This All Butter Pie Dough Recipe is tender, flaky and above all, much easier to make than you think. Follow my steps and you’ll be making pie crust to be proud of!
Making a decent pie dough was my baking nemesis for years. I tried and failed many times to make perfect, tender, flaky pie dough that didn’t do the following –
- Collapse and melt in the oven
- Become tough and rubbery instead of tender and flaky (overworking the dough is the problem here!)
- End up dry and impossible to work with (not enough liquid is the culprit!)
I never used to bother making pies because it just seemed more hassle than it was worth – but I can be pretty determined. I persevered and practised until I nailed the perfect pie dough. If you follow my easy instructions, you’ll soon be making pie like a pro!
ingredients you’ll need to make all butter pie dough
- Unsalted Butter. You can use salted, but if you do decrease the salt to 1/4 Teaspoon.
- Plain Flour
- Liquid to bring the dough together. For this recipe I’m using plain old iced water. Some people swear by using vodka like in the Cook’s Illustrated pie dough recipe, but I haven’t tried that yet. You could also use freshly squeezed orange juice – I often do this for making mince pies at Christmas Time.
how to make the perfect all butter pie dough by hand
Making pastry in a food processor is by far the easiest way, but I’m going to show you how to make pie dough by hand. After all, not everyone has a processor or maybe yours broke just like mine did and you haven’t gotten round to replacing it yet!
There are a few really important rules to follow for making the best pie crust –
- Keep the ingredients`COOL. The butter in particular should be as cold as possible – I usually freeze the butter then pop it in the fridge a few hours to thaw before I want to make the pie dough. Some people recommend grating frozen butter into the flour, but I find that so messy I don’t think it’s worth it. I slice the butter into small cubes.
- I always place the bowl of flour, sugar, salt and diced butter into the freezer for about 10 minutes or so before rubbing in the butter – this ensures all the ingredients stay nice and cool.
- rub the cold butter into the dry ingredients. If you have a pastry blender you can use that if you like, but I just use my fingertips. You’re aiming for a pebbly, sandy mixture with visible flakes of butter.
- When you have a pebbly, rough looking mixture with visible pieces of butter, start to add the iced water. I start off with about 4 Tablespoons.
- If the pie dough is very crumbly and is impossible to hold together, then you need to add more liquid. I always add a little water at a time – it’s much better than discovering you’ve added way too much water which results in having to add extra flour, which will change the structure of the dough and could end up making it tough.
- There’s no need (haha) to knead the dough – just lightly bring everything together with your hands. A light touch is required – you don’t want to disturb the pockets of butter in the dough.
- When the dough is starting to stick together, tip it all out onto a lightly floured work surface. Using your hands, bring it all together to make a ball. Wrap the dough in clingfilm and place in the fridge for at least one hour.
- When you’re ready to line your pie plate, remove the dough from the fridge and leave it on the side for about 5-10 minutes (unless you live in a very hot Country!)
- Dust the work surface and your rolling pin with flour, then start to roll out a third of the dough (only if you’re making a double crust pie – if not then don’t worry) giving it a turn often to make sure it isn’t sticking to the worktop.
- When the dough is about the thickness of a one pound coin, place your pie dish in the centre of the dough to make sure it will fit, remembering to leave a little extra for crimping. The dough will shrink slightly in the oven, so I always make sure I have at least one inch overhang.
- Quickly flip the pie dough over the rolling pin (dust the pin with a little flour first) and place it in the dish. Gently press the dough into the corners of the dish.
- Trim the overhang with sissors (you can keep these pieces to make shapes to decorate your pie with if you like!)
- Tuck the edges of the pie dough underneath itself so you have a neat edge, and then using your thumb and forefinger, crimp the edges of the dough however way you like. You could use a fork to press the edges down instead if you like.
- If you’re making a double crust pie such as an apple pie, roll out the remaining piece of dough into a circle. Fill the pie with your fruit filling, dampen the edges of the pie with a little water and gently place the circle of dough on top. Crimp the edges to seal and brush with egg wash or milk before baking.
how to blind bake pie dough
Not all pie recipes require you to blind bake the pastry, but if you’re making a pie where the filling is unbaked – like a pumpkin pie or a chocolate tart for example – blind baking is essential.
