I love making pie, I really do. I would make pies more often at home if Evan and I didn’t eat every last crumb. Savory or sweet, there is little we can do to resist pie at every meal.
Making pie is easy as well, you know, pie. If you have a good recipe and a little experience in the kitchen you won’t have any problems. Pie baking experience is something I have in droves! I have been making pies for a really long time both at home and at work. I have learned a ton in the years I have spent mixing, rolling and baking thousands of golden buttery pies. Last Thanksgiving we made over 700 pies at the bakery. When we were finished making everyone else’s pies, I came home to try five new recipes to bring to our family celebrations. Yup. I get a little pie crazy around the holidays.
The most perfect pie crusts are both flaky and tender. Doughs made with butter, if handled well, will be flaky. And doughs made with shortening will be tender. Personally, I feel the flavor of butter outshines the flavor of shortening any day. Up until developing this recipe I sacrificed guaranteed tenderness for a flaky crust with lots of rich buttery flavor. So, how do we get a buttery crust that is both flaky and tender without using shortening?
Generally, I make my pie dough in a stand mixer. I usually have one handy on the counter. This recipe can be used with a traditional butter cutter or even in a food processor, but I find the stand mixer to be the easiest and leaves the least flour on the counter, floor, and the dog -though she is super cute with a dusting of flour on her nose.
Now the tricks to great all-butter pie doughs are classics. I am sure you have heard these before. Use really cold butter and keep your dough cold throughout the process. The temperature of butter that I start with depends on the ambient temperature of my kitchen. If it is the dead of summer and very hot inside, I put the cut up butter in the freezer for a half an hour before mixing. Otherwise, refrigerator-cold butter is exactly what you need. Also, measure the buttermilk and store it in the measuring cup in the refrigerator until you are ready to use it.
Combine your dry ingredients in the bowl of your stand mixer for a few seconds on the lowest speed. Add your cold, cubed butter and mix on medium-low speed until The butter is the size of large peas.
Increase the mixer speed to medium and pour in the cold buttermilk. Mix until the dough looks shaggy but mostly combined.
Dump the contents of the mixing bowl onto a floured surface. Use a bench scraper or a knife to divide the dough in two. Shape it into round-ish pucks. Wrap your pucks well with plastic wrap and throw them in the fridge for at least a half hour to chill. Your pie dough at this point will keep for several days in the refrigerator, or it can be frozen for up to a month.
Roll the dough on a lightly floured surface being careful to roll from the center of the dough using long strokes with even pressure. If the dough ever starts to feel sticky dust it with a little flour. If your dough starts to feel melty, put it back into the refrigerator for a few minutes. Roll your dough into a rough circle about 15-16 inches in diameter. Don’t stress out if your dough cracks. You can always piece it back together.
This recipe makes enough dough for one double crust (top and bottom) pie or two galettes or open top pies.
That’s it! Those are my secrets to a pie crust that won’t let you down. Zero excuses. Get into the kitchen and bake a pie! Then do it again. And don’t forget to invite me over for a slice.
- 2½ C all-purpose flour
- 1 T sugar
- 1 t Kosher salt
- 1 C or two sticks unsalted butter, cubed
- ½ C cold buttermilk
- flour for sprinkling
- Combine dry ingredients in the bowl of a stand mixer on low speed. Mix for a few seconds.
- Add cold cubed butter. Mix on medium-low speed until the butter is the size of large peas.
- Increase the mixer speed to medium and add the cold buttermilk.
- Mix the dough until it is just combined and somewhat shaggy looking.
- Dump the contents of the bowl on a lightly floured surface. Use a bench scraper or knife to divide the dough into two equal portions. Form each portion into a round-ish puck.
- Wrap each puck in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
- To roll out the dough, remove one puck from the refrigerator remove the plastic from the dough.
- Lightly flour your surface and the dough.
- Beginning at the center of the dough with a rolling pin, roll with long strokes and even pressure. If the dough ever begins to feel sticky or sticks to the rolling pin sprinkle a little more flour on the dough and rolling surface. If the dough begins to feel melty and warm, refrigerate it for a few minutes.
- One puck can be rolled to a circle 15-16 inches in diameter.