pie-crust-103-rolling-and-crimping Recipes, Tips

pie crust 103: rolling and crimping

[Previous episodes: Pie Crust 101 & Pie Crust 102]

As you wish, my friends.

So, when we left off, you had all realized how much fun and easy it was to make pie dough at home, in no time flat while dirtying less than ten dishes. I suspect that each and every one of you ran to your fridge to pull out the ingredients and ten minutes later had your doughs neatly chilling back inside them. And now, all that it is left is getting those babies rolled out and filled with pumpkin or apple or cherries or lemon or … gah, I just hope you share with me.

There are only three things to remember when rolling out dough, and one you already know: cold. Work quickly so the dough stays cold (and also firm and easier to work with) and if it takes a few extra minutes and starts to soften, slide it onto the back of a tray and chill it in the freezer for two or three minutes. Second is flour; a whole lot of you said that your doughs stick to the counter and the rolling pin and your fingers and it’s really simple: be generous with flour. You can always brush extra off. It’s hard to add more to glued-on dough (but I’ll show you how to do that too). The third is to not freak out–even if it gets warm, even if it sticks, it’s gonna be a’ight. So here we go!

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Start by getting your stuff out: You’ll want a small dish of flour (or a shaker, if you have one), a rolling pin, your pie dough that has been chilling for an hour or two, but preferably longer, your pie pan and some sort of bench scraper or knife.

Flour the heck out of your surface, unwrap the dough and put it in the middle and flour that too. Be generous, you’ll thank me later.

Get rolling: Start rolling your dough by pressing down lightly with the pin and moving it from the center out. You’re not going to get it all flat in one roll or even twenty; be patient and it will crack less. Roll it a few times in one direction, lift it up and rotate it a quarter-turn. And that’s what you’re going to continue to do, roll a couple times, lift the dough and rotate it. Re-flour the counter and the top of the dough as needed–don’t skimp! You should be leaving no bits of dough on the counter and none should be stuck to your pin.

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Roll, lift, turn, repeat. Got it?

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Whoops! But what is this? Despite your best efforts, you go to lift the dough and part of it doesn’t want to move. It happens to me all of the time. Use that bench scraper and run it tightly underneath the stuck part, peel it back, and flour the heck out of that area, before getting back to rolling, lifting and turning the dough. I told you it was going to be all right!

Trim the dough: For a standard-size pie tin — that’s what this pie dough is scaled to, after all — you’re looking for a 12-inch circle. You can either keep a ruler nearby, or if you’re me, know that a certain kitchen bowl has a 12-inch diameter rim and use that as your stencil. We’re really high tech here. (Also, you might consider not walking around the kitchen saying “Hm, what’s 12 inches in here?” aloud. Especially if you live with an Office fanatic.) Trim your pie dough into a 12-inch circle with the tip of a knife.

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Transfer your crust: Because your pie dough has been kept cool and loose on the counter, transferring it to the tin should be no trouble at all. Some people suggest your roll it around the pin and unroll it in the pan, and hey, that works too. But I prefer to fold it very loosely into quarters and unfold it into the pie pan.

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Fold the excess under: Press it gently into the pan, making sure it is centered. You should have half an inch overhang around the pan, and you’ll want to fold this overhang under so that the pie dough becomes the size of the pan.

If you’re making a double-crust pie, you’re going to want to wait to fold the excess under and crimp the edges until you have sealed the top and bottom lids together.

Crimp the edges decoratively: One you’ve got the excess folded under, you can make a traditional decorative crimp by forming a “V” with the tips of the thumb and index finger of one hand and pressing the dough into this “V” with the index finger of your other hand. Go around the rim until the whole thing is so cute, you can barely take it.

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Get crafty with the scraps: If you’re me, the sight of the extra scraps of pie dough on the counter after you have trimmed your circle is just torture. I can never resist re-rolling mine, and using cookie cutters to make little leaves or hearts or apples and decorating the pie crust tops with them (use a little egg wash as glue). Alternately, you could skip the crimping part altogether and create a leaf wreath around the edges of your pie, but prepare to be teased, just a little, for getting so carried away, not that I’d know this from experience or anything. (Psst: I’ll still think you’re cool!)

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244 comments on pie crust 103: rolling and crimping

  1. This is very cool. I think we have the same bench scraper — Bowery Kitchen Supply?? ‘Love that place! And I like your rolling pin, too…it’s not tapered like mine.
    Very helpful tips on rolling out dough, much appreciated.
    How do your crimped edges look so darn perfect?? I guess practice paves the way…

  2. Hooray! You are a savior. I have been assigned to make pie this year for Thanksgiving and now I think I will be able to do you proud. Thanks for the excellent, inspiring work :)

  3. On the topic of COLD, I tried something that worked great for me in the hot Southern California summers (no AC in our apartment and I love berry and summer fruit pies)… I have a marble rolling pin and I stuck that in the freezer for 30 mins before rolling the dough. It sweats a bit if it’s really warm in your kitchen but just keep that flour handy and keep going – it works like a dream :) I also use my large silpat mat for rolling dough since I don’t have a pastry board and hate cleaning flour off my counter.

  4. Thank you for this! Tonight I made the dough from your pie crust 102 and it is in the fridge as I type. I will use these hints in the morning when I prepare to make the pies.

  5. Thanks for the great tips! Pastry has always been a great fear for me, your photos are great and I will definitely be using your tips in my next attempt!

    Cheers and Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family!

  6. Oooo I am so making pies for a long time after thanksgiving and christmas. If your making Pumpkin pie and you want to put little fancy cut out of pie dough on top of the filling, when should you place them on the pumpkin?????

  7. Thanks so much for doing these tutorials! They’ve been a big help! It let me know that I was doing the right thing in 102-and this one will be super helpful tomorrow when I roll out my dough!

  8. I was taught like #2 Slack and #5 Greenjello that too much flour makes the crust tough. And it does. Thats why I use a rolling canvas and pin cover, I don’t need to use as much. There is no perfect method, I guess. I’d would just like it round like yours in the picture, not looking like someone dropped a pan of wet dough from a 5th floor window to splat on the sidewalk below in a flat, uneven, sprawling blob! The only circle I could cut out of mine would be about 8 inchs in diameter! Errr..I hate pie dough. Hate it.

  9. Deb, thank you so much for your very timely pie crust posts! Your clear and fun instrucions have improved my crust making by leaps an bounds!

  10. Thanks! After reading this, I now think my problem was attempting to roll it completely flat too quickly. Your “You’re not going to get it all flat in one roll or even twenty,” hit home!

  11. I, too, am (was) afriad of making pie. Now, I’mnot afraid to try it. I’m not going to be crazy and try one for Thanksgiving, but I will do one before Xmas! I bought myself a glass pie plate. Although, I don’t have a roller, yet…

  12. You made me laugh! I love tutorials like these! Used to think I couldn’t roll out dough until I saw someone really (and I mean really!) flouring the bench… Eye-opener, up till then I had been too skimpy… since then I can roll too! Even got to advanced rolling class: raw almond paste into a disc, yay!

  13. Looks lovely.

    If you’d like, I have a picture of my pie dough made in the food processor on my blog today. All the bits of butter make such a flaky crust.

    One thing I do is stick the crust back in the fridge after it is already in the pan and crimped. That helps with shrinkage.

  14. A very nice walk-through! Thanks for this. The flour in the shaker is a fantastic idea. I just tried to make my first tart ever and it was a disaster. I think I just got too cocky. You can check it out over here.

    Cheers and happy holidays!
    Nick

  15. Help! I made the Joy of Cooking pie crusts…butter and a little bit of vegetable shortening. When I pre-bake the crusts, I fill them with foil and weights, but they shrink up miserably and when they’re done baking the crust only comes half way up the pan. I chill them before I bake them. I can’t figure out what I’m doing wrong. Please help if you can.

  16. Actually, I did make your crust recipe last night and I plan on rolling it out tonight. *grin* I’ve made an all butter crust before and it came out decently, but the rolling was the hardest part for me. So, I’m definitely looking foward to studying up on this post before waving my rolling pin around.

  17. Deb, you’ve been a life saver! My aunt is coming for Christmas this year for the first time in 20 years, and to honor the occasion I am making her favorite pie. However, it will also be my first pie and I have been a little anxious about the crust! Pecan filling I can handle, but the dough was worrying me. Thanks!

  18. Man, now I wish I were in charge of pies this year… and I second Abeer’s question – I’ve been wondering if you use a tripod and take your own photos or if Alex takes some.

  19. Thanks for posting this today, just in time. I made dough last night (for the first time!) and it’s chilling in the fridge until tonight, when I make my first attempt at rolling. I plan to fill it with the Silky Smooth Pumpkin Pie recipe you posted a few weeks ago. Your advice has been immensely helpful!

