Chef Laura’s Favorite Pie Crust Recipes

Is there anything better than pie?

Doubtful. But as important as the filling of any pie, the pie crust can also make or break a pie. Different fillings and cooking methods call for different types of pie crusts. Below I have included a basic guide to using the different crusts and my favorite recipes for the crusts. So dust off your pie pans and gear up for pie season!

-Chef Laura

Note: These recipes are not mine, but they are some of my favorites. I’ve included the link to the recipe sources.

The Flaky Butter Crust

Now, this is the stand pie crusts that most everyone associates with pie. It is often a simple flour and butter mixture, leaving small pieces of butter whole, creating the flaky crust we all love. This is the most commonly used crust and can be used for the majority of pies.

Ingredients:

  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 sticks unsalted butter, cubed and chilled
  • 1/2 cup ice water

Directions:

In a food processor, pulse the flour with the granulated sugar and salt to mix. Add the butter and pulse in 1-second bursts until the mixture resembles a coarse meal. Drizzle the ice water on top and pulse in 1-second bursts until the dough just starts to come together. Turn the dough out onto a work surface, gather any crumbs, and pat into 2 disks. Wrap the disks in plastic and refrigerate until chilled, about 45 minutes.

Source: Food & Wine

Again, the key to this type of crust is leaving the chilled butter in small whole pieces. As the crust bakes, the steam from the butter melting will cause the crust to flake.

Best pies for the crust:

  • Fruit-filled pies, often with top and bottom crust like apple or Fruits of the Forest.
  • Quiches and savory pies.
  • Custard filled pies

 

The Crumble Crust

The crumble crust can be best recognized as the graham cracker crust or cookie crust. Typically, this involves crushed premade cookies, melted butter, and maybe some sugar or salt. I love a classic graham cracker crust and with certain pies like cream or custard pies. BUT in the past few years, I have discovered a fun twist of the crumble crust and have shortbread cookies as the base. This adds an extra buttery feel to the crust that you can’t find anywhere else.

Crumble Crust with Shortbread Cookies

Ingredients:

  • 10 ⅔ ounces/300 grams shortbread cookies (two 5 1/3-ounce packages)
  • 3 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ¼ cup/55 grams unsalted butter, melted

Directions:

Prepare crust: Heat oven to 350 degrees. Combine shortbread cookies, sugar, flour, and salt in a food processor and blend until you have fine crumbs. Transfer crumbs to a medium mixing bowl. Add butter and mix with a fork until crumbs are evenly moistened. Tip crumbs into a standard 9-inch pie plate and press them in an even layer on the bottom and up the sides of the plate. Bake until golden brown and set, 15 to 20 minutes. Transfer to a rack to cool completely.

Source: New York Times Cooking 

Best pies for the crust:

  • Cream pies like banana, chocolate, and coconut.
  • Custard-filled pies.
  • Any no-bake pie

 

The Shortbread Crust

The Shortbread Crust, not to be confused with the Crumble Crust that can use shortbread cookies, is a sweeter and thicker crust. A shortbread crust is most often seen in tarts or heavier pies.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup (130 grams) all-purpose flour
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1/3 cup (35 grams) confectioners sugar (powdered or icing sugar)
  • 1/2 cup (113 grams) cold unsalted butter, cut into small chunks

Directions:

In your food processor, place the flour, sugar, and salt and process to combine. Add the cold butter and pulse until the pastry starts to come together and form clumps. Transfer the pastry to the prepared pan and, using your fingertips, evenly press the pastry onto the bottom and up the sides of the pan. (Can use the back of a spoon to smooth the surface of the pastry.) Gently pierce the bottom of the crust with the tines of a fork. (This will prevent the pastry crust from puffing up while it bakes.) Cover and place the pastry crust in the freezer for 15 minutes to chill. (This will help prevent the crust from shrinking while it bakes.)

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F (220 degrees C) and place the rack in the center of the oven.

Place the tart pan on a larger baking sheet and bake the crust until golden brown, about 13 – 15 minutes. Remove from oven and place on a wire rack to cool. It is now ready to be filled.

Source: Joy of Baking

Best pies for the crust:

  • Fruit tarts
  • Custard-filled pies.

 

Happy pie-making! Do you have a favorite pie or pie crust recipe? We’d love to hear about it – drop a link in the comments!

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