How To Make A Standard Pie Crust?

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The classic or standard pie crust is the base for so many savory and sweet pies, tarts, and tartlets. It is a versatile recipe, maybe baked with the filling, or baked blind (partially cooked), when the fillings require less cooking, for example, Lemon meringue pie, chocolate cream pie, chocolate chess pie, fresh fruit tarts, etc…

The standard pie crust is usually made by the rubbing method, like the French one “Pâte Brisée“. But you can use a food processor, if so, you should know when you stop and feel the pastry when you add water, it is more used by professionals, who know the texture of a pastry, just by looking at it.

Yield: One crust for a single pie-crust 8 to 10-inch plate

Pie Crust Ingredients

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 4 tablespoons white vegetable shortening
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into small pieces, about 1/2″
  • 3-5 tablespoons ice water
  • 1 teaspoon sugar (only for sweet recipes)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

Method For Making Pie Crust

  1. Into a large bowl, sift the flour and salt together, add sugar, then butter pieces, and shortening to the flour.
  2. With the tips of your fingers, rub the fat into flour, quickly, until you get fine bread crumbs.
  3. To keep the mixture light and cool, you should take the crumbled dough out of the bowl, and let it flow back in the bowl, through your fingers.
  4. Sprinkle gradually the water, 1 tablespoon at a time, to moist the dry ingredients, gently toss with a fork or your fingers.
  5. Mix the moistened dough lightly, using a round-bladed knife, and toss with enough ice water to form large lumps.
  1. On a lightly floured surface, knead the dough lightly, shaping a disk, rather than a ball, about 1 inch thick, starting from the center to the edges. Run the pastry edgewise to smooth the size.
  2. Wrap the dough in a plastic wrap, and refrigerate, at least 30 minutes, to let the dough absorb the water and to relax, make it easier for rolling out

How To Line The Pie Plate?

  1. Lining The Pie Plate: Remove the pastry dough from the fridge, and let it rest 2-5 minutes, at room temperature, before rolling, to let the butter soften.
  2. On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough, with the rolling pin, to the size needed, about 10 to 12 inch [depending on the size of your pie plate]1/8 inch thick, and 1 inch wider, than the pie plate, using short, even and light strokes, with an even thickness; rotate regularly [don’t add flour to the working surface, brush the excess of flour] to keep an even shape.
  3. To repair any tears or cracks in the pastry, moisten your finger with water, and gently, push it back and press together. Ignore edges’ cracks, it will disappear when you trim the crust.
  4. Wrap the pastry dough, around the rolling pin, then carefully, lift the pastry and loose gently, over the pie plate, with unrolling movement, starting at one side of the pie plate. Do Not Stretch it. Lightly press the pastry dough over the bottom and sides of the pie plate.
  1. Flute The Pie Crust: Trim the pastry dough with kitchen scissors or a knife, to 1/2 inch beyond the edges of the pie plate.
  2. Fold the pastry under the rim of the pie plate, to build up the edge, then flute the edge by pressing the outer edge between thumb and index fingers, press the pastry around the finger, at the same intervals, about 1/2-3/4 inch.
  3. Chill the pastry for at least 30 minutes, when you prepare your filling, before baking, as directed on your recipe.

La Dorure Notes:

  • The ratio of flour and fat should remain the same, 1/2 cup fat to 2 cups flour. Keep the same ratio, if you decrease or increase the number of ingredients.
  • For more flakiness, use only rich butter. The shortening helps the crust to maintain its structure.
  • All-purpose flour is the best for pie crust recipes, also some recipes have lard, instead of shortening.
  • Some recipes add vinegar, baking powder, buttermilk powder, or egg, each one of them changes the texture of the crust. If you’re looking for the classic and flakiest crust, use only the ingredients above.
  • Use the water gradually, and feel the pastry with your fingers, the less water the best is the crust, tender and flaky. Water is just to moisten ingredients.
  • To prevent the crust from bubbling or shrinking while baking, prick with a fork, several times.
  • You can freeze the uncooked pie crust for up to two months, by wrapping the pastry disk in aluminum foil, until you want to serve. Let the dough rest at room temperature, at least 10 minutes, to relax before rolling it out.

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