  20. Lecia — Would you believe that Alex went out to buy a video camera yesterday? Sold out! Alas, perhaps by next Thanksgiving…

    Jackie — Le Crueset outlet in Flemington, NJ like 5 years ago, actually. ;)

    Green Jello — You want to use as little flour as possible in the dough–that will make it tough. But I don’t believe in skimping on the counter. You can’t roll out a crust that sticks without creating messes, tears and gray hairs. You’re simply using that extra “dust” to create a buffer.

    Junebug — I don’t great my pie pan. But I do grease my tart pans. I suppose it is no harm if you do. I would always use butter.

    Kim — I sometimes do for more crumbly tart doughs and I did when I made the stickier vodka pie dough. And, I have a friend who is a pastry chef and says she always rolls her doughs between two pieces of plastic. So either works. I just find the flour method a little easier to get just what I want from the dough.

    Teen Chef — You can bake them on a parchment lined tray separately until they lightly brown and plop them on in maybe the last ten minutes of baking the pumpkin filling.

    Mom24 — Most pie doughs do, because they have a lot of water in them and it’s hard to avoid. Your best bet is to prick the crust all over with a fork and fully freeze it (at least 30 minutes) before you tightly press buttered foil against it and add your pie weights.

  21. One of my favorite pie crust tools ever is a huge silicone rolling mat from KingArthurFlour.com (kinda like the silpat mats, but larger). It even has measured circles in the center of it so you can easily roll out your dough to just the right size. Plus, rolling on the silicone requires less messing with flour. Doesn’t eliminate it, but it really helps. And when you go to the fold-over step the dough will peel right off, every time.

  22. If you don’t have a Silpat just roll it out on floured saran wrap, even reuse the piece you had it wrapped up in last night. So easy and everyone already has it. Plus you can easily flip it over into the pie plate from the saran.

  23. I always sprinkle my extras with a little cinnamon sugar and bake for a few cookies (that’s what my mom always did for us when we were kids).

    I love that there are people out there handmaking pie crusts. I also make mine with all butter and then people say, “OH, how do you do it, your crusts are so good, what brand do you buy.” When when I say I make them (with my grandmother’s recipe) they give me a hard time about it (Oh, it’s so much easier to buy, making it is too hard, etc. etc).

  24. All that extra flour for rolling gets absorbed into the dough. Using waxed paper or parchment paper (or a silicone rolling mat) preserves the original ratios of flour/water/fat that you worked so hard to create in the first place.

  25. Thanks for this. I am confused by one thing. What is the difference between a pie crust and a tart shell? I always thought it was the same thing, just cooked in different shaped pans. But it seems you are giving us separate recipes. Also, what do you do if your kitchen counter is always so dirty and cluttered that you can’t roll out dough on it? Well, maybe you can’t help with that.

  26. My problem is that my dough always cracks when I try to roll it into a circle. So, the crack will start early on and when I’m done, I’ll have a break, like a triangle coming out. How do you fix that? Is it how I make my dough? Or am I pushing too hard when I roll? Thanks so much!

  27. Another use for the extra dough is what my family calls pie crust kisses. Gather the scraps, form another ball and roll it back out, perferably in a rectangle. Then spread a thin layer of butter over the dough. Sprinkle brown sugar and cinnammon on top and then roll the dough up like cinnammon rolls. Slice the roll and place spirals on cookie sheet. Bake until golden.

  28. I’m glad your posts are giving everyone the courage to make their own pie crusts. When I learned that people could actually BUY pie crusts I thought that was the strangest thing in the world. My mom has always made hers from scratch so I guess it never scared me!

  29. I think my favorite part of this tutorial is not the clips from The Office (HILARIOUS), nor the extremely helpful tips, not the way Deb knows what questions will be asked and tries to anticipate problems, not even the way she’s meticulously organized her thoughts and put them out there after what I’m guessing are dozens of trials and experiments with pie-making. Nope. My favorite part is reading the people who insist not that there are other equally good ways to do roll out dough, but that Deb is actually fundamentally wrong in suggesting we flour things enough to make them not sticky. I think that’s about the funniest thing going on here.

    Yes, it changes the ratio a tiny bit – but since this is Deb’s recipe and her suggesting you add flour, I would think that just maybe she’s worked out that recipe so it can take the flour and not be gross or tough or taste wrong or whatever the too much flour argument is.

  30. Deb, thanks so much for this tutorial… I avoid pie crusts at all costs because of the rolling out. In fact, my grandmother’s apple pie recipe uses a great flaky, butter crust, but instead of rolling it out, you just press it into the bottom of the pie plate, leaving enough over th edge to crimp. The crust is always flaky and delicious without all of the hard work.

  31. thanks for this, deb! I used my leftover dough scraps just last night to make a mini apple galette. turned out great!

    When I roll, mine never look as nice as your picture. I always get big huge fissures. But I’ve learned not to panic. I just take a scrap from the edge and “glue” it into the tear with a little water, sprinkle with more flour and roll.

  32. thank you so much for this tutorial. the way you crimp the edges makes so much sense. i might actually be able to do that. can’t wait to try it out on the piecrust i’ll make tonight. hopefully, it will impress my family.

  33. My family always liberally sprinkled the extra crust scraps with cinnamon sugar and tossed them in the oven to brown up. Very tasty little snack while you’re waiting on the pie to come out! And thanks for the recipe!

  34. so helpful thanks!
    my mother used to take the scraps re-roll them butter them generously, sprinkle on cinnamon and sugar, roll them up and cut them into bite size pieces and then bake for 8-10 min for crispy littel cinamon roll-ups. they’re SO good i sometimes buy pie dough just to make those.

  35. My husband comes from generations of women defined solely by their pie making capabilities. Self esteem comes in a pie tin.
    Not to rub it in anyones faces or anything…but everyone agreed my pie was the best.

  36. I agree with Keith. I prefer to roll pie dough between layers of plastic wrap, wax paper or mats so I don’t need to add a lot of flour. Mainly because mistakes made while rolling directly on a table/board can cause you to have to re-roll and overwork the dough. I learned this method from the Pie & Pastry Bible and have never gone back to rolling directly on a board. I just cut out the possibility by rolling between lightly floured layers of plastic wrap and I look forward to making pie crust now. Weird!

  37. My mom always makes “crust cookies” with the excess – just rolls them into circles and sprinkles cinnamon and sugar on top!

    I have fond my inspiration to make my own crust from you. My mocha pecan pie is in the oven now. The crust collapsed into my pie a little bit (SAD!) but I care more about taste than presentation anyways!

  38. One time… I tried to make pie crust. An hour later I found myself at the store resorting to the Pillsbury roll out kind. Thanks for the lesson, I may actually attempt it again!

  39. Blasphemy! Extra pie dough ALWAYS goes toward pie dough cookies! It wouldn’t be a pie making afternoon without some of those!

    Pie Dough Cookies:

    Extra pie dough rolled out extra thin
    cinnamon & sugar

    Fork the pie dough and generously spread cinnamon & sugar mixture on top. Bake at 350 degrees until crispy and lightly browned.

    Absolutely one of the best “leftovers” one can make!

  40. The best trick I have learned so far is to roll our the dough between 2 pieces of parchment (still use some flour on both sides). Roll patiently, and lift the paper a few times to make sure it’s not sticking. It also makes for easy plate transfer and has put the kabosh on — most of — my pie crust fears.

  41. @ Amberoni: Thank you. I was thinking the exact same thing when I read Keith’s comment. Other recipe’s I’ve seen call for 1/4-1/3 cup more flour then Deb’s recipe which leads me to think that her recipe is more apt to absorb flour without getting tough. If it’s working for her and the pie’s are delicious then why mess with success? The entire point of this pie crust 101-103 was to lessen the dishes we have to do to get a great pie. Adding a silpat mat just increases the dishes.

    The only piece of equipment I would add to this preparation would be a pastry brush to get all the clinging flour off the crust once it’s rolled out. I find it gets more flour off then just my hand. Blowing the flour off makes me look like I just survived a dust storm.

  42. I’ll second #37 on the silicone pie mat. For years I used a Tupperware plastic mat with circles marked on it that my mom got back in the 70’s or 80’s. It was good, but you had to weigh down the corners with tuna cans because it was rolled and didn’t lay flat. The silicone mats, though, are awesome! The dough doesn’t stick much and it makes cleanup a breeze. For me, cleanup is the worst part of baking :-) I roll my dough the same way you do. I use plenty of flour and have never had tough crusts. I agree that the best tip for rolling pie crust is patience. Take your time and don’t try to roll too fast and it will minimize any cracking or tearing. Oh, and my mom also make crust cookies. Moms are good about not letting anything go to waste.

  43. My mom always used the excess crust to spread strawberry jam over it and bake it separately. Yum! Cinnamon and sugar sounds good also.

  44. woo-hoo!! thank you. of course the crimping and all was so simple, but without someone to show me, it was awful hard to think of it myself. maybe i will make a pie for thanksgiving……………

  45. Thank you, thank you, thank you!!!!!! I just made the best pie crust of my life this morning, all thanks to YOU. Being generous with the flour, and light of touch with the rolling pin totally did the trick.

