How to make the best homemade all butter pie crust. This simple recipe uses no shortening and is perfect for sweet or savoury pies!
Before I turn your attention to the novel on how to make homemade all butter pie crust I have really cool news – Josh & I are officially an uncle & aunty!!! Josh’s brother’s wife had a little baby girl on Sunday morning…it’s the first baby in our family so as you can imagine we are all SUPER excited!!
Right…I’m having a moment with sweet pie.
It’s a new thing for me because typically in New Zealand, pie is a savoury thing.
Mince pies, mince and cheese pies, steak and cheese pies, maybe if you’re feeling super adventurous a butter chicken pie from Wild Bean. But other than those pathetic little apple pie wannabes from McDonald’s, sweet pies are few and far between.
Well, I’ma change that.
I’m officially becoming a sweet pie girl. I don’t know if it’s because in a couple of short weeks I will be heading back to the USA where I became obsessed with so many new foods last time I was there but not pie (!!?) so I feel like I have some making up to do.
I’m gonna eat alllllll the pies.
So obviously, a pie needs a crust. Duh. And yes you can go ahead and buy a slab of pastry from the freezer section at the supermarket but please. What is in it?? It’s so pale and flat and, um, perfect. Not at all like the shaggy mess that I somehow convince to stick together and make a pie.
It’s ugly, but it sure tastes good. And you know homemade tastes better. I’m preaching to the choir now right? It’s made with love! And no machine can add that.
I’ve read and tried a LOT of different pie crust recipes.
They’re all pretty basic. Flour, salt, icy cold water and fat.
The only real difference is the fats used. Most people seem to use a combination of butter and shortening. It seems to work really well for them but I’m still not 100% sure what shortening actually is soooo I’m not sure I wanna put that in my pie. Especially not when the alternative is delicious yellow butter. Yes.
So that’s what we will use. Plus, the flavour of butter is unbeatable. And when you’re talking about an extremely basic list of ingredients, getting a bit of extra flavour into the mix is definitely a good thing.
The key to making a really good pie crust is keeping all the ingredients really cold. You need the butter to be cold when it hits the oven as this is what makes the pastry flaky. If it’s not cold, the butter will start to melt before it goes in the oven leaving you with a goopy mess. Not ideal. I like to cut the butter into cubes and put them back in the freezer for 10 minutes while I prepare the rest of the ingredients. Ice cold water is also essential. If you were super organised you could have cold water ready in the fridge but I’m never that prepared. My trick is to grab a 1 cup measure, half fill it with ice cubes and top up with cold water out of the tap. Give it a stir and you have instant icy cold water.
Once everything is cold, whisk together the flour and salt and then cut the butter in using a pastry cutter until the butter is mostly incorporated with a few pea sized pieces. You can do this in the food processor which I often do, just be careful not to over mix. You still want some of those bigger pieces of butter left.
Next add the cold water 1 tablespoon at a time stirring with a wooden spoon or spatula. You only want to add as much water as you need to make the pastry come together. Sometimes I use 4 tablespoons, sometimes for whatever reason it needs a little more, but stop adding water as soon as it holds together – you don’t want it to be wet.
Once it comes together, form into a ball and flatten it out slightly into a disc. You’re about to chill the pastry for about an hour, so shaping it slightly makes it easier to roll out once it is cold. Wrap it in glad wrap and refrigerate for at least an hour or until you need it. At this point, you can also freeze it.
Once the dough has chilled it’s time to roll it out. Prepare a lightly floured surface and using a rolling pin (or wine bottle if you don’t have a rolling pin) gently roll it out. Pastry is pretty delicate so be nice and take your time, rolling it out, rotating, rolling out again until it is about 5mm thick and big enough to fit your pie dish.
To transfer it to the pie dish roll it back onto the rolling pin and lay it onto the dish. Once there you can trim the edges and make it look pretty. Here are a few creative ideas but I usually just crimp the edges with a fork.
There it is! Homemade all butter pie crust ready to bake! This can be used in any recipe calling for store bought or homemade pie crust, just follow the recipe directions. If it calls for the crust to be blind baked, place a piece of tinfoil over the pie crust and weigh it down with baking beads or dried beans and bake for 10-12 minutes (or as specified by the recipe). If the crust will be baked and filled and left to set, bake for approx 30 minutes until it is golden brown or again, as specified by the recipe.
Wow. If I’ve still got your attention, I am impressed. You deserve to go eat a big old slice of pie!
Keep an eye out for my favourite quiche recipe to fill this crust coming this week!
- 100 g butter cubed & very cold
- 1 1/4 cups 175g plain flour
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 4-5 TBSP ice cold water
Cut the butter into cubes about 2cm in size and put in the freezer for 10 minutes.
Add a few ice cubes to a 1 cup measure and top up with cold water and give it a stir.
Whisk the flour and salt together in a medium bowl.
Add the cold butter to the flour and using a pastry cutter cut the butter into the flour until it resembles coarse sand with a few pea size pieces of butter remaining. You can also do this in a food processor but keep a careful eye on it that you don't process it too much.
Add 1 TBSP of ice cold water at a time and using a wooden spoon, keep mixing it starts to form a ball. Again, if using a food processor add 1 TBSP of water and pulse a couple of times. As soon as it starts to come together, stop adding water.
Using your hands, form the pastry into a flat disc* (about 10cm across and flatten it down), wrap in glad wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour until ready to use. ²
When ready to use, remove from the fridge and unwrap and on a lightly floured surface roll out the crust until it is about 5mm thick and the right size to fit your pie dish. Be gentle and take your time when you are rolling it out.
Using the rolling pin, carefully transfer the crust to the pie dish and tidy up the edges using a knife.
Fill with your favourite fillings and bake as per recipe directions.
If you need to blind bake the crust, place a piece of tinfoil over the pie crust and weigh it down with baking beads or dried beans and bake for 10-12 minutes (or as specified by the recipe) before filling it and baking again.
If the crust will be baked and filled and left to set, bake for approx 30 minutes until it is golden brown or again, as specified by the recipe.
* Forming a disc at this stage makes it easier to roll out once the dough is chilled. You can just shape it into a ball and refrigerate but this step is easy and saves time later.)
² Pie crust can be frozen at this stage and thawed overnight in the fridge once you are ready to use it