No-Fail Pie Crust Pastry

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Really Good Pie Crust Pastry

Really Good Pie Crust Pastry | No-Fail Pie Crust Pastry
Really Good Pie Crust Pastry

The trick to making butter pastry easier to manage is to use really cold butter and really cold water.

This recipe will make enough pastry for 2 pie shells, 1 double-crust pie, 12 regular size tarts or 24 mini-tarts.

If you only want to make a single pie crust, you can cut the ingredients in half and use just the egg yolk instead of a whole egg.

What You Need

Using American Flour

3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup vegetable shortening, cubed
½ cup cold unsalted butter, cubed
1 egg
1 Tablespoon white vinegar
4 – 6 Tablespoons cold water

Using Canadian Flour

3 cups all-purpose flour (do not use self-rising flour)
1 teaspoon salt
½ cup shortening, cubed
½ cup cold unsalted butter, cubed
1 egg
2 teaspoons vinegar
4 – 6 Tablespoons ice water

Pots and Utensils

Mixing bowl
Pastry blender* or 2 knives
Small mixing bowl
Fork
Plastic wrap or bag

2 pieces of parchment paper or wax paper
Rolling Pin
(optional) 4½” round cookie cutter* (for regular sized tarts) or 2½” round cookie cutter* (for mini-tarts)
Pie pan or muffin tins

How To Put The Pie Crust Pastry Together

Regardless of which ingredients you are using, the process for putting the pastry together is pretty much the same.

1. In the bowl, mix together the flour and salt.

2. Add the shortening and butter.

A pastry cutter makes cutting in the butter and shortening easier | No-Fail Pie Crust Pastry
A pastry cutter makes cutting in the butter or shortening easier

3. Use the pastry blender, or 2 knives to cut the shortening into the flour.  When you are done, you should have small pieces of shortening covered with flour that look something like granola.

4. Beat the egg in the small mixing bowl.

5. Mix in the vinegar and 4 tablespoons of the water.

4. Using the fork, add the egg mixture to the flour mixture one tablespoon at a time.  You want to make sure that the dough is just wet enough to stick together as a ball.  After you have added about 4 tablespoons of the egg mixture, try to make a ball out of the pastry.  If it sticks together you are done.  If it doesn’t, add the next tablespoon of the egg mixture and try to form a ball out of the pastry again.  Keep adding the egg mixture in small portions until the dough sticks together in a ball.  If you have added all of the egg mixture and the dough is still not sticking together, continue with the same process using cold water.

5. Cut the dough in half.

Form the dough into a disc | No-Fail Pie Crust Pastry
Form the dough into a disc

6. Form the dough into 2 discs.

7. Cover with the plastic wrap.

8. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.

9. Lay one sheet of parchment paper on the counter.

10. Remove one of the pastry discs from its plastic wrapping and put it on the parchment paper.  I usually leave the second pastry disc in the refrigerator until I am ready to use it.  Keeping it cold makes it easier to work with.

11. Lay the second sheet of parchment paper over the top of the pastry disc.

12. Use the rolling pin to flatten the pastry disc out into a circle that is about 1/8″ thick.  The parchment paper will keep the dough from sticking to the counter…which prevents you from having to add more flour…which keeps the pastry from getting tough.  A secret weapon for having your pastry turn out!  Note:  If you find that the pastry starts to tear really easily, put it back in the refrigerator for a few minutes.  Once it is cold again, it will be easier to work with.

13. If you are using it for a pie shell, make sure that the pie dough circle is large enough to cover the pie pan.  To make it easy to put into the pie pan, roll the dough around the rolling pin and then unroll it over the pie pan.  Cut off any edges that fall over the edge of the pie pan.

Line the muffin tins with round circles cut from the dough | No-Fail Pie Crust Pastry
Line the muffin tins with round circles cut from the dough

14. If you are using the pastry for tart shells, use the biscuit cutter to cut circles from the rolled-out dough, and push them into the muffin tins.  There will be folds in the pastry around the edges…push them back towards the edge of the muffin tin to open up the center of the tart.

15. Use a fork to prick small holes in the bottom of the pie or tart crusts (this prevents it from puffing up during cooking).

At this point, your crust is ready to use.  You can even freeze it for up to a month and use at a later date.

Have comments or questions on No-Fail Pie Crust Pastry?  Tell us in the comments below.

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