A great pie starts with flaky buttery pie crust.
And there are million and one perfect pie crust recipes out there. Hand-written, stained recipe cards passed down through generations, some made with all shortening, some with combination of butter and shortening, some with lard, or even all butter, with vodka and without, variations are endless.
And here I am contributing my version into the mix along with my tips on how to store/freeze pie dough for extended period and avoid annoying shrinkage issues during baking.
But why people bother with old-fashioned butter/shortening pie dough then?
Well, I’m glad you asked. Pie dough with shortening holds its shape better especially if you took your time to shape a beautiful pie edges. And thus, if the appearance is important to you, go with shortening.
That being said, you’ll still get decent – aka rustic – looking pies with this pie dough, but extra tender and melt-in-your-mouth flaky!
Let me show you how I crimp the edges of my pie crusts. I don’t cut out excess dough (just make sure not roll out too big circle), as you may have seen in a lot of recipes. It seems wasteful. So instead, I fold the edges out and roll it until it meets the pie dish. You’ll get nice and thick border, if you will. It won’t be perfect all around, in some places it’ll be thinner, and in some places thicker, but that’s ok. Now you can crimp the edges however your heart desires. I use simple 3 finger method, as shown below. Classic and timeless.
#1 key to avoid the shrinking problem is to rest and chill the pie dough before baking. Once you crimp the edges of the pie, put it in the fridge to chill while you prepare the filling, for at least 30 minutes. The longer it chills, the better.
You see this pumpkin mousse pie? This is the baked version of the above crust. Not much shrinkage, right? And as I mentioned earlier, due to high water content in butter, all-butter pie crust doesn’t hold its shape as good. But I don’t complain, the flavor and texture makes up for it.
Oh, and one more thing… My recipe below is for one single-crust pie, but I often double the recipe to make 2 crusts at a time, which is perfect for double-crust pies like this cherry pie. Besides, I always end up with 2 extra egg yolks after baking a batch of macarons. Guess what I end up making with them…
Extra pie dough is never a bad thing. In fact, it’s an absolute must for me, because I love me some pie!! Especially right before holiday season hits, I stock up on whole bunch of them and freeze them in vacuum sealed bags. That way they store better and longer. But if you’re going to use them within a month or two, just wrap them in a plastic wrap and then place them in a freezer bags.
Yield: 1 9-inch single-crust pie dough
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This recipe was originally published on January 6th, 2013.
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