Homemade Pie Crust with Shortening – it can be the star of your Thanksgiving dinner or a complete disaster! I have the BEST recipe for homemade pie crust you will ever make. I found this one years ago from Cooks Illustrated and it change my fear of making my own pie crust into a love for it. It turns out light and flaky every single time. I make the pie dough days ahead of time, keep it in the refrigerator and roll it out when it is time to bake my pies for holiday dessert.
The Secrets to Flaky Pie Crust
I know there are homemade pie crust purists out there that believe the dough should only be made using real butter. While that may give you a great flavor, only using butter in your crust will result in a pretty dense end result.
You need a pie crust with shortening AND butter. You get the killer flavor from the butter, while the shortening gives you the flaky, individual layers of pastry.
Can you see the individual pieces of butter and shortening in my dough? That’s because I didn’t overwork the dough! Touch it and work it as little as absolutely possible.
Do you see how this dough hasn’t formed into a ball? It is still fairly crumbly and then once it is wrapped in the plastic wrap, I will form it into a disk before putting it in the fridge.
As it rests in the fridge, the glutens relax and the flour absorbs the moisture so it will be perfect by the time you roll it out.
Another key element to the perfect flaky crust is keeping the dough cold. Touch the dough as little as possible and when you do, use your fingertips instead of the palm of your hands which are hotter.
Don’t be afraid to put your assembled pie into the fridge to chill the dough before putting it into the oven. Remember, cold butter and shortening = light and flaky crusts!
Can I Make Pie Crust a Day Ahead of Time?
Not only can you make it a day ahead, you should make it a day ahead…if not two. Allowing the dough to sit, wrapped tightly in the fridge, will allow the flour to absorb the moisture in the dough, let the dough completely relax, and keep the butter and shortening very cold.
For Thanksgiving, I make all my pie crust dough on Monday and pop it in the fridge until Wednesday when I make all my pies. Pies are definitely better on day two so don’t hesitate one bit to make them early.
My favorite use of this amazing pie crust is my authentic Dutch Apple Pie recipe! Makes an appearance year-round at Casa Jones.
Homemade Pie Crust with Shortening & Butter Video
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- 1 1/4 cup flour
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 1/4 cup shortening, chilled – (stick it in the freezer for 20 minutes)
- 6 Tb unsalted butter, cold and cut into pieces
- 3 Tb ice water
- Process flour, salt and sugar in food processor.
- Add shortening and pulse until the mixture has the texture of coarse sand, about 10 seconds.
- Scatter the butter pieces over the top and cut into the mixture until butter pieces are no bigger than small peas, about ten 1-second pulses.
- Sprinkle 3 tablespoons of ice water over the mixture and pulse until small dough balls just begin to form, about 10 – 1 second pulses.
- Turn out onto two pieces of plastic wrap forming an X on the counter. Wrap ball in plastic wrap and flatten into a disk shape. Refrigerate at least 1 hour or up to 2 days before rolling.
- Roll out onto a lightly floured surface, turning often to keep it from sticking to the counter. Roll it about 1 1/2 inches wider than your pie plate.
- Transfer to your pie plate by rolling it onto your rolling pin
- Cut off any excess and turn under the edges. Then place in the freezer for 20 minutes before using in your recipe.
If you need a pre-baked shell, after it comes out of the freezer, line the inside with two pieces of aluminum foil lightly greased with nonstick spray, greased side on the dough. Add beans or pie weights to the foil and bake at 375 for 25 minutes. Carefully remove the foil, then bake for another 5-6 minutes for a partially baked crust, or 12 minutes for a fully baked crust.
- Prep Time: 10 minutes
- Cook Time: 30 minutes
- Category: Dessert
- Method: Baked
- Cuisine: American
- Serving Size: 1/8
- Calories: 209
- Sugar: 2 g
- Sodium: 147 mg
- Fat: 15 g
- Saturated Fat: 7 g
- Unsaturated Fat: 7 g
- Trans Fat: 0 g
- Carbohydrates: 16 g
- Fiber: 1 g
- Protein: 2 g
- Cholesterol: 23 mg
Keywords: homemade pie crust recipe