    Happy Thanksgiving!

    P.S. I just ate the scraps raw…pathetic, but delicious!

  46. OK, I confess to lurking out here for over a year without saying a darn thing and taking advantage of your site probably at least once a week. But now after 25 years of half assed attempts I just made two perfect pie crusts and a top. Seriously, you’re awesome! Thank you!

  47. What do you do if your pie dough cracks horribly when you’re rolling it out? I used the vodka recipe in Pie Crust 101, followed all your tips for rolling out (which were great – no sticking!), but had a pretty crumbly crust with huge cracks. I had to do quite a bit of patching…is there a better way?

    And here I thought the vodka pie dough was supposed to be sticky – hmph!

  48. you have almost everything right…you’re supposed to sprinkle cinnamon & sugar on the extra dough scraps and bake them separately as a treat for being such a magnificent pie-baker!!

  49. A couple of comments/questions:
    1. I just baked the CI vodka pie crust but used 16 tablespoons of butter instead of 12 tablespoons of butter and 8 of shortening. It was lovely, but the first crust I made shrunk miserably and couldn’t hold much of the nutmeg-maple cream pie filling I made. For the second crust, I rolled it out, froze it, put it in the pie dish, crimped it, RE-froze it, froze my cooking weights, froze my tin foil…and….only a teensy bit of the crust pulled back. So…yay me!
    2. I wasn’t sure where to post this question because it references the aforementioned nutmeg-maple cream pie: I made this last year with great success, but….I don’t know….maybe I’m being crazy but I’m terrified that it’s not cooked all the way through! How can I tell? Would it be blasphemy to put it back in the oven for 15 minutes or something (by the time anyone responds to this the pie will surely be cooled).

  50. If you run into cracks and tears, patching is just fine. I do it too! Just not in this picture-perfect instance.

    Hi Elizabeth — If the nutmeg-maple tart feels a bit firm and only jiggles a little when moved, it is done. Anything less, I don’t see any harm in re-baking it some more.

    Pie crusts shrink terribly, unfortunately–it is because there is so much water in them. The foil/freezing method seems to help a lot, so go you!

  51. I tried your recipe for pie crust without the sugar for a meat pie last night. It turned out great! I saw Ina Garten make pie crust for her Chicken Pot Pie and rolled it out like she did (which I now see is also your way of rolling). What really surprised me was how much EASIER it was to make your own pie crust than to roll out the pre-done pie crust from the freezer section at the grocery. Somehow the predone one thawed too much or not enough or something. It always stuck and broke up for me. I thought I was a total failure at pie crusts until now. Thank you so much for the instructions and encouragement. This opens a new chapter in cooking for me.

  52. THANK YOU!!! this was so helpful, and i’ve just pulled a beautiful pie out of the oven, and the little leaves that i made out of the scraps, well, one just wasn’t quite right, so i was forced to eat it, and it was delicious! i always thought that i didn’t like pie crust, but i was wrong! i just don’t like bad pie crust, and this is wonderful! HAPPY THANKSGIVING, and many thanks to you, Deb.

  53. Thank you Thank you for helping me feel okay about coming back to butter. I, too, was swayed by the experts and have been using shortening in my crusts lately. Blech. Plus, I noticed at least for me, the shortening crusts tended to get too dark. So burned, icky tasting crusts–what is the point? I ate a piece of pumpkin pie tonight with your butter crust recipe and it is so good. The crust is actually worth eating again! Thanks again!

  54. Ok! I did it your way with my crusts today. SUCCESS! It worked like a charm and they didn’t turn out tough. Nothing stuck and my crust was round! I baked some scraps separately and they were flakey and tender. Thanks, Deb. Sorry I was such a doubting Thomas earlier! That’ll teach me not to be a big know-it-all.. maybe.;)

  55. Constant reader of your blog, rarely comment, but today I could not resist

    Thanks to you, I had my very first pie profanity-free! I had very little hope, because I’ve tried so many “fool=proof” recipes, methods, tips, advice…. nothing worked.

    Finally today, I made a pie dough using ALL your advice – and it worked like a charm! I almost cried (literally) – it was too much emotion on a Thanksgiving morning… :-)

    We will not cut the pie until after dinner, of course, but I KNOW it will be the best ever – you would be proud of your teaching skills if you could see how cute the crimped edges look – and I DID IT MYSELF!!!!!!

    Thank you, thank you, thank you!!!!

  56. Any good pie starts with a homemade crust, not worth eating the store bought ones. I made cranberry pie for Thanksgiving, a great way to convert people to being cranberry eaters!
    I’ve always used Crisco- not opposed to butter, just never tried it. And I don’t know what I would do without my pastry cloth and rolling pin cover.

  57. Okay so I made a pie crust today after many years of being conditioned into think that no one will notice if you use those ones that come rolled up in a refrigerated box. I followed your instructions to the letter and into my pie went Shaker (Meyer) Lemon pie filling that had macerated for the requisite number of hours. The filling was not a huge hit. I enjoyed it, but I think my family prefers the lemon pie sans the “grown up” lemon flavor. I was told, however, that the crust was “awesome.” And I couldn’t agree more. I swear to never again buy a store bought pie crust barring an extreme pie emergency situation. Thank you.

  58. P.S. I thought you might also like to know that I decorated the top of my pie with these ridiculously labor intensive leaves that I made by hand after going into a desperate panic Thanksgiving morning over not having any tiny cookie cutters and sending the boy out to the Wal-Mart where there were also no tiny cookie cutters.

  59. I don’t know if anybody has said this yet (it’s a little tedious to go through 83 comments at 12:05 and I have 8am classes the next day), but am I the only one too weak to roll out dough that came straight from the fridge? I actually had to *let* mine warm up to at a little below room temp in order for me to roll it out without dying. No joke. I’d do it standing up so I can put the majority of my weight on it, and it just doesn’t work. :(

  60. I never thought of the folding in quarters trick! I was taught to drape it over the rolling pin, as you mentioned. and that’s fine, but I love the idea of trimming it after the fold. Will definitely try that at Christmas. Thanks!

    You said to share with you, so here are pumpkin chiffon, pecan, and mud from my house:

  61. oh heck! Now I’m a blog-stalker! I meant to ask — don’t you make a sugar pie with your scraps? (I mean after the fun designs, of course) We always make a sugar pie or baby cinnamon rolls at our house with the extras. Part of the fun of having extra crust!

  62. Thank you. Thank you.
    This has been printed, laminated, hole punched and placed in my everyday cooking/recipe notebook…. along with pie crust 101 and 102 :)

  63. I made two pies using this and they were great. The crust was reminiscent of puff pastry. I have long used the roll-between-waxed-paper method but wanted to find a way to avoid the paper because one piece of waxed paper is never as long as the crust needs to be wide, and it just turns into a PITA. The trick is indeed plenty of flour and turn, turn, turn.

  64. Thank you for posting a pie crust w/just butter! Shortening grosses me out! I made this recipe for my pumpkin pies on Thanksgiving. I followed the instructions from Cooks Illustrated to prebake the crust (baked @ 400 for 15 min w/weights, remove weights & foil, bake for 8-10 more min), but the end product was too crunchy for my preference. Do you have any tips on how to prebake this crust? Thanks!

  65. I made the 2008 Cook’s Illustrated pumpkin pie with their vodka crust after reading your reviews (now I see that you back to an all-butter crust, but the vodka tasted pretty good to me). I did, however, have my crust shrink WAY down when I pre-baked the shell. What am I doing wrong? I also used your no-shrink tart crust and that one came out perfectly but I ended up having to buy a second store-bought pie crust for my pumpkin because I had tons of filling and an itty bitty crust. Please share your secrets!

  66. I generally do not prebake my pie crusts. The purpose of this is to keep them crisp once baked with a wet filling, like pumpkin or apple or whatnot. (A little softness never bothers me in double-crust pies.) Of course, I’m not in the kitchen with you so I cannot say what is going “wrong”–most likely, nothing at all–but I would definitely skip the prebaking if you’re finding the end result too crispy/crunchy. It is probably just not to your liking.

  67. I’ve been baking pies for years and I learned something from your post. I incorporated a few tips (like using a tart pan bottom to judge the size of the rolled out crust and flouring liberally before rolling out) and found them to take my crusts to the next level. Thanks, as usual, for your delightful combo of information, beautiful photos and great writing.

  68. I just wanted to thank you for inspiring me not to food-process my dough ingredients. For my first-ever Thanksgiving pie (blueberry), I whipped out that pastry cutter and was rewarded with a perfectly elastic dough that baked into a gorgeously flaky crust. My tough-to-please in-laws descended on that pie like the proverbial locusts.

