all-butter pie crust dough

Although the first day of autumn this year is officially Thursday, September 23rd – still a few days away – yesterday marked the first day that it felt like fall. It wasn’t cool outside, so that wasn’t it. No, with temperatures of 91 degrees in north Florida on Saturday, the weather definitely didn’t contribute to the autumnal feel.

I believe it was the baking I did. I set yesterday aside to make pie crusts, in anticipation of a chess pie that I’ve had on my to-do list for some time now. We don’t have pie often, and I certainly don’t bake a lot of pies, so making pie crust dough is really something I only do around the holidays – first for Thanksgiving and then for Christmas.

So, I think it was that. The pie crusts. Well, that and the CBS college football theme song that played during the Florida versus Tennessee game. That song just screams IT’S FINALLY FALL!

I used to be the type of baker that bought Pillsbury refrigerated pie crust dough, unrolled it, then rolled it back out and put it in my own pie dish. I might have even crimped the edges a bit so that the crust looked more homemade. I might have done that. Now, there’s certainly nothing wrong with using refrigerated pie crust dough, but now that I’ve tasted what a pie baked in a flaky homemade pie crust tastes like, I have a hard time using the pre-made variety.

The recipe I’ve written here is the one that I’ve used after trying a host of variations, from using different proportions of butter and shortening (which freaks me out a little, if I’m being honest – I mean, what is shortening, really?), to all-butter (which I prefer), to using more or less sugar, to adding vodka (something the folks at Cooks Illustrated have done with success).

This is the pie crust recipe that I’ve gone back to as my standby for sweet pies. So long, Pillsbury.

Yield: 2 9-inch deep dish pie crusts

all-butter pie crust dough

The butter should be very cold, and to ensure this, I keep mine in the freezer. After cutting it into cubes, I often put it back into the freezer so it will stay as cold as possible until I'm ready to work with it.

Ingredients:

2 1/2 cups (312 grams) all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons sugar
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter, chilled, cubed
8 tablespoons ice water*

Directions:

In a food processor, mix the flour, sugar, and salt until blended. Add cubed butter and pulse just until a coarse meal is formed. Sprinkle water into the food processor by the tablespoonful and pulse until the dough begins to form moist clumps. Pour the dough out onto a work surface and form into 2 balls. Flatten ball gently into a thick disk and wrap each tightly in plastic wrap. Chill for at least an hour before rolling. Make ahead: Dough can be kept in refrigerator up to one week. You can keep it in the freezer for up to 1 month; double wrap in plastic prior to freezing.

*Note: You may need a little more or a little less water than 8 tablespoons. I keep a bowl of ice water on the counter right next to my food processor and measure the water out by the tablespoon as I go.

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33 Responses to “all-butter pie crust dough”

  1. 1
    Brian @ A Thought For Food — September 19, 2010 @ 6:59 pm

    I have to admit, I have never made a pie… but this year will be it! I’m gonna do it! And I think yours will be the recipe I use!

    • mj (merry gourmet) replied: — September 19th, 2010 @ 7:37 pm

      Brian, I tend to make the same pie over and over again — pumpkin. And it’s getting to be that time of year again. My kids are already asking for my pumpkin pie, so that will probably be an upcoming post. I’ve been thinking of branching out into the other fruit pies. We can journey into pie baking together. :)

  2. 2
    Kim - Liv Life — September 19, 2010 @ 8:27 pm

    I love all butter pie crusts! That is the only kind I make. I had someone tell me the other day that if it wasn’t made with lard or shortening, it really wasn’t a pie crust… and this lady claims she is writing a book on pies! In any case, your crust look just perfect, and pumpkin pie sounds good!

  3. 3
    Gail — September 19, 2010 @ 11:23 pm

    My heart is soaring! You’re BAKING!!!!! BAKING!!!!!!! Baking a pie. Next up…cake.
    I adore making pie crust. Tart crust…..any crust. ‘Cause it means baking.

  4. 4
    Jennie — September 20, 2010 @ 7:01 am

    All-butter crusts are my favorite too. I’ve been in a fall sort of mood ever since we came back from Cape Cod. For me that’s the official end of summer. This September 23rd business is a mere formality. I even brought my pressure cooker out last week. Happy baking!

  5. 5
    Eileen — September 20, 2010 @ 8:42 am

    I’ve never made an all-butter crust before – I’ll bet it tastes rich and flavorful!

  6. 6
    Macaroni Mama — September 20, 2010 @ 9:53 am

    The song! The pie crusts! Those are definite signs of fall!

  7. 7
    Maria at Fresh Eats — September 20, 2010 @ 10:37 am

    I’m going to make a pie soon, and this crust is going to be my inspiration. I’m all about the all-butter variety. Shortening scares me. : )

  8. 8
    RavieNomNoms — September 20, 2010 @ 10:50 am

    Love it!

