As I talk with friends who love pie but who don’t make pies, a common complaint is “I don’t know how to make pie crust.”
Well, I’m happy to tell you that making pie crust isn’t difficult. It takes just four ingredients (flour, fat, salt and water) and a little time, and it’s quite forgiving.
You can even use a food processor to do it.
Mix the flour and the fat, add the water, make the dough into a ball, and roll it out—that’s it! Watch this short video.
I’ll explain it step by step in the recipes.
I generally use a butter and flour crust for most fruit pies. I think the buttery flavor complements the fruit, and it melts in your mouth. For pumpkin and some other creamy pies, I prefer a crust made with shortening. It’s a less pronounced flavor than the butter and may be a bit lighter and flakier.
Some people don’t like to eat the hydrogenated oils found in shortening, but shortening does make a flaky crust.
I’ve used King Arthur flour for years and like it, but any good flour will do. Recently, as my family has become more health conscious, I’ve started making some crusts with whole wheat flour. It’s more crumbly and a bit harder to handle, but it has nice flavor and texture that go particularly well with pumpkin.
I usually make Butter Pie Crusts in my food processor, where the chilled butter mixes well with the flour and ice water, and I make Shortening Pie Crusts by hand, using a pastry blender that works well with the softer shortening.
Graham Cracker Crust is a nice variation that goes well with citrus pies such as Lemon Meringue and Grapefruit Meringue.
If you'd rather not have a pastry covering or decoration on your pie, consider fluffy meringue.