  69. I made this dough about 5 days ago for Thanksgiving, but I was foiled by my brother bringing TWO pies to the table (apple AND pecan!)…so I kept the dough for something else. Well, I couldn’t imagine making a whole pie so I combined the idea of your Bourbon peach hand pies with my own filling (fig jam and walnuts). I wasn’t sure if it was going to work…but it did!! The pie dough is AMAZING and it worked quite well as a hand pie. So, thanks for a fabulous recipe and method. It was my first time making pie crust too!

  70. My favorite part of the whole tutorial is your direction to “Go around the rim until the whole thing is so cute, you can barely take it.” I was raised believing the shortening myth and I’m excited to try the all butter crust next time! Shortening is totally creepy, it just makes sense.

  71. Thank you for demystifying how to create the ideal pie dough!

    Pie-related question: If pie isn’t going to be eaten immediately — e.g., I’m baking two lattice-work pies tonight (cherry and apple) to be consumed tomorrow morning and afternoon, respectively — once they’re done baking, should I refrigerate the pies once they cool completely? Or should I just leave them out on a table and cover them with wax paper?

  72. Fruit pies don’t usually need refrigeration, so keeping them at room temperature should be fine for a day or even more. I actually leave mine uncovered or just topped with a cake dome; I like to keep them as crisp as possible and that can be hard when they’re wrapped, trapping in moisture.

  73. I rolled my dough out with a pastry cloth and rolling pin cover. It worked perfectly! Shrunk a bit when prebaked, but I know what I did wrong. Thanks for organizing your site so well. It’s my favorite!

  74. I made my first rhubarb pie with this recipe. Turned out great! (I think the dough ended up a little more chewy than I would’ve liked, but I may have added too much flour or overmixed…..i’m going to try the recipe again soon.) Your blog is absolutely wonderful. It’s the first blog I check when looking for recipes. Keep up the good work!

  75. I was always too aggressive when rolling which generated heat. So now I relax and take it easy, along with generous bench flour and requisite turning. I have done much better with my crusts with practice. I’ve kept at it throughout the summer, and Sweet Potato Pie is on deck for the upcoming week.

  76. I came to print your chocolate pudding pie and looked for an apple. Last night the snoring man in my bed asked me to make an apple pie this coming weekend without knowing I have chocolate planned. Read through your pie tutorials…really good advice. Funny people in the comments. It takes practice to keep the pie crust skills in good shape so mine are really rusty. I cleaned out my Mom’s kitchen cabinets and pulled out the shoe boxes of recipes last Saturday. A lot of pies in there….the Dear Abby pecan was in there twice as a lot of others, state fair recipes and the phone call written on note paper usually with the phone number on the sheet too so instead of Aunt Irene it was her phone number. What was funny was the two competing cafeteria’s cracker pies…one used saltine crackers and one used graham but everything else the same. So pie is in my future. You can add me to the crazy commentors ;)

  77. thanks for the tutorials! I have a question concerning the crimping: I crimp the shell and even let it rest in the fridge a bit, but it still loses its shape. does that means I overworked it or that I let it warm up too much?

  78. YOU are a God-send. Thank you for all your great advice and step-by-step instructions. Maybe someday I will make a great pie, maybe even today!

  79. Christina, I have had the same problem for 40 years. The crimping fades away. I always hope it will stand up straight. Some pies have been worse than others. But, I did not let that discourage me and my pies are very tasty. Anyone have an idea how to prevent the crimping from disappearing?

  80. Yesterday evening I brought two balls of pre-made Cheddar Crust (from Martha: http://www.marthastewart.com/recipe/cheddar-crust) to a friend’s apartment to make her Apple Pie with Cheddar Crust (highly recommend) for dessert. My friend didn’t have flour or a rolling pin, so we improvised by putting out large sheets of plastic wrap on the counter and on top of the dough and rolling it out with a wine bottle. I found this incredibly easy and neat (no extra flour) and there was the extra benefit of simply being able to lift the saran wrap, place it on the pie pan and peel it off (no sticking to the counter, etc). just a tip – i might use it at home and skip the flour from now on!

  81. Hi Deb! :)
    I love your website and I am proud to say that I made my first pie crust dough using your tutorial :) but I’m very nervous to roll it out tomorrow! eeek

    Do you roll the dough out in its frozen state? or after it’s been frozen after making then refrigerated for a while?

    Thank you for the amazing tips, photos, stories, and recipes! :)

    1. You’ll probably find a frozen pie crust impossible to roll. You can roll it out after it has been defrosted (but is still firm from the fridge) — about a day in the fridge should do the trick.

  82. Hey Deb…
    You and your baby son are adorable.
    As a new gramma (2 beautiful babies born to my daughter in the same year) I can almost smell him…your photos are that good.
    2 of my fav things in life are good food & people with sharing spirits who lace their recipes & stories with humor.
    Experience in the kitchen makes you good….until then, your only as good as your tools.
    Get a silicone mat…from pie dough to pizza dough or pasta, the mat makes everything easy, especially for beginners.
    Edie

  83. thanks for this tutorial – My mother always bought her pie crust because she simply could not roll it out – I always craved the delicious kind of crusts my aunties made – this is my second time using this tutorial (102 and 103) my pie crust has been absolutely perfect both times -THANK YOU! p.s. I believe in butter too :)

  84. My pie scraps always result in “sugar daddies”. I roll them out, spread with butter and sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar. Then roll it up and slice into little wheels. They were the best part of pie making when I was little! :)

  85. Wow, pure genius. I have been making pies for at least 10 years. I am all about butter only. I had less than flaky results previously. But this worked out marvelously! Thanks so much. I have conquered the long feared pie crust! :)

  86. Help ,,I love making my own pie shells , my problem is they want to tear apart when I’m rolling them out so i end up trying to reshape & roll again and even putting them in fridg although recipe doesn’t call for it ,,,most of the time I chunk them & start all over I have done this 3 times in one day ,,,just did not want to give up,until one came out rite !
    Has anyone had this problem or kno what causes this ?
    I put Pinto Beans over Alum Foil & I have never had a problem w/shrinkage
    HAPPY HOLIDAYS !

  87. Perhaps melting the butter to seperate it from the solids which has the moisture in it then putting it back in the frig to harden would eliminate more moisture.
    Also I am thinking that technique has more to do with how the crust turns out than the ingredients. My recipe always turns out very flakey and I get raves all the time and they want to know how I get it so flakey. My recipe rolls out really easy too. I don’t chill my dough after stirring it up either. And it is easy to handle once rolled out. I fold it in quarters or roll it up onto the rolling pin and transfer to the pie plate. I think your recipe might roll better if not chilled first. Just my thoughts on this subject. My recipe? 3 cups flour, 1 teaspoon salt, 1 1/4 cups fat of some type, butter, shortening, lard etc. I have to cut back a little if I use lard. Also I render my own lard. Don’t like the preservatives in the store bought. Mix 1 T vinegar with 5 T water and 1 egg. Add to dry just till combined. Roll out.

  88. A comment about working surfaces. I buy white drapery lining that has a vinyl or plastic side and the other side is cloth. I put it through the laundry then cut it into a large square like 20×20 or whatever size you want. I like the extra space. I sprinkle it with flour then roll my dough out on the cloth side. When I am done I fold it and put it inside a zip lock bag to keep it clean and bug free. After a few uses it gets almost to the point that I do not need to add so much flour. I have done this for many years. Works great for pie crusts, biscuits, bread etc.

  89. thank you for the detailed instructions! the pictures were very helpful. I love butter crust but had never gotten it to work out quite right before. I was close…and your article showed me where I needed to make changes!

    thank you!

  90. I have to second everyone on the silicone mat thing. Useful for short-term storage too–just roll up the dough in the mat. Also, I find that a cheapo pizza wheel is useful for cutting dough precisely.

  91. OH MAH GOD!!!! I finally managed to roll out a pie and put it in the pie pan without screaming, tears or having to restart over again because the stupid pie crust wouldn’t move off the cutting board! Or had to take the whole dough and punch it into the pan because I’d overworked it. Thank you thank you thank you deb! Off to go cook your peach pie with creme fraiche for a labor day cookout.

  92. A little trick I learned making these every day in a retaurant.

    You want to apply pressure away from the center. As you push forward only apply pressure past the halfway point. As you roll back only apply pressure as you get to the closer half.

    This is why people are sticking to the table. Don’t put extra flour.

  93. The last time I made pie crust was with my mom who came to Germany to visit me and teach me to cook. That was also the first time. Now 26 years later, and no pies in the oven, I came across your recipe for crust. I tried it – this was SO easy and tasted wonderful and very flaky! I’ve made 2 so far and today I’m making more. Thank you for such a wonderful tutorial!

  94. I was watching Dorie Greenspan on video on a Food52 demo help Amanda and Merrill do a pie crust. I thought it worth mentioning how she snugs the crust into the pie plate. Once the dough is centered in the pie plate, gently lift and PUSH the dough to snug it into the plate from the edge of the dough toward the center of the plate to shape it. Take your time so you don’t leave an air pocket between the dough and the pie plate as you work it in. Stretching the dough to snug down pulls the gluten in the flour and makes it want to shrink back from where it was stretched while it’s baking. Pushing it IN from the edge keeps the gluten loose so that it has room to expand UP as the steam is created by the water in the dough to form the flakiness. It’s especially important if you are baking an unfilled crust.

