This is the most important recipe at the pie shop. It’s the secret to 90 percent of the pies we make, sweet and savory. New bakers aren’t considered full members of the team until they master it. [Editor’s Note: This pie crust is designed to be blind baked, which means it’s partially baked unfilled until golden brown. It’s not suitable for use in any recipe in which the crust is not blind baked.]–Paula Haney
LC Crack Pie Note
Much as we love lard, we gotta say, this pie crust recipe made with all butter has a special place in our hearts—and on our thighs. Seriously, though, you gotta try this pie crust recipe, which works only for recipes that require a blind-baked crust such as this sugar cream pie, aka crack pie.
Cut the butter into 1/2-inch cubes. Freeze 5 tablespoons for 20 minutes or up to overnight. Chill the remaining 9 tablespoons in the refrigerator until ready to use.
Stir the red wine vinegar into the cold water and set aside.
Combine the flour, salt, and sugar in the bowl of a food processor and pulse 5 or 6 times to combine.
Add the 9 tablespoons butter and mix for 25 to 30 seconds, until the mixture resembles coarse meal.
Add the frozen butter and pulse 15 to 20 times, until the mixture is in pea-size pieces.
Add 6 tablespoons vinegar water and pulse 6 times. The dough should start to look crumbly. Test the dough by squeezing a small amount in the palm of your hand. If it easily holds together, it’s done. If not, add 1/2 tablespoon vinegar water and pulse 3 more times. Repeat this process as needed until the dough holds together.
Transfer the dough to a lightly floured work surface and knead together until smooth; the dough should not come together in the food processor.
Divide the dough into 2 equal parts and roll each into a ball. Flatten the balls slightly and wrap separately in plastic wrap. Let the dough rest in the refrigerator until ready to use, at least 20 minutes but preferably overnight. (Once the dough is rested, it can remain in the refrigerator for up to 3 days or be frozen for up to 1 week.)
To blind bake the pie, lightly coat a 9-inch pie pan with canola-based cooking spray and dust it with flour. Roll out the dough on a lightly floured surface to a circle larger than the pie pan. Transfer the dough to the pan and roll a rolling pin over the top of the pan, letting the excess dough fall away. Crimp the edges of the dough as desired. Freeze the pie shell until firm, about 30 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 400ºF (200ºC).
Place the frozen, crimped pie shell on a baking sheet. Line the inside of the shell with parchment paper or a coffee filter. Fill with uncooked beans or pie weights until the beans or weights are even with the top edge of the crimp. Press down to make sure they spread to the edges of the shell.
Bake for 20 minutes, rotating the pie shell 180° halfway through the baking time. The outer edge of the crimp should be dry and golden brown. Remove the shell from the oven and carefully remove the parchment paper/coffee filter full of beans. If the paper sticks to the pie, bake it for 3 more minutes and try again. Once the parchment paper or coffee filter is removed, prick the bottom of the shell all over with a fork. Bake for 3 more minutes, until the interior of the shell is dry and light golden brown. Let cool to room temperature before filling with your choice of filling.