After much trial and error, I finally did it. I’ve made the perfect pie crust. It has taken me 3 times to perfect this delicious, wholesome and flaky crust. I really enjoyed experimenting with this. I ended up with 2 quiches and an apple pie in the test kitchen! Before 3 weeks ago, I had no idea how to make a pie crust. I was guilty of just purchasing store bought, pre-made crust – hey! There’s absolutely nothing wrong with that! When I’m in a pinch and needed to whip up a quick dish, I’ve 100% opted for one of those frozen life savers any day.
However, being a self-proclaimed home cook, I thought I should be adding a basic pie crust in my repertoire. I mean, what kind of imposter would I be if I didn’t have this skill – right? I guess I’ve been avoiding learning how to make it because I was so intimidated with all the complexity it seemed to involve. Work fast? Don’t overwork the dough? Don’t have warm hands? That always put me off wanting to try. But to my recent discovery… it’s really easy. I mean really really easy. You need 5 ingredients. That’s it! Also, don’t worry about warm hands too much but you do need to work fast.
The First Trial.
I woke up one morning thinking, “I really want a quiche”. I quickly realized that I didn’t have a premade crust in my fridge. I did what anyone would have done – Googled “Easy Pie Crust”. After finding a few seemingly quick recipes, I did a mental check. Okay, I have everything but vegetable shortening but I did just purchase 2 giant blocks of butter (it was on sale $2.99). I kept seeing recipes with shortening. I started to worry about whether or not I really needed that one ingredient. But because I am such a strong, independent, confident woman, I said to myself – to hell with it! All butter it is! I am confident I will pull off an all butter crust! It was also minus 15 degrees celsius outside and I was definitely not going to step outside for vegetable shortening.
The first quiche was a mediocre success! Texture – 4/10, Taste – 9/10. I realized I did what any newbie would have done – I overworked the dough! It wasn’t as flaky as I wanted it to be. However, the taste was interesting, unexplainable yet familiar. After pulling out the quiche from the oven, I was instantly intoxicated with the heavenly smell of butter. I tasted the quiche and to my surprise, it triggered a memory. It brought me back to my childhood but I wasn’t able to pinpoint the exact memory. I travelled with my parents frequently as a child. My dad often travelled for work and his company was kind enough to allow my mom and I to join. We were often eating at the airport or airplane food, which was really fond memories of mine. To this day, I thoroughly enjoy airplane food. It’s less about the taste and more about nostalgia. This quiche with the first ever butter pie crust I’ve ever made has triggered a memory of when I used to travel with my parents as a child. It was an amazing sensation.
The next day, J had tried the quiche for lunch and had complimented me on it (as he does lol). But what intrigued me was when he said “it reminded me of something but I can’t quite figure out what it reminds me of”. I immediately shouted, “YES! ME TOO!”
That alone has encouraged me to keep at it and make the perfect crust.
Third Time is Always the Charm.
Second time around, I managed to get vegetable shortening. I made the recipe with 1 part butter and 1 part shortening. Texture – 8/10, Taste 5/10. I lost the flavour and I think it was in the lack of butter. I was also a bit disgusted with the look and feel of the shortening. It looked unnatural and processed. So the third time (definitely the charm), I made it with mostly butter than shortening. It was all there – 10/10!
I ended up making an apple pie crust this time so I added sugar to the crust for a sweeter touch. This was flaky, delicious and brought back the memories.
Everyone has their go to recipe for the perfect pie crust. What has worked for you? Have you triggered any memories when cooking?
The Perfect Pie CrustPrint Recipe
- 1/2 cup frozen butter (cubes - only freeze for about 15 minutes)
- 2 tablespoon frozen vegetable shortening (cubes - only freeze for about 15 minutes)
- 1 1/2 + 2 tablespoon cup all purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 5 - 10 tablespoon ice water
- * add 1 tablespoon of white sugar if you want to a sweet crust for a dessert pie
Cut the butter and shortening into 1 inch cubes. Place in a bowl and fridge for about 15 minutes before using in the dough mix.
In a food processor, you will add in the flour and butter in layers. First, pour in 1/3 of the flour, then 1/3 of the butter/shortening cubes. Do this two more time with the other 2 parts of the flour and butter/shortening cubes. Blitz up 5 times or until the butter is about pea size
Slowly add iced cold water through the food processor opening. Add only about 5 tablespoons, one at a time. Blitz every time you add the water
Blitz until the dough comes together slightly. At this point, it will look crumbly but if you press the dough together and it sticks then you know it's ready to roll
Tip your dough on a lightly floured counter top
Knead until the dough comes together. You want to do this quick and avoid over working the dough otherwise you will warm up the butter (aka not flaky crust). Add a tablespoon of water at a time if you find the crust too dry.
Form the dough into a rough ball shape and cover with plastic wrap
Let it rest in the fridge for at least an hour
After resting, roll out the dough with a rolling pin on a lightly floured countertop until you get the diameter/shape you need for your baking dish
You want to work really quick with your dough Avoid over working the dough or else your dough will not become flaky. Over working the dough will cause the butter to melt You want to let the dough rest in the fridge for an hour, minimum. You can keep it in there longer but use within a week. You can fridge your dough for up to 3 months. Just thaw it in the fridge overnight when you're ready to use it for a delicious recipe the next day