    1. Susan — Funny, I prefer draping it in so that it lays comfortably against the sides. I think I saw Ina Garten do this one. It ensures no pulling, too. I just keep lifting the overhang and slipping more of it in until I know there’s enough, then I’ll gently press it in. Now that I reread your comment, it’s probably the same thing!

  95. I just stumbled on your blog today and I already want to hug you. I’m just three years into owning my own house (and therefore, kitchen) and love experimenting there. I try to make all my food “the old fashioned way” and pie is no exception. My grandma gave me her recipe….with Crisco. I knew I hated Crisco for it’s artificiality but I bought some anyways. Got home, opened it up….and couldn’t bring myself to sink a spoon into that gross white muck. I found an all butter recipe and started making it…it’s okay, but not great. Your tutorials on pie crust is exactly the way I think all food should be…and your tutorials are perfect for those of us who are self teaching from the internet instead of Grandma or Mom. I can’t wait to try the new techniques this week!!!

  96. Deb,
    I love the pie crust tutorials, so helpful. I’ve got a question about lattice work though (that in the past I’ve tended to avoid like the plague). Your post on how to make a lattice crust – the apple pie – was really great, but you post about using a crust specific to making lattice crust. I am also an all-butter crust gal, and the thought of using shortening is, uh, gross to me. Is there a significant difference/reason to defer to the less-butter more-crisco option? I’ll do it, but only if you say so. Thanks!

  97. I had GREAT success with the all-butter crust (avoiding the compromise of my baking dignity that was bound to happen if I used shortening), thank you!
    I love the idea of apple, salted caramel, all baked in a butter crust (ahem ahem). You are indeed a busy woman, though, so I suppose it can wait.

  98. Yay! I’m so excited for a butter crust. I’m making pies for my in-laws for the first time, and my mother-in-law of course has always made perfect pies. Only this year she is on a super natural kick and won’t touch shortening with a 39 1/2 foot pole. So of course she’s very distraught, and we’ll have to see what she comes up with. My sis-in-law refuses to give in, and bought Crisco for the occasion anyway. But now I’m going to show up with a deliciously flaky all natural pie! I can’t wait to keep following your blog from now on!

  99. Awesome! This is similar to a recipe I used years and years ago. Then I went through dark times…breaking, sticking dough. I consulted my mother-in-law, and she gave me good pointers – don’t be afraid to add more water, roll edges and stick to tin… but still wasn’t quite right. I saw this and tried it again on a surface, no pie cloth and it was BEAUTIFUL! For the first time, I folded it and was done in minutes. I will never again do food processor, or any other recipe. Thank you both!

  100. Long-time reader, first time commenter. I adore your blog and tell everyone I know who likes good food/wonderful things to read it.

    I know this is a silly question, and I probably just missed something really obvious, but for how long and at what temperature should I bake the crust itself, on its own, before baking it again later with the filling?

    1. Joanne — That’s only necessary if you wish to par-bake the pie shell. (I generally don’t bother.) Usually, you’re looking for anywhere from 20 to 35 minutes, filled with weights, at 375.

  101. I just made a pie crust according to your 102 instructions and rolled it out according to these instructions and it was the MOST. SUCCESSFUL. PIE CRUST I have EVER made. It didn’t stick to the surface! It held together! I didn’t have to puzzle it together in the pan like a sad, pathetic mosaic! You have changed Thanksgiving FOREVER.

  102. Hi Deb, I’ve made your crust a few times with mostly success – it is indeed flaky and all it should be, and garners compliments. No more storebought for me, butter all the way.

    However – I’ve had a recurrent problem: when I go to bake the crust, the sides slide down the pan midway through baking, and any nice edging I’ve done goes to waste. It doesn’t seem to be shrinkage, since I can pull the crust back up (and I tend to use 1.5 of a recipe for a single crust, as I like it thick, so there’s definitely enough dough to go around). I’m working cold and fast, I think, and this happens whether I freeze the crust or not. Any ideas?

  103. I have had the same problem as Julie (the commenter above me) a couple of times. When I make double-crusted fruit pies, it turns out beautifully… but when I try to do a single crust pie where I pre-bake the crust (pumpkin, chocolate cream, butterscotch), it almost always slumps down. The taste of the flaky, all-butter crust is PERFECT (I think I counted 12 layers of flakes once), but HOW do I solve this problem?? I followed the directions on this page and on the pumpkin pie recipe… at this point, I think I will resort to leaving a good amount of overhang rather than having my crust flush to the edges.

    1. All pie doughs (and pastry doughs with water in them) shrink a bit when parbaked because the water bakes off. There are methods that help hold more of their shape. First, I’m assuming you’re using pie weights but if you aren’t, that’s the method most people use to get them to keep their shape. I also like a second method of freezing the dough in its pan, buttering a piece of foil, pressing that tightly against the dough and parbaking it directly from the freezer (like so). But there will still be some shrinkage, just less.

  104. Deb –

    I’ve always shied away from my own crusts but this is totally inspiring. I have just sent your 102 to a good friend lamenting that she would run herself through if forced to use shortening for another crust. Not only have you shown pure brilliance, you have saved a life. Or something like that… :-)

  105. Long running discussion, late to the party, but wanted to say I have had good luck rolling on saran wrap over granite counter, another layer on top. On rare occasions near holidays you can find wider saran wrap so I always stock up just for pie making. Also I use a french rolling pin–sounds counterintuitive because it isnt cylindrical, but it works and you can use the end to work parts of the crust to keep it round. Also then not necessary to use a lot of flour or turn the crust while rolling.

  106. deb. my pie is still baking (blackberry). but you and tutorial made it the easiest experience of my life. now i want to make pie everyday. thank you thank you thank you for joining me in my kitchen.

  107. THANK. YOU.

    I have been looking everywhere for a good step-by-step, includes pictures pie crust guide. NO one ever tells you what exactly “like coarse breadcrumbs” or “until dough just binds” really means. I am a pretty avid baker but I have been terrified of pie crusts – the batch that is waiting to bake looks like it might be the best yet. I really appreciate the time you took to give us this handy help – I’ll be coming back soon! :)

    -Hannah

  108. Like Susan, I’m way late to the party here. I’ve been making pies for years. No fear. As a kid when my mother used to make pies, she’d roll out the scraps, spread them with jam, roll it jelly roll style and cut them into 1″ jelly roll cookies which I think we loved even more than the pies.

    Over the years I have used pastry cloths, marble pastry boards, granite, etc. My current favorite rolling method is to chill the disk of dough, sprinkle a little flour on a sheet of waxed paper, center the dough, sprinkle a little flour on top and cover with another sheet of waxed paper. Then I roll away, turning the “waxed paper sandwich” every few strokes. I can see though the waxed paper so if there is a break, I can mend it right away. No sticking and while I might occasionally peel back the paper and add a bit more flour, this method uses far less flour than other methods, producing a very tender crust. It’s also easier to lift the crust to re chill and to place in the pie plate with the waxed paper.

  109. I’m pretty new to making pie crust. My last few tries, I’ve used your “all butter” pie crust recipe, and it’s delicious! But I’ve run into a problem every time I’ve used it for actual pies (rather than mini pies or pop tarts or whatnot):

    The crust is always horribly tough! I feel bad having to give my guests a knife to cut through their pie with – pie should not need knives! It’s usually just the outer layer of the crust that gets so hard to cut. What am I doing wrong? Not rolling it out thin enough? Not keeping the dough cold enough? Should I be greasing the pie plate?

  110. I think I have the same problem as Sara – a “tough” crust. I don’t think I overworked the dough at all, but I’ll have to try again to see….

  111. Soooo, just blend flour and butter together so theres pieces of butter and then chill, then add water…how do I know if I’ve overworked it? Will the dough be…doughy? Or more like…a stiff kind of dough…no one has ever taught me how to make a pie so I’m learning this the hard way apperently…

  112. Hi Deb,

    Just a quick problem that I have with pie crusts. First of all, your recipe is the best by far. Still, I have the same problem with all crusts, sometime they seem to unfold in the oven and then I have this massive oozing crust coming down the sides of the pie pan. Any suggestions? I’ve already tried egg washes, and freezing it but I still have this problem.

    Thanks!

  113. I know you’ve converted many a poor soul with these tutorials, but just one more to chime in and say that I’m eternally grateful for 102 and 103. My in-laws will be SO impressed. :) I had a bit of a revelation- I use a natural-bristle paint brush to brush off excess flour when I’m making lefse, and I used that on my rolled-out pie crust tonight– worked like a charm! Happy Thanksgiving!

