How to Make our Best Pie Crust
Watch our Step by Step cooking video and learn how to make a flaky pie crust--then fill with apple, cherry or any of your favorite pie recipes.
Hi, I'm Terri Seymour, food editor here at Everyday with Rachael Ray Magazine and I'm going to show you guys how to make a pie crust. The pie crust we're actually making today is for cran-apple pie, which you can find on our website. And we'd start with 2-1/2 cups of flour and then add a half teaspoon of salt, and then from here, the trick is to use cold butter and cold ice water in a pie crust. You wanna keep all those ingredients cold. Because what happens when it's baking is that the steam is released and the moist is released and it basically forms those little packets in every flaky pie crust that everyone loves. We're gonna work in the butter and to the flour and salt until coarse crumbs formed and just kind of mash it with your fingers. You don't actually want to work the butter in completely because, again, that will cause you to have liked a flat sort of flavorless crust and the little packets of butter will sort of give it a nice texture that people look for in a good pie crust. So just keep working it in with your fingers. All right, so we're almost there. You can see the flour and the butter how it just kind of crumbles and there's a little bits of butter sort of just lying around. So, be sure you work in all the big bits of butter and just leave the small bits of butter 'cause that's what will add to the flakiness of the crust and you can tell from the crumbs here that we're about ready. It will kind of looks like chunky cornmeal. When we say coarse crumbs, that's kind of what we mean. And we're going to start off with about 4 tablespoons of ice water. The recipe I'm working with calls for 6. But depending on the humidity and the altitude of where you're baking this pie, you might need more, you might need less and so it's always better to start off with less. We'll hold off on the other 2 until we see if we need it. It's kind of working it with your hands again, kind of use the same motion that you did using the butter, which is just a sort of lightly gather things together. You don't wanna need the dough. And once the dough has turned out the sort of like shredded dough consistency, you just wanna take a pinch of it, pinch it together and if it holds together, you know, it's ready. If it doesn't and it's crumbly, you might need a little bit more water, in which case just add it in 1 tablespoon at a time. You never wanna add too much water because it's hard to go back. And then you turn out the dough onto surface. And from here, you wanna gather the dough into a ball, kind of like you're making a snowball and just sort of pat it or form it together. You wanna be sure that you're not overworking the dough, which can lead to the better melting. So, once you've gathered the dough into a ball, you wanna take a bench scraper. One of these guys-- and this is actually one of the most useful tools you can use if you're really big into baking and pastry and things like that. And it's available any store that sells cookware. In a pinch, you can also use a metal spatula. But I'm gonna take this bench scraper and have the dough and press it into a disk. Again, you don't wanna manipulate it too much. And once you press it into a disk, this will also help the butter incorporate itself a little bit more into the pie crust. And from here, you can just kind of scrape the pie crust off the counter. Wrap it up in wax paper. And you'll actually want to wrap up both disks in wax paper so flatten the other guy as well, kind of form it into a round or an oval that will only help you out when you're rolling out the pie crust. And so, you just need to chill both disks of dough for at least 15 minutes. And I've actually already made 2 pie crusts so that we're ready to go. So, first you wanna take some bench flour to help the dough-- it prevent the dough from sticking to the countertop and you just lightly flour it. And you can lightly flour your rolling pin and wrap your first disk. And from here, you wanna roll out in one even motion. You don't wanna roll back and forth because, again, that sort of manipulate the dough and that's what we don't wanna do. So just beginning from the center, you wanna roll it out to about a 13-inch round to fit on a 9-1/2 inch pie plate. And it's also a good idea to use your bench scraper to a sort of checking on your dough from time to time to make sure it's not sticking to the counter and feel free to just kind of press any sort of crack around the end to help form the round. You can go back to rolling. And one of the tricks to rolling out the dough is you can-- if you sort of run your hands across the top, you can sort of feel where it's thicker than the rest of it and that's where it sort of a good place to start run of the dough because you've got more room for the dough sort of spread out as oppose to crack. I can tell from how it sort of sticking that. This is also a good time to start working with the bench scraper again to make sure your crust is able to be lifted off of the countertop. Just kind of use a forward and backward sawing motion. I think that's the easiest way to do it. And from here, we're actually gonna roll a crust on to the rolling pins. We can unroll it over our pie plate. I just wanna lift it gently. I just wanna gently roll it so you don't tear the pie crust. I actually think this part is a lot of fun. And one of my tricks for unrolling dough, as you can see the same of where the crust ends and just sort of place it on top. So that way, you know it's centered for the most part. You might be a little bit off, but then you can just center it again. Gently press the pie crust into the edges of the pie plate, so you wanna pinch together any ends a sort of torn. And from there, you just wanna grab your filling. I've already whipped it up. Just pour it straight into the pie crust. You just wanna put your filling inside, so you've gently pressed it into plates where you want it. And now, we're gonna put the pie crust and filling in the refrigerator as we roll the top