pies
If you have seen some of those fancy decorative crust pies on pinterest you might want to know how to make one for yourself. Essentially you can use the same flaky pie crust for the top but you would cut it into strips or shapes before attaching to the top of the pie. As you may have guessed, using cold dough is important for handling and shaping.
For this pie crust I simply cut out some long trips of mealy pie dough and made a simple wreath look around the edges of the pie. I cut out some flower shapes using a fondant punch and placed that on top. I brushed the whole surface with egg white and dusted with granulated sugar and then baked as usual. Super fun and easy way to make a pie look really fancy!
Watch My Mealy Pie Crust Recipe Video Tutorial
Mealy Pie Dough (Pate Brisee)
This recipe for pie crust is all you'll ever need to make perfect pies! Mealy pie dough (pâte brisée) is a sturdy pie dough that is great for the bottom layer of two crust pies or single crust pies like pumpkin or no-bake pies like banana cream. This recipe is enough to make two 9" pie shells.
- 12 oz Pastry Flour
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 6 oz cold butter grated
- 1 egg cold
- 1 oz ice water
Place your pastry flour and salt into a bowl of your stand mixer (or you can mix by hand)
Add in your cold butter and mix with a paddle attachment until mixture appears sandy
Add in your egg and cold water and mix until a dough forms
Flatten dough and wrap in plastic wrap. Chill in the fridge for 1 hour before use.
To use dough, roll out dough between two pieces of parchment paper to 1/16th of an inch. Place into pie dish and press flat against bottom and sides. Trim off the excess. Par-bake or add top crust (see flaky pie dough recipe)
Bake pie at 400℉ for 30-40 minutes or until crust begins to shrink from the sides of the pie pan
Watch my Flaky Pie Crust Recipe Video Tutorial
Flaky Pie Crust Recipe
This recipe for pie crust is all you'll ever need to make perfect pies! Flaky pie dough is perfect for those delicate top layers of your double crust pies like apple or berry. This recipe is enough to make two 9" pie shells.
- 10 oz pastry flour
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 8 oz very cold butter grated
- 3 oz ice water
Grate your cold butter into a bowl and then place into a bowl with your pastry flour and salt. Coat the butter with the flour until most of the flour is combined with the butter.
Add in a little water to the mixture and making your hand into a "claw" I start stirring the flour together to get the mixture to start sticking. Do NOT knead
Keep adding in little drizzles of water until your flour and butter mixture is mostly stuck together. Press everything together and wrap in plastic wrap to chill for one hour. Flatten, do not store in a ball.
To use the dough, break off however much you need and roll out between two pieces of parchment paper. Place crust on top of mealy dough crust and cut vents or shapes as desired. Bake until golden brown.
September 5, 2019