- Place a square of baking parchment and tin foil in your lined pie dish.
- Now you need to weigh the pie dough down so it doesn’t puff up in the oven. Fill the foil with ceramic baking beans, lentils, barley or any other dried pulses. I’ve used dried butter beans very successfully in the past, but I tend to use whatever I can find that will work.
- If you use lentils, please make sure the dough is completely covered by the baking paper and foil – I remember spending an evening painstakingly picking lentils out of my pie crust! Not my idea of fun!
- Bake the pie at 180C/160fan/350F for 20-25 minutes or until light brown, then remove the baking weights, paper and foil and bake for a further 5-10 minutes or until light golden brown and biscuity. Allow the pie crust to cool to room temperature before adding any fillings.
Feel like making a pie now? check out my favourite pie recipes
Did you make this all butter pie dough? I really hope you liked it! Let me know what you thought of the recipe by leaving a comment below.
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- 300G Plain Flour
- 1/2 Teaspoon Fine Salt, or 1/4 Tsp if using salted butter
- 1 Tablespoon White Sugar
- 175G Very Cold Diced Unsalted Butter
- 6 Tablespoons of Iced Water
- Place the flour, salt and sugar in a mixing bowl and stir to combine. Add the cold cubed butter. Transfer to a bowl to the freezer for 10 minutes.
- Remove the bowl from the freezer. Rub the very cold butter into the flour mixture until you have a pebbly, rough mixture. You want some visible pieces of butter to remain, so don't work the mixture too much.
- Start to add the iced water - I start off by adding 4 tablespoons. Using a table knife, lightly mix the rough dough together without kneading until it just starts to hold together. If the mixture is dry and there are still lots of dry ingredients left in the bowl, add a little more water, a few drops at a time.
- Tip the mixture out onto a very lightly floured work surface. Start to bring the dough together using your hands. Don't work the mixture too much - you don't want to disturb the little butter pockets. By now you should have a something that looks more like a dough instead of a rough mass of ingredients. The dough should be soft, moist but not sticky.
- Wrap the dough in cling film and transfer to the fridge for at least one hour to rest.
- When you're ready to blind bake the pie crust, remove the dough from the fridge and place on a lightly floured work surface. If the dough is solid, leave at room temperature for about 10-15 minutes. Dust the rolling pin with flour and begin to roll the dough out. Apply even pressure and begin by rolling away from, then back. Give the dough a turn every now and then to prevent it from sticking to the work surface, adding a light dusting of flour to the surface if it is beginning to stick. When you have a round circle that's roughly the thickness of a pound coin, plate your pie dish in the centre of the dough to make sure it's large enough to fit, remembering to leave a couple of inches extra for overhang.
- To transfer the dough to the pie dish, flip the dough over the rolling pin and swifly lift over the plate. Gently push the dough into the bottom and sides of the plate. Using scissors, trim the overhang, leaving a border about 1 inch thick.
- Crimp the edges between your forefinger and thumb to make a pretty edge. Place the pie back in the fridge while you preheat the oven to 180C/160Fan/350F. *You could freeze the crust at this stage if you want - you can bake it from frozen at a later date.)
- Place a piece of baking parchment and foil inside the pie crust and fill with baking beans, dried peas or lentils (I often use Barley.) Bake for 20-25 minutes, then remove the baking weights/baking paper and foil and bake for a further 5=10 minutes, or until the pastry is golden brown. Remove from the oven and allow the pie crust to cool to room temperature before adding any fillings.
When it's time to bake your filled pie, don't forget to protect the crust edge from becoming overbaked with a strip of tin foil (or use a pastry shield)
Nutrition Information:Yield: 10 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 240Total Fat: 15gSaturated Fat: 9gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 5gCholesterol: 38mgSodium: 109mgCarbohydrates: 24gNet Carbohydrates: 0gFiber: 1gSugar: 1gSugar Alcohols: 0gProtein: 3g