You know what breaks my heart? Store-bough pie crust. It’s a tragedy. It’s a crime against good pie. It’s illegal in at least eight states. It’s not cool and I just can’t let you do it to yourself. See, store-bought pie crust is usually made up of unpronounceable fats that can’t possibly taste good. What does taste good? Butter in pie crust. Two syllables. Approachable and delicious.
Let’s talk about how to make the best pie crust from scratch. All it takes is a bit of confidence, a good amount of cold butter, tenacity, and a love of pie.
A pastry teacher once told me that ingredients can smell your fear. It’s true. Butter can sense your hesitation. With these tips, I hope you’re inspired to get in the kitchen this holiday season and make a pie. You can totally do it. I’m a believer… and also, I’ll know if you buy a store-bought crust. I have a sense about these things.
Here’s the lowdown on pie crust.
• Flour, sugar, and salt are whisked together.
• Cold, cubed butter is added and broken down into the dry ingredients.
• Buttermilk is stirred in creating a shaggy but moist-ish dough.
• With a wink and a prayer, dough is kneaded together, left to rest in the refrigerator, then rolled out into a buttery, sturdy, soon-to-be-flakey dough.
You can do it, here’s some extra know-how:
1. The first rule of successful pie crust: Keep your butter cold!
See, there’s a reason that our fat starts cold and needs to stay cold before the pie crust hits the oven. Butter is made up of milk solids and water. When cold butter hits a hot oven, the water in the butter evaporates quickly, helping to create a flavorful and flakey crust. When warm, soft butter goes into a hot oven, the butter weeps in the crust before it evaporates. No one wants a weepy butter crust.