Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Homemade Pie Crust

I was going to share a sourdough pie crust that I've been making recently but I realized that I never shared a basic pie crust recipe.

I don't consider myself a pro at pie crust baking. My mother-in-law makes pie crusts that flake just looking at them. Even when I use her recipe, I can't make pie crust that taste like hers.

But my husband says that my pies are nothing to be ashamed of so I'll share how I do it. This recipe is the one my mom taught me. I use lard, since we butcher hogs and have it readily available. I'm guessing other shortening/butter options would also work but I've never tried it.

I also make my pie crusts with half whole wheat flour, just because that is the way I butcher every recipe. It makes the crust a little heavier, but doesn't turn my family off pie.

Pastry for Pie Crust
Makes two double crust pies

4 1/2 cups flour
1 1/3 cup lard or shortening
1 tsp salt
2/3 cup ice water

Combine flour and salt. Cut in lard. The best way I have found to do this is in a food processor. It is so easy to get the flour and lard combined well. I then dump the mixture in a bowl to add the water. You want to mix the water in very lightly. Don't over mix.

When the flour is just starting to stick together so that I can take my hands and smush it together into a ball, I stop. Roll out pastry dough and place in pans.

My biggest frustration in making pie crust was rolling them out and transferring to the pan. I often managed to tear a big hole even when I floured my counter well. I tried roling on parchment paper and wax paper with limited success. Finally I picked up a pastry cloth and rolling pin sock at a kitchen store and found that rolling out pie crust could be fun. When they are floured well, the dough does not stick at all. If I do get a hole, I patch it by wetting a small piece of dough and pressing it into the hole.

I put my pie pan on the dough to see if I have rolled it large enough. Most of my pie pans came from my Grandma which makes them extra special. I wonder how many pies these pans have seen in their lifetime!

After trimming the edges, I flute it with my fingers. Every pie baker seems to have their own method. I couldn't begin to describe how I do it. But you'll soon come up with your own design.

I usually make several crusts and put them in the freezer. It doesn't take long to make a pie if the crust is already made. To pre-bake a crust, I bake at 475 degrees for about 8 minutes.

I'd love to hear your tips on making pie crusts.


  1. My husband is the pastry maker in our house, I just don't seem to have the knack. Every couple of months he will make a big batch and fill up the freezer with a variety of pies; fruit, chicken and veg, and steak and kidney are our favourites. He also makes LOTS of mince pies at Christmas. I am looking forward to those!

    1. Now that is a husband to keep hold of!(Smiles)

  2. Hi, Gina! Thanks for the pastry cloth and pin sock tip. I have never heard of those! I used to have the worst time with pie crusts until I learned in my old Amish cookbook to mix the water with vinegar and egg. It makes the crust sooo yummy and flakey! I can't wait to see the sourdough crust!

  3. I can never make a decent pastry unless I use some amount of lard - normally I do half lard half butter as I have to buy the lard

  4. After rolling out my crust to the appropriate size, I gently lay the rolling pin on top of the crust on the side away from me. I lift the far edge of the pastry cloth towards me, slightly, to assist in laying the crust on rolling pin, gently rolling the pin towards me at the same time, thereby rolling the crust around the pin. (Once you get the crust started on the pin, you drop the pastry cloth back down.) Continue rolling the pin until the crust is entirely rolled onto the pin. Then hold the pin over the far side of the pie pan and gently unroll the crust towards you. It makes the crust easy to pick up and transfer to the pan without tearing. (It's much easier to do than to try to describe!)

  5. Whenever I make pie crust, I usually fill every pan I have,and freeze them in bread bags. We love pie, but I don't like that greasy mess on my hands! I don't mind 100% whole wheat crust for pies like apple, pumpkin, etc. They add to the flavor!

  6. This might be a silly question but do you bake the pie shells for a few minutes before you freeze them or do you just freeze them and bake them later?

    1. I do not bake my pie crusts before baking. I place plastic wrap between them so they don't stick, stack several pans together and slide them in a large (2 gallon) ziplock bag.

  7. I'm in no position to give advice on pie crust making...lol...my favorite is one you press out in the pan. Like you I also use half whole wheat and sometimes all depending on the filling. No one ever complains about the taste of my crust, but they aren't the prettiest things.

  8. I enjoying making pies and I have used different pastry recipes, but I like the one with oil and milk. Then I roll them out between two pieces of wax paper flipping them when it get wrinkled and lifting the paper and rolling more. Then I lift one paper off and then just flip then onto the pan.I use the wax paper between the shells when I freeze them. Thanks for sharing your recipe because I have some lard I want to use up.

  9. I love pie, so I made myself learn how to make a classic crust. But lately I've been using an oil/WW flour crust that is so brainless. I have to concentrate when I make classic pie crust!

    Never heard of a rolling pin sock or pastry cloth. Thanks for the tip.


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