  9. 9
    Barbara | VinoLuciStyle — September 20, 2010 @ 10:59 am

    I could have written this post! I’ve used the Pillsbury crust for years and to be honest…still would without guilt but have found that if I make a double crust version like you have…I don’t need it because I always have a homemade version in the freezer.

    I use the standard Pate Brisee crust with a bit more sugar for a sweet filling which is almost exactly like yours but with a bit less sugar; is that the southerner..needing things a bit sweeter? :)

    In anticipation of knowing I’ll be making my own now, I also take a pound of the butter I get from Costco (you know…4 lbs at a time!), cube it and stick it in the freezer. I guess I end up with my own little pie dough section in there after all is said and done but those things keep the convenience factor up and the buying Pillsbury no longer a factor!

  10. 10
    May Ling Wu — September 20, 2010 @ 4:16 pm

    I always use store bought crust but this year I’m gonna try to make my own. Thanks for the post!

  11. 11
    Kate @ Savour Fare — September 20, 2010 @ 6:37 pm

    (Trader Joe’s frozen is really good). I’ll have to try this recipe, because while I love the rollability of my sour cream pie crust recipe, it’s almost too rich for some pies. I need to improve my pie dough skills, too. Husband loves pie.

    • mj (merry gourmet) replied: — September 20th, 2010 @ 7:52 pm

      We don’t have a Trader Joe’s here, but I sure wish we did. Sour cream pie crust? Oh, my. I’m going to have to try that. That sounds like some serious goodness.

  12. 12
    Megan Gordon — September 20, 2010 @ 8:45 pm

    Yes…today has felt like fall big time here in CA. The light’s just different…I’ve had pie crust on my mind a lot lately. When I was in Seattle for IFBC, I took a pie class from Kate McDermott and she uses lard in addition to butter. I just started and I have to say, it’s kind of awesome (but strangely hard to find here!). But a classic butter pie crust? What’s better. Yours looks beautiful.

  13. 13
    Mardi@eatlivetravelwrite — September 21, 2010 @ 6:44 am

    This is absolutely magical MJ. I am afraid of pastry and when I was at culinary school, it was the class where I had to keep leaving to room to calm down because I felt I was taking out all my frustration in my pastry! I have bookmarked this though and will try it soon with a fall pie!!

    • mj (merry gourmet) replied: — September 21st, 2010 @ 10:11 pm

      Okay, Mardi. You, the macaron master, can absolutely handle a pie crust. If I can do it, I KNOW you can.

  14. 14
    Heather @ The Single Dish — September 21, 2010 @ 10:48 am

    Homemade pie crust is the best! I use Ina’s recipe- has Crisco and butter in it. Delicious! I might switch things up and try your all-butter dough. Thanks!

    • mj (merry gourmet) replied: — September 21st, 2010 @ 10:10 pm

      Heather – I’ve used Ina’s recipe, too, and I like hers. The Crisco is just a little freaky to me. Something about the consistency. I’m weird, though. I admit it. :)

  15. 15
    Kirsten — September 21, 2010 @ 5:12 pm

    I just wanted to let you know that I made this crust yesterday in a mascarpone apple pie, and it was wonderful! And so easy!! I had never made my own crust before- I, too, was a long-time purchaser of the Pillsbury. I usually abhor pie crust, but I found this to be quite palatable.
    Thanks for curing me :)

    • mj (merry gourmet) replied: — September 21st, 2010 @ 5:26 pm

      Yay, Kirsten! You just made my day. :)

  16. 16
    Judy — September 22, 2010 @ 12:16 am

    It’s amazing how much people are moving away from brands and store-bought convenience like Pillsbury. I recently just moved away from storebought breadcrumbs, amongst many, many other things. It’s great that once in a while your repertoire includes pie crust, home made! It’s also great that you guys have seasons. Looking forward to fall chowder and winter soups isn’t as dreary as it might sound. I would love it if it snowed on the tropical island where I am!

    • mj (merry gourmet) replied: — September 22nd, 2010 @ 1:14 pm

      Judy – We sort of create our seasons here in north Florida. We have a very long summer and then a brief winter. Our fall and spring last for about 5 days each. :)

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  18. 17
    Chris — September 25, 2010 @ 8:57 am

    I am TOTALLY with you on the fear of shortening. I refuse to have it in my kitchen–there is something so processed and un-natural about it!– so all-butter pie crusts are all you’ll find in my kitchen. I am a diehard fan of Jamie Oliver’s all-butter crust recipes (I have a couple of them) but am intrigued by your addition of kosher salt. This is a must-try for my next pie. Thanks!

  19. 18
    Laura (Blogging Over Thyme) — September 26, 2010 @ 12:31 am

    So glad to finally see a pie crust made with all butter (and none of that Crisco business). I know some people swear by it, but I’ve always made pie crusts with butter and they’re incredibly flaky. The trick is to have the butter and water super cold and not over process!

    Thank you!! Love your blog.

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