How to Make a Butter Pie Crust by Food Processor

Ingredients for making a butter pie crust with a food processor.
Bird’s-eye view of what you need: food processor, pie pan, rolling pin, flour shaker, measuring spoons, salt, butter, waxed paper, flour, water on a good flat rolling surface—that’s everything.

4 Ingredients, 4 Minutes: it’s easy to make a perfect pie crust in no time with a food processor. Watch this 5-minute video!

I make one recipe for a single crust, 1-1/4 recipes if I want to do pie crust art, and 1-1/2 recipes for a covered pie. Here are quantities for all three:

Ingredients

 

(Tb = tablespoon)

Ingredient

(US measures)

1 recipe

1-1/4 recipe

1-1/2 recipe

Chilled butter 1 stick (4 oz/8 Tb/ 113g) 1-1/4 stick (5 oz/10 Tb/142g) 1-1/2 stick (6 oz/12 Tb/170g)
Flour 1-1/3 cups (175g) 1-2/3 cups (215g) 2 cups (260g)
Salt Dash (1g) Dash (1g) Dash (1g)
Ice water 2-2/3 Tb (40ml) 3-1/3 Tb (50ml) 4 Tb (60ml)
   
 

Prepare a cool, dry surface larger than your pie pan on which to roll out your pie crust.

Jane Fisher ready to make a butter pie crust
I’m ready to start making the crust. It’ll take only four minutes.

Cut the butter into 8-to-12 pieces and place in the food processor. Add the flour and salt. Pulse the food processor about 10 or 15 times until the mixture looks like small peas.

With the processor running, sprinkle in the water, about 1 tablespoon  (15ml) at a time. Process until the dough begins to clump. (If you keep processing, it will eventually form one ball. This is cool to see, but it’s best to stop the processor before you see it. Too much processing can make the crust tough.)

Rolling pie crust dough on a flour-dusted surface.
Rolling the dough on a flour-dusted surface.

Sprinkle a little flour on your rolling surface and place the dough on it. (Note: if you’ve made the largest recipe, take about 2/3 of the dough for rolling the bottom crust.)

Rub a little flour onto the rolling pin so the dough won’t stick to it, then roll the dough in a rough circle a little larger than the diameter of your pan. If the dough sticks to your rolling pin, sprinkle on a little more flour. The dough should be about 1/8 to 1/4 inch (3.2 to 6.35 mm) thick.

Lifting rolled pie crust dough for transfer to the pie pan.
Lift the dough with a spatula and fold it for transfer to the pie pan.

Use a spatula to loosen the dough from the flat surface, folding it in half and then in quarters to make lifting it up easy. Place the folded dough in the pie pan, open it into a circle and press it into the pie pan, shaping it to fit.

Pinching pie crust dough around the edge of the pie pan
I pinched the edge all around to make it pretty.

Use your fingers, a fork, or a pastry wheel to make a pretty edge on the crust.

Trim off the excess dough. (It can be used for the top crust or for  pie crust art.)

Making the Top Crust

If you’d like to have a top crust or lattice crust on your pie, shape the remaining dough into a flat disk and roll it out as above.

Place the filling (fruit) into your pie plate. Determine how big to make the top crust based on how much fruit you’ve piled up in the pie. Place the crust on top of the fruit and seal the edges by squeezing the top and bottom crusts together with your fingers.

If you want to make it fancy, cut out some shapes from the top crust before you put the crust on top of the fruit; otherwise, cut a few slits in the top to allow steam to come out, or use a cute pie bird for this purpose.

Tips from Jane

— If you don’t have a food processor, you can make this crust by hand. The process is essentially the same.

—Many bakers recommend chilling the dough for an hour before rolling. I usually don’t remember to do this, but if you have time it’s good to do. Keeping the dough cool retards the formation of gluten during processing and rolling. Too much gluten makes your dough rubbery and your crust tough.

Pie crust is very forgiving. If yours tears or splits, as mine often does, just patch it together with your fingers or a little bit of dough. It doesn’t matter if it’s a little bumpy or uneven—after all, it’s going to be covered with yummy filling! You don’t want holes in the crust, however, as that could allow the filling to seep underneath the crust.

Crimping the edge to make it look nice isn’t difficult. Just use your fingers to shape small indentations, working your way around the crust. You can also use the back of a fork to decorate an edge. Even fancier? Use a pastry wheel.