LC On the Sublimity of Lard Note
Thankfully, Melissa Clark tends to go far beyond the curiosity of most cooks, doing all the hard work so you don’t have to. You can experience the results of her experimentation in the perfect pie crust recipe below, using whichever proportion of fat you prefer. Do as you wish. We know which pie crust we’ll be having for Thanksgiving dessert.
Note, the recipe can easily be doubled for a double crust; divide the dough into two balls to form two discs before chilling.
Perfect Pie Crust
- Quick Glance
- 15 M
- 1 H, 15 M
- Makes 1 (9-inch) single pie crust
In a food processor, pulse together the flour and salt. Add the butter and pulse until the mixture forms chickpea-size pieces (3 to 5 pulses).
Add the ice water, 1 tablespoon at a time, and pulse until the mixture is just moist enough to hold together.
Form the dough into a ball, wrap with plastic, and flatten into a disc. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour before rolling out and baking.
- Not Just Butter Perfect Pie Crust
You can experiment with different textures and flavors by substituting 3 to 4 tablespoons butter in the recipe above with any of the following fats: shortening, lard, beef suet, duck fat, or an unsweetened nut butter, such as hazelnut butter, almond butter or mixed nut butters. All should be well chilled before using.
Recipe Testers' Reviews
Not being a frequent pie maker, I was hoping for a recipe for a single crust so I could make a fruit pie—something a bit more formal than a crumble or cobbler, and one that worked with butter since that's the flavor I like best in pastry. This perfect pie crust recipe worked perfectly. It's easy—super easy since I used the food processor to pulse the dough very briefly thanks to the drizzle feature of the food processor (my slightly mature Cusinart has drip holes in the bottom of the pusher, which are like that extra set of hands when you want to add liquid very slowly while mixing). I cut the butter up and put it in the freezer for about 10 minutes to make sure it was thoroughly chilled since I didn’t want it too heat up when mixing. I also took a tip from Jenni Field to roll out the dough before between 2 layers of parchment paper on a flat baking sheet before chilling it, avoiding my usual pitfall of using too much flour and toughening the dough while rolling it out. This pie crust could work wonderfully as a single bottom or top crust. For a bottom crust, you could blind bake it. I used it on top of blueberries, and since it wasn't a sweetened pastry, I could control the amount of sugar completely, which I did with a brush of milk and then a sprinkle of colored decorating sugar. For a savory finish you might just do an egg wash. My pie baked for a bit over an hour at 375℉ till the filling was bubbling and the crust had a lovely color. You could probably get there sooner with 400℉ if that worked with your filling. Not only was this recipe a good problem solver for my modest pie, it was delicious AND it passed the second-day test—still rich and flavorful and the texture did not go soggy. I used Kerrygold lightly salted butter and omitted the salt in the recipe. Thanks from this pastry-shy cook!