Knowing how to make sweet and savory pies and tarts is not only a must-have skill for any cook, it can also save the day (or night). Yes, you could buy a tart shell pre-made, but why would you, when making pie crust is easy and takes only a few simple ingredients? Tarts are the perfect vehicle for seasonal ingredients, be them savory or sweet. We especially love pies during the summer months when fresh, ripe berries are in season, which inspires us to make all manner of sweet tarts.
Today, we’re giving you our secret, no-fail recipe and method for the perfect pie crust. All you need is flour, butter, salt and water, and a few tricks up your apron sleeves! Once you’ve nailed this recipe, pie-making will truly be “easy as pie”, and your dough will always come out flaky and buttery.
So, read on, take some notes, and make your most perfect pie crust ever at home tonight!
The Perfect Pie Crust Primer
How To Make the Perfect Pie Crust: Ingredients
How To Make The Perfect Pie Crust: Making The Dough
First, cut the butter into small cubes and put it in the freezer to chill - this is an important step!
Place the flour in a mound on the counter. Make a large indentation in the center – this should look like a crater of sorts. Grab the butter from the freezer and place the cubes in the center of your “crater”. Sprinkle ½ tsp. salt.
You could use a food processor or a pastry cutter for making pie crust, but we like to do it old school, with our fingers. This has the advantage of letting you get a feel for the ingredients, and adjusting as you go. With the tips of your fingers, start breaking apart the butter and mixing it with the flour, working it until you get a coarse, meal-like texture.
Form a small mound, indent the center again, and add 3 tablespoons of iced water. Form the dough ball.
Start forming the dough with your hands, folding from the outside in. Keep adding the rest of the chilled water (1 or 2 more tbsps.), until the dough ball comes together. Don’t knead. You want the dough to be on the softer side.
Flatten the dough into a disk and wrap in plastic film. Chill in the fridge for at least 20 minutes.
How To Roll Out The Pie Crust
Roll out the dough on a lightly floured surface. When rolling out, keep rotating (for uniformity) and sprinkling more flour to the dough (so it won’t stick). Depending on the tart pan you’re using, make sure you roll at least 2 inches more than the diameter of your pan.
The formula for perfect pie crust success: roll, rotate, sprinkle, repeat!
How To UNROLL The Pie Dough Into The Pan
Wrap the dough around your rolling pin, and unroll into your tart pan, previously brushed with melted butter so it won’t stick.
Finally, press gently with your thumbs on the bottom and edges of the mold, making sure the crust makes contact with the pan.
Let at least 1 inch of dough overlap over the edge of the tart shell. Then, crimp it with your fingers, or press your rolling pin over the edge, to flatten. Cut any excess with a knife or kitchen shears.
How To Make The Perfect Pie Crust: Final Touches
You’ll want to use your perfect pie crust right away, but resist! Chill in in the fridge for 15 minutes before using (use that time to get the oven pre-heated).
If you want to reserve the pie crust for later, just wrap it in plastic wrap and freeze.
A beautiful, perfectly finished tart! Ph: Hiroyuki Takeda
Do you have a trick for making tarts and pies? Share it with us in the comments!