  114. A quick note for people having problems with large slicks of melted butter. I park my pie crust in the pie pan for 15 minutes in the refrigerator before I bake it. Alton Brown says that it helps the starch set up, so that when the fat melts you’re left with flakes instead of a greasy mess.

  115. I make pies ALL the time, but have always done the Crisco crust for savory pies. I was told that this is just the only way to make pie crust… Never second-guessed that. I have no clue why, I am in love with butter and hate working with the Crisco. Today I looked for my Crisco and I was out! With no time for groceries, and then 102 and 103 magically appeared on my iPad… This was seriously the best chicken pot pie I have ever made. For once in my life, no piecing sticky pieces of crust together to make patches. I am in heaven. I love you.

  116. First time pie crust maker here! The dough is chilling in the fridge as I write this. The amount of water called for was a little much and made my dough somewhat wet and soupy, but a little extra flour worked in seemed to do the trick. We’ll see – in the form of peach custard.

  117. I love your pie crust recipe, but it’s this post that has really helped me make peace with pie crust. I’ve never seen anything else with such clear instructions and useful, but not overwhelming detail. Thanks Deb!

  118. Thanks for the tips! I have made pie crusts many times and you’re right, I always get through it, but I think some of these are going to make it even easier. Shhh don’t tell my mom, she’ll think she didn’t teach me well enough. :P

  119. Ok folks. To help roll out, use a kitchen trash bag that has been cut and sandwich the dough between and roll. Little flour needed and you can flip it into the pie pan easily

  120. a question – can i roll out the pie dough, place in the (in my case mini-) pie pans, and then freeze them so i can fill them later? Making a home-made version of those pre-made frozen pie crusts? I’m trying to space out tasks for a major food-making feast… Plus the idea of having pre-made, home-made pie crusts just waiting to be filled is too good!

  121. Growing up, my mom always used up the pie crust scraps by rolling them into a log with sugar and cinnamon inside, cutting them up like itty bitty cinnamon rolls, and baking them for just a bit next to the pie. She called them kisses – they were effective at assuaging our impatience when we had to wait until after dinner to cut into the pie. :)

  122. ladies! since we are all sharing kitchen secrets – 2 sheets of baking paper do the trick for lazy people like me. allows you to roll the pastry ridiculously thin, if desired, and saves you from accidentally incorporating too much flour. plus saves a whole lot of cleaning.
    especially comes in handy when dealing with pâte sucrée and all the fussy french pastries – that stuff usually just refuses not to tear/stick/deform/stay cool when rolling it and transforming to the form.

  123. After reading the majority of responses, it seems I am the only one who nearly had a grease fire in my oven due to dripping butter! I’m assuming I didn’t use the pastry blender long enough……………….

  124. The crust came out really super chewy! What did I do wrong? It did taste good though. I can’t wait to try it again. :)

  125. Maybe someone could come up with some type of plastic, vinyl, telflon, whatever, into the size of 12″ diameter, that you can dump the round ball of dough into, smash it down and roll it out into the shape with no problem. Maybe what, .25 inch in thickness, maybe .50. I keep imagining its maybe cloth that gets zipped on the entire circle. Rolling it out will tend to push dough through other means maybe. Cloth with plastic inserts to easily take out and slap into a pan.

    Question: Say, I just took the mass of dough out of the refrigerator after so many hours. Instead of rolling the dough, could one take pieces of dough and smash it all around the ~iced~ pie plate, not too chunky, but not too smooth, until it covers the entire pie plate? Just a thought, I could be wrong. Thanks.

  126. Wow. These tips are so useful – the dough rolls out perfectly and without sticking at all. Thank you SO MUCH for making baking easy, fun, and not scary. Oh, and delicious.

  127. I found an old episode of The Master Chef with Julia Child and her technique for rolling out pie dough was to avoid going off the edges of the dough; roll to about 1/2 inch from the edge, then turn the dough and roll in the opposite direction. It helped prevent the dough from getting all wonky-shaped. I tried it last night and it really helps. Your advice to keep the board floury was very good-it solved the problem I always had of the dough sticking.

  128. What a sweetie you are to provide this help for the cooking challenged.
    My hope for the younger generation is inspired by your attention to preserve traditional home cooking.

    God Bless.

    (PS I might try again this year but after decades of failed crusts….., yes! I will do it!)

  129. Just saw Alton Brown’s Good Eats episode entitled “I, Pie”. I love his tip for transferring rolled pie dough. His technique totally removes rolled pied dough tranfer problems and really simplifies the process. Once done rolling on wax paper, flour the dough, place a chilled pie tin bottom down on the dough, using two hands flip both over together. The dough is now draped over the bottom of the upside down pie tin. Peal off wax paper, place a second chilled pie tin upside down nesting it over the dough draped over the first upside down pie tin. Keep them together while you flip the nested pie tins over, press firmly thus shaping the crust nicely into the pie tin. Remove top pie tin revealing the perfectly placed pie dough in your pie tin now ready for your pie filling.

  130. That’s what she said! Totally love that you have someone in your house that cannot refrain from quoting Michael Scott for everything!

  131. I have been so excited about my pie crusts all day today (Thanksgiving day). I LOVE pie but rarely make it because the pie crust makes me want to cry. My mom has poor blood circulation so her hands are always cold and she makes the best pie crust that I could never duplicate. This was a completely different result but it tasted and looked great. It turned out very much like puff pastry. I made the crust at midnight last night and had the dough all wrapped up in plastic wrap to put in the fridge for the morning but accidently left it out on the table all night. I chilled the dough this morning before rolling it out. It rolled out so easily and quickly and didn’t stick (I used plenty of flour and brushed the excess off with a pastry brush). I rolled it much thinner than I am usually able to but it puffed up while baking, with loads of flakey layers. I made two pumpkin pies that turned out great and an apple pie. The apple pie had a funny accident. I didn’t trim off enough around the edge and made the edge very thick, and while it was baking the edge melted and dripped down the side of the pan. The pie turned out picture perfect except it looked like it had melted- very funny. And everyone was fighting to eat the “melted” crust because it was still yummy and flakey.

  132. You are a godsend with your tips! Thank you thank you for such detailed and intelligible advice. I have been long in practice with no guidance. Be conscious of the temperature is all it took to make my half decent crust award winning among my friends and family.

    The only thing I have yet to master is to get it rolled out just right. I did my best to heed your words (I’ve always been a liberal flourer,) but for some reason my dough still has a difficult time holding together around the edges. I’m constantly having to pinch cracks closed and I am always worried about rolling it out too much that I make my crust too thin. My first question is how thick should the crust be once it’s fully rolled out? My second is how do I keep my dough from cracking too much? My gut tells me it’s likely from too little water, but I’m always so nervous of putting too much that it results in those pesky shrinky dink crusts.

  133. You make your pie crust just like I make mine! All butter! And lots of flour for the rolling! Something I have been trying to figure out, though, is why sometimes my crust won’t hold its shape in the oven. All the pretty crimping sort of melts over the sides. I make the crust the same every time, take extra care to keep it super cold, but sometimes it melts in the oven. And it doesn’t happen every time, so I’m having a hard time figuring out what causes this. Any ideas?

  134. Thank you so much for the best pie crust recipe/instructions ever!! Do you have any additional insights on how to “blind bake” or egg wash crust to prevent soggy pies…as in pumpkin, etc. Thanks again!

  135. I made this crust for our Christmas apple pie today. To be diabetes-friendly, I opted to replace the sugars with honey. Excellent recipe, easy (and entertaining!) instructions. Thank you, and Merry Christmas!

  136. This was the easiest crust (by far!) I’ve ever attempted. Your instructions were great and the leftover dough that I sprinkled with cinnamon & sugar to bake while I filled the pies turned out light and flakey, as promised. I’m excited to take these two pumpkin pies to friends’ for Christmas dinner tomorrow. Thank you Thank you for being out there.

  137. For those having trouble getting those pretty crimps to stay in place (and visible), try baking whatever pie at a hotter temperature for 15 minutes, then turning the oven down to wherever it should be for the pie you’re making. I think that higher heat tends to set the dough before it can melt and collapse. Do check for doneness before the recommended time, Just In Case.

  138. Just made hubbys’ favorite pie with my first all butter crust, and it turned out great! Thank you for your clear (and amusing ) directions.

  139. You are my cooking inspiration. I’ve made your soups, breads and just today I followed your pie crust instructions to amazing results. The crust was absolutely perfect: buttery, flaky, didn’t fall apart. It was outstanding. I’m so impressed that I actually made the dreaded pie crust. So thanks for all detailed instructions :)

    Also, I keep getting great results from your recipes and I thank you so so SO much!! All of your recipes are so simple to follow and fun. So, THANK YOU!! Your website has motivated and inspired me to try new foods that turn out perfectly.

  140. This is the first time for me to make from scratch pie dough. I did read on another site that rolling the dough between two sheets of lightly buttered wax paper will prevent sticking. Has anyone ever heard of this before? I’ll let you know if it worked.
    I was looking at many sites to find a butter pie dough recipe and I sure did a lot of hunting. Then I came across this blog. Thanx so much!

