All-Butter Pie Crust and Blind Baking

I’ll be honest with you, this is only the second pie crust I’ve ever made. I have, however, made a lot of pies. A lot. I dated this guy. He was a workout nut. And a pumpkin pie fiend. (I feel the need to note the former to explain his appetite for the latter.) I made him two pies per week for I don’t even know how long. Countless pumpkin pies. Countless frozen crusts. You should try telling someone that you made one person two pies every week for several months straight. They look at you like they don’t even know what to think of you.

This was my first attempt at blind baking. (For anyone who doesn’t know: Blind baking is just the pre-baking of a pie crust. You would do this if you were making a pie with a filling that had a shorter baking time than the crust, or involved no baking whatsoever. It will also help you avoid a soggy pie bottom. No one wants that!)

All-Butter Pie Crust

(crust adapted from Bon Appétit via Epicurious)

yield: 1 crust

  • 1 ¼ cups of all-purpose flour
  • 1 ½ teaspoons of sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon of salt
  • ½ cup (1 stick) of butter, cut into ½-inch cubes and chilled
  • ice water (you will only need around 3 tablespoons)

What is that spray bottle doing with all my ingredients? I will be filling it with the ice water in order to add the water to the dough more evenly, à la Alton Brown.

Add flour, sugar, and salt to a food processor and pulse two or three times to combine. Add butter and pulse until texture begins to look a bit mealy. Add ice water to the spray bottle and thoroughly spritz the surface of the mixture. Pulse a few times to combine. Keep doing this until mixture begins to clump together, and you are able to press it into a dough.

Remove mixture from the food processor and squeeze together into a ball. Place in a plastic bag or saran wrap and flatten into a disc. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.

Once dough is chilled, remove it from the fridge. Chill two pie tins in the fridge. As you can see below, my dough is in a plastic bag (also à la Alton Brown). This will eventually help you transfer your pie crust to the pie tin without any breakage. (Honestly, I’m not going to tout this as an essential method. But if you have two pie tins and a giant ziploc bag lying around, it certainly doesn’t hurt.) If you don’t, then just roll it out and carefully transfer it to your tin.

Cut open the ziploc on either side and sprinkle dough with flour (on both sides). Roll dough out until it is about 12 inches in diameter, or big enough to fill your pie tin.

Remove your chilled pie tins from the fridge. Pull back the top half of the ziploc bag. Place one pie tin, right-side up, in the middle of the dough. Holding the tin in place, slide your hand under the dough and ziploc bag and flip over. Remove the bag and place your other pie tin, upside down, on top of the dough. Flip it back over and remove the first tin. Pie dough transfer: success! If you like a dry, flaky dough, this really is a great way to avoid breakage. But in the event that any tears or breaks occur, you can always patch them up with the excess dough you trim from the edges.

Now, it’s time to make that crust look purdy. There are lots of ways to go about this, with varying degrees of effort. If you want your pie to be visually impressive, you may be willing to go the extra mile. But if it’s just going to be you and your friends cramming molten pie in your faces (and avoiding mouth burns by counterbalancing with ice cream, of course), you probably want to go with one of the less laborious options. I like to shape the edges around my thumb, creating what is apparently known as a scalloped edge.

If you weren’t going to be blind baking the crust, follow whatever recipe you are using from here on in.

Blind Baking

(from Good Eats)

  • 1 pie crust
  • parchment paper
  • 32 oz. dried beans (you can also use dried rice or lentils, or pie weights)

Poke a few holes in the bottom of your pie crust and refrigerate for 15 minutes. Preheat your oven to 425°. Remove chilled crust from the fridge and place a sheet of parchment paper on top, then fill with beans. (This is going to keep the base of your crust from bubbling up while baking, which can cause it to weaken or tear.) Bake for 10 minutes, then remove the beans and parchment paper and continue to bake for another 10–15 minutes, or until the pie is a light golden brown. Allow it to cool completely before filling.

Note: The method described above will yield a fully-baked pie crust. If you still need to bake your filling, you may want to remove the crust from the oven after only 10 minutes. Alternatively, you can tent the pie by loosely draping foil over it during its second round in the oven. You want to cover the pie, but without crimping the edges of the foil around your pie tin, as this will trap steam. Even if you end your blind baking early, you may still need to tent the pie if it begins to brown too much.

Rest assured, this post will be followed by yummies to put in your pie crust!

Comments

  1. Georgia says

    I’m really eager to try this crust. I’ve been looking for an all-butter pie crust since I’m allergic to soy. Thanks for posting this recipe.

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