A simple, old-fashioned recipe and tutorial for your own homemade pie crust just like grandma used to make.
Pie crust is one of those things that all homesteaders should eventually learn how to make at home. And while those neat refrigerated crusts at the store make it seem like it’s worth the shortcut, it’s not.
Pie crust is actually really simple to make and homemade crust tastes so much better than those hydrogenated oil-laden crusts at the store. So, so much better.
It used to kind of intimidate me, making my own, well, anything, really. But, everything is worth trying. And I’m so glad I tried this pie crust recipe, because I’ll never go back to those other things at the store and this can be frozen to use later, so you can still have that easy shortcut.
All you really need to make pie crust is flour, fat, and some water. I use salted butter, but you can use unsalted butter and add your own salt. Salt, however, it not negotiable, it adds flavor and texture, even in the small amount it is.
How to Make Pie Crust
Keep your ingredients cold. To make pie crust that doesn’t turn out like a rock? You need to use really cold ingredients. Make sure you keep your fats (butter & lard) cold at all times.
I generally cube everything up and put the mixing bowl into the freezer for a few moments before I begin cutting the flour into the fats. This just helps start with nice, cold ingredients.
If your fats start to melt while you’re mixing, kneading, or rolling, throw everything in the freezer to keep it chilled. You’ll thank me later.
Handle it as little as possible. The less you handle the crust, the flakier it will be. The more you touch it, roll it, mix it, the more likely it will become hard.
Just make sure you mix everything just well enough, and be gentle, slow, and take your time when rolling it out. Like I said, you can always throw it in the freezer for a few minutes if it’s taking longer than you expected to roll it out.
Measure out your ingredients carefully. Instead of sticking the measuring cup in the bag of flour and scooping it out and packing it in, carefully spoon it into your measuring cup. Do not pack it down. And then, gently take a knife to level your measuring cup.
Same thing when measuring out your fats, just make sure you’re using the right amounts so that the ratio is what it needs to be. Too much of anything is a bad idea.
Don’t add too much water. You want to add water just until the pie crust starts to stick together. Nothing more, nothing less. Too much water ends up as sticky dough, which ends up as tough, unpalatable dough after it’s turned into pie. Make sure the water is cold, and add it 1/2 to 1 Tablespoon at a time until it starts to make your dough form a loose ball.
Essential Ingredients for Pie Crust
Quality ingredients are as important as actually making the pie crust. So make sure you always use quality ingredients.
Flour. Quality, unbleached all purpose flour is what I use for this recipe. You can use whole wheat or white wheat, but it’s heavier and will result in a denser crust. We aren’t gluten free, so I can’t help you there. But I have heard almond flour is a great substitute.
Butter. Not margarine or any other kinda butter substance will do. You need to use real butter for this. Make your own from your raw cream or purchase quality, organic butter from the store. Like I mentioned, I use salted butter, but you can use unsalted, you’ll just need to add salt to the recipe.
Lard. I will preface this by saying I know not everyone has access to lard, but it’s super easy to render on your own lard. And nothing, absolutely nothing beats lard when it comes to pastry recipes. Except, maybe bear tallow, which I’ve heard is the best of the best, but we don’t have access to that here… at all.
If you simply cannot get your hands on lard, shortening will do in a pinch. But, it won’t turn out quite the same.
Salt. Yes, I’m weird and generally only have salted butter on hand so I shortcut and use that without adding salt to the flour mixture. However, salt, regardless of how it gets into the recipe, is important. If you use unsalted butter, simply whisk a teaspoon of sea salt into the flour before cutting the fat into the flour.
Tools I used in This Recipe:
A simple, old fashioned recipe and tutorial to make your own pie crust at home just like grandma used to make.
- 1 2/3 Cups All Purpose Flour (leveled)
- 4 Tablespoons Cold Lard (may sub shortening)
- 12 Tablespoons Cold Salted Butter (cubed)
- 5-6 Tablespoons of Cold Water
- Cube your butter into 1/2" cubes.
- After you've cubed your butter and have a scoop of lard, go ahead and place it all in the freezer for a few moments to make sure it is nice and cold.
- Add your flour to your cold fat mixture.
- Using a pastry cutter, start cutting the butter and lard into the flour until little chunks/balls start forming.
- One tablespoon at a time, add ice cold water to the fat/flour mixture using the pastry cutter or a fork to stir it around. Do not add too much or the dough will be too sticky.
- Once the dough starts to stick together, knead it gently until it forms a ball.
- On a floured surface, push the dough into the surface. Lightly flour the top and begin rolling it out with a rolling pin. Roll the dough until it's about an 8"X11" rectangle.
- Take each edge and fold it over the center, making almost a square.
- Separate the dough into two sections.
- Roll each section of dough back out into a 12X12 inch square.
- Place the rolled out pieces of dough onto a parchment-lined baking sheet. Separating the pieces with a piece of parchment.
- Cover the dough with plastic wrap and refrigerate 2-24 hours.
- Bring it out and allow it to warm slightly. Cut it around your pie plate and flute the edges.
If you need your pie crust pre-baked, (for no bake and refrigerated pies) fill the pie crust with pie weights or dried beans. Bake at 400°F for 15 minutes. Remove, pierce the bottom of the partially baked crust with a knife and return to the oven for another 10-15 minutes or until golden brown and cooked through.
- If you're making an oven baked pie, you will simply fill it and bake according to your recipes instructions.
- This dough can be prepared ahead and frozen until ready for use. Just keep the dough separated into two balls and cover tightly with plastic wrap or place in reusable freezer bags. It can be placed in the freezer and kept for 3 months. When ready to use, thaw it in the refrigerator overnight before rolling it out.
Covering this pie crust with a pie shield or aluminum foil while baking will help from it being too crunchy and overdone.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 175 Total Fat: 14g Saturated Fat: 8g Trans Fat: 0g Unsaturated Fat: 5g Cholesterol: 30mg Sodium: 79mg Carbohydrates: 11g Net Carbohydrates: 0g Fiber: 0g Sugar: 0g Sugar Alcohols: 0g Protein: 2g
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