  141. For people who fear rolling dough to the right thickness so you don’t get parts to thick or thin or both, there’s a great product out there called DoStix. It’s about the easiest thing to use even for people who are not gifted bakers, like myself. Thanks for the great post!

  142. Deb, I just made your improved strawberry rhubarb pie for a second time, this time trying a crust from scratch for the first time. Your instructions made it so easy and — you were right — I was doubtful along the way but it turned out amazing! I wet the leftover dough and mashed it back together and rolled it out again, then stuffed it with brie and apples, just to be able to try the pie dough. We’re waiting until tomorrow to touch the strawberry rhubarb pie so that it gels right. Thanks for the fantastic and easy to follow recipe!

  143. I am making the strawberry/rhubarb pie tomorrow. Thanks for posting it. In the past, I had always used the recipe (handed down in the family), that involved much more.

    We’ve always used ice water, and butter, for us, that’s the key to a great crust.
    One other thing, if you take a sealed baggy of ice and place it on your counter for about 20 minutes before rolling out your pie crust, it helps keep the counter and crust nice and cold.

  144. Your instruction page is cool! Reading it was like having a one-on-one personal session with you. I’ll get back to you soon after making my son’s request for blueberry pie.. thanks a lot.

  145. Hi, is it necessary to chill the pie dough before rolling? I usually roll out the dough, place it in a pie plate, and *then* freeze/refrigerate, but I’ve never been clear on whether the dough needs to settle for a couple hours before handling…

  146. This is the best! I’m making my third pie this summer tonight for company using your tutorials and I have never felt so confident in my pie-making skills. Which is just a fantastic feeling, right? I too live in a hot hot hot apartment and I stick everything in the freezer for a few minutes between each step to keep it cold. This totally works fine – summer weather is no excuse for not making pie…although…it is a pretty good argument for cobblers and crumbles…hmm…

  147. Well…..I’m anxiously awaiting my first homemade Saskatoon Pie with your crust. I’m not a baker at all….AT ALL lol. My motto is….”someone has to keep the bakeries in business!!”Hubby and I picked berries in our back yard and are baking a pie to bring to friends of ours. I’m sure they won’t believe it was us that baked it lol. Cross your fingers. I had a bit of trouble rolling it out…and had to make a patch on the top crust…oh well

  148. I like to think I’m an expert with a traditional butter/shortening pie crust. Cold cold cold! That’s the key. I was hoping to have similar success with an all butter crust, but sadly I disappointed myself.

    Has anyone had wonderful success with this recipe?

    This recipe ended up with was sticky tough “fried dough”. Do you think I didn’t integrate the butter enough?

    I used the Smitten Kitchen’s cherry pie recipe: 400 degrees for 25 minutes then 350 degrees for another 25 minutes.

    The butter almost immediately fell out of the crust creating a pool of liquid butter on top. The rest of the time the dough was essentially frying in the liquid butter and blocked the steam holes.

    I’m sticking with my butter/shortening pie crust for now.

    Any suggestions?

    1. Michelle — When butter spills out, it’s because the bits were too big. It could happen with any kind of fat because they will all liquefy at higher temperatures.

  149. Deb- thank you! I love to bake, but had written off pies as ‘not my thing.’ Too many attempts resulting in tough dough or damp crust. Have been cooking from your website for years, but so so happy after today posting my first comment. I followed your pie crust tutorial to the letter and it turned out beautifully. Already planning what to make next :) thanks so much.

  150. Thanks for this tutorial! In my past attempts to roll out pie dough, I worried way too much about minimizing the use of flour.

    This would result in the dough sticking, which is bad not just because it’s hard to pick up and actually use, but also because stuck areas (and desperate attempts to unstick them) can cause those portions of the dough to stretch, which I now understand is a no-no (your comment #126) and far more likely to hurt the finished product than a little extra flour.

  151. To echo so many other commenters: THANK YOU! I was so happy and proud of myself. I could almost hear you saying “You can do it!” as I very nervously rolled out my dough. Like Michelle #193, my butter spilled out but I knew what was wrong and had faith all would be okay. I had it on a baking sheet so I didn’t have a mess in the oven! It was wonderful and flaky : )

  152. Thank you for this easy tutorial! I laughed out loud during your commentary and instructions and messaged a fellow baker friend to read your post. And you were right, I went right to the fridge/pantry and quickly pulled out the ingredients. (I always buy butter in large quantities when on sale, and freeze) I did not cube the butter, but grated it since it was partially frozen. It seemed to make it blend in quicker. Yes, It probably took longer to grate than it would have to cube! Anyhow, it’s chilling right now and will hopefully be in the oven with a pumpkin filling within the hour. Now I do not feel so intimidated about pie crust! :)

  153. Love the pie butter flaky tutorial and rolling the pie crust tutorial. Could you add a tutorial for using the pie top stencils? I have trouble with crust and using stencil. Will try making a pie using your method this week. Thank you for sharing.

  154. Hi Kathy — I just roll out extra scraps and cut them with cookie cutters, as if they were cookie doughs. Unless there was some other stencil you had in mind?

  155. My late Mother, a master pie crust maker, warned against stretching the dough during rolling, saying that would cause it to shrink during (blind) baking. She was careful about rolling the dough – letting it gradually fan out under the rolling pin – rather than muscling it into shape. Her rolling action was quick, gentle, from the center out in all directions. Very deft. And then she was careful about not stretching it during transferring it into the pan, where it was eased in – not stretched to fit. I never saw a shrunken pie crust in her house.

    With Thanksgiving coming, I have a trick of my own that always works. When making pumpkin pie, I brush the inside of the unbaked pie shell with slightly beaten egg white. Bottom and up the sides. And let it dry while I make the filling. I am proud of pumpkin pie with a flakey under crust – never soggy. Ta-dah!

    Happy baking!

  156. PS. Somewhere up the thread a Commenter asked about putting the dough into the pan in pieces and then pressing it in – rather than rolling it out. I have never tried this but remember seeing a pie baker grate her thoroughly chilled dough (with a coarse large-hole grater) all over the bottom of the pie tin and then pressing it in, bringing it up the sides. Looked more difficult than rolling to me, but a possibility for someone who would rather not roll.

  157. At 76, I don’t bake much any more, but pies were always my downfall. The crust was always flaky, and the fillings were fine, but the crust always looked like a beginner’s crust. I could really have benefited from your Pie Crust 101 – 103 during the years I cooked and baked a lot. My real reason for posting: I have never ever seen a black pie pan. Is it metal or non stick? Who makes it?

  158. A tradition in our family has been to roll out the leftover crust, cut it into pieces about an inch wide, sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar and bake. Yum. Just be sure to grab a couple for yourself before putting them out or you won’t get any. They disappear quickly. I’m 78 and my grandmother did this every Thanksgiving and Christmas…the tradition continued by my mother, myself and my daughter. Thank you for the rolling out tips!

  159. Very excited about this! First year going gluten free, and I am trying this recipe using oat flour. Keeping my fingers crossed…..first time making homemade crust ever! Thanks for sharing such an easy to follow recipe. Happy Thanksgiving.

  160. Hi Deb,
    I’ve used this recipe 3 times now and have had the same CRUNCHY results each time. I’ve used the exact measurements, it isn’t over-cooked,yet it comes out cracker-like each time.
    Any thoughts on this?

    1. Hi Julia — Try making the butter bits smaller, and definitely make sure the dough stays cold the whole time you work with it, never warm enough that the butter could melt or mush into the dough.

  161. Deb – One thing you did not mention was blind baking the crust…I know that should be easy but I looked at several other websites (Martha..Food Network) and found several different temperatures, times, leave in the pie weights for awhile then take them out…What do you do on a total blind bake (like for a cream pie)? I’m spoiled with your other easy directions so want you to tell me!!

  162. Where did you find the small leaf cookie cutters? I have only been able to find large leaf pastry cutters from place like Williams – Sonoma and other online sites. I even ordered some and was disappointed to find out they were 2 1/2 to 3 inches long. I’m looking for smaller ones for decorating the top of pies.

  163. They are indeed from Williams-Sonoma. I learned this tip from a W-S employee who commented here once: search their site for “pie crust cutters.” That’s what they file these little stamp cookie cutters as, confusingly enough as they’re wonderful for cookies. Like so. Enjoy!

  164. Hey Your pages on making quiche pastry dough helped me so much! Thanks. Really drived home the message ‘Keep it cold’ which was immensely helpful!

  165. I’m inspired to make my 1st double-crust pie, Deb! Wondering if you had any tips about how to crimp the top crust over a blind-baked bottom crust? I want to par-bake the bottom bc I’m doing a peach pie, which I hear gets liquid-y, and I want the bottom as un-soggy as possible!

    I suppose I could MacGyver the top crimp (!), but that doesn’t sound pretty…Thought you might have some advice. Thanks – from me and my 1st-double-crust-to-be!

  166. Hi Deb! I made a blueberry-strawberry pie last night from our home grown berries and after researching on the net, had decided to make an all-butter crust for it. It was outstanding – then this morning I found your website and was gratified that you have come to the same conclusion! I have come across your website from time to time and we are sympatico! Much luck and happiness to you! I put my berries into a large plastic bag and shook them with cornstarch Truvia and some accidental flour (thought it was sugar) and nutmeg. Loaded up the pie, dotted with more butter and the top. Every crumb was gone this morning :)

  167. HOORAY!!!

    I finally got it. I got it!! Did I say I got it?!?

    I have been practicing for weeks. Could never get the pastry to roll out. Was using a half and half with butter and shortening, because I believed there was no way I could roll out an all butter crust. So I tried your #102 and that is my go-to pastry forever.

    I am SO DONE with shortening!

    Thank you for 101, 102 & 103. The instructions were awesome, and once I “got over” the idea of using lots of flour when rolling out your recipe, the world changed.

    I have 2 perfect 12″ circles in the freezer. Ready for the next fruit harvest.

    One thing that I think helped alot: I kept reading your “keep it cold” advice. So I PRE-FROZE MY MARBLE ROLLING PIN!!
    Hallelujah. *white doves flying into the sky and angels singing*

    Thank you so much.

  168. I’ve used this recipe several times for some of the other pie recipes you have on here (namely the cherry and peach ones) and I love it! I really like this crust and I’d like to use it for another recipe. I’m planning on making a coconut cream pie and the pie shell needs to be prebaked, because the filling doesn’t get cooked in the oven with the shell. I know you’ve said you don’t like prebaking your pie shells, but as you can see in this case I’m a bit stuck! Do you know how I would go about prebaking this one?

  169. ARGH!!! Trim it BEFORE putting it in the pie pan!!! That makes so much sense I cannot believe I never thought of that before.

    thank you!!!!

  170. I have tried saran wrap and I can’t keep it from wrinkling at the bottom and making lines in the dough. I haven’t tried parchment paper. Someday maybe I will look into the King Arthur mat or Silipat.
    I just made a pie with old fashion organic lard and butter. Yes, it cracked from the beginning of the roll out process. I read that kneading the dough first before patting it into a disc helps. When pat down to make the disc and if it cracks, then knead a bit more til the dough doesn’t just stick together but is unified mass of dough.
    I don’t seem to see this step in very many pie recipes and could be something that is just taken for granted but not for a newbie like me.
    Thank you so much for the tips. I’m 54 years old and married 32 years and thought I could never make a pie.

  171. I just set the pie dough to chill overnight, however I feel that it is way too wet! I can’t start over b/c I have school and it’s a bit too late. I also can’t redo it tomorrow b/c I’m on a rather tight schedule. Does anyone have any tips for saving sticky/wet pie dough?? I really hope it doesn’t turn tough on me. :(

    1. Forrest — It should firm up well overnight. The floured counter and dough top will provide a buffer so that it can be easily rolled out (while still cold).

  172. OK – I’m turning to you for help because I can’t find an answer anywhere else. I’m traveling for Thanksgiving – and I’m bringing my usual — home made apple pie. My problem: I can’t roll the dough when I get there (the house is too warm, too busy, running screaming children, etc) so I need to bring all the pieces of the pie partially assembled. In past years, I’ve tried rolling out onto parchment, then rolling the parchment (like you would get with store bought dough) — but my dough just ends up cracked and ugly (still super tasty, just not solid. the crusts will travel in a super cold cooler (not touching any ice or water though) so, I’m not worried about melting “fat”, just drying out.

    How can i best travel with pre-rolled homemade dough? (I thought about rolling each piece with a frozen “wet” paper towel this year… to keep in moisture)

    Thoughts?

  173. Is there a reason you cannot make the pie in full in advance? You can keep it at room temperature for a day, easily, or longer in the fridge, and just gently rewarm it (if you guys like warm pie) before serving it? Or, I’d probably skip the pre-rolling because it seems difficult. The filling can go in one container. You can have two wrapped chilled dough halves. And wherever you’re going likely has a rolling pin or bottle of wine you can use. Good luck!

  174. This is really brilliant, a very excellent tutorial. These are the exact techniques I have used for years with much success.

    The only thing you should add is one must practice to get good at pie dough! Or at least, not give up after one or two or even several failures. You have to keep making it until you understand the process. You have to get a feel for the texture, the ratios, and how it moves when rolling. And the only way to get there is practice, practice, practice!

    Once you understand pie dough, it is seriously the simplest thing to make. Thank you for these thorough instructions! It gives me hope that more people will try it!

  175. Thank you for this wonderful tutorial . . . my quintessential sis in law asked me to do the dough for pies last year . . . .argh!!! Now I get it and am making a pumpkin and mince meat pie, both with have perfect crusts!

  176. It saddens me this page hasn’t received any feedback recently, so I’m going to change that :)
    I tried this pie dough for the first time , for pot pies , and it came out buttery and flaky.
    Since it was pot pie crust and not a pastry, I substituted the tablespoon of sugar for 1 tsp parsley, 1 tsp onion powder and 1 tsp garlic powder and it came out amazing.

    The most annoying thing about this dough is making sure the butter stays really cold. I used my freezer a loooottt. However, with that said it came out delicious.

    Thanks for this recipe!

  177. I loved this crust. My first time being successful with intact piecrust and I really liked the flavor of it! I ate some of the scraps, raw. Don’t tell. Thanks for the great instructions!

  178. Deb, You’re amazingly talented, not only as a writer
    & cook, but you’re such an encouraging teacher!
    I was trying to make a deep-dish fruit
    pie for the Fourth of July, & the crust was just too
    sticky! Your words, ” Be generous with
    the flour,” and “You can always brush
    off the extra..” made ALL the difference!
    Thanks!!

  179. P.S. I must add my “too-sticky” pie dough
    was NOT (horrors!) your recipe. THAT fact was
    something I won’t repeat again. Yet, your advice
    here still made it all work.

  180. I love Thomas Keller’s crust recipe. It was featured in the LA times in 2007 and for me, makes a beautiful, super-easy crust each and every time. What I find novel and amazingly easy, is that he combines half the flour with the butter in a standing mixer until completely incorporated, then adds the rest of the flour. (It can also be done by hand or food processor, though he recommends the standing mixer). The traditional way – I can never tell when all butter is “small pea-sized”. The proportions are similar to Deb’s, though he uses 305 grams of flour instead of 315 and 1/4 cup water. For a sweet crust, I add 1 tbsp of sugar like in Deb’s.
    Here’s his method:
    http://www.splendidtable.org/recipes/bouchon-pate-brisee

    Here’s the article from the LA times:
    http://articles.latimes.com/2007/feb/28/food/fo-calcook28

  181. would love some help: when I try to roll out the dough it’s HARD AS A ROCK. I can’t get it to relax enough to roll out. this happens EVERYTIME I try to make dough…..grhhhhh…..what’s the secret?????
    ps my bucket list includes pie crust and i’m really really trying to succeed—HELP!!!

  182. My problem is the same as above — you take it out of the fridge and it’s rock hard. I feel like I’m losing something important in the crust integrity when I’m letting it thaw enough to work with it.
    Help!

  183. debbykc, Holly — All-butter pie dough from the fridge is supposed to be very hard — as butter would be! You slowly roll it out, gentle rolls in all directions so that you slowly stretch it. Press too hard and you’ll have big cracks. I do this every time I make a pie dough, and by the time it’s stretched out, it’s still cold to the touch (the goal), but soft enough to handle a crimp.

  184. WHAT would I do without you?

    Well, I certainly wouldn’t be making a strawberry rhubarb pie, that’s for sure (grandmas means well, but her patience in teaching someone how to make a pie crust is lacking these days).

    You’re amazing. Thanks for helping US be more amazing, too!

  185. Hi! I’ve made this crust quite a few times and frequently have the problem of the crust sort of melting in the oven. All my crimping slumps over the edge or sags into the pan. ( It did not happen when I used a recipe with some Crisco.) Anyway, I’m guessing this could be avoided by chilling the crust more before baking, but, would that make my Pyrex pie plate crack? Thanks!!

    1. Becky — A Pyrex should, by design, be able to handle big temperature changes. I do find that it’s harder to hold crisp crimp shapes with butter, too. For me, it’s a fair trade-off for better flavor though.

  186. Years ago, I used to make popcorn for a friend’s kids (she always burned it) and she would make pie crusts for me. (I would get so upset when I attempted pie crust that I’d throw a fit and the dough on the floor). Years later, and thanks to you, I’ve finally managed to make a crust worthy of my favorite peach pie recipe. You’re the best!

  187. I was looking @ your pie curst 102 and 103 and I love the idea, but I need them baked. You only say how to bake once they are filled. How to I bake them empty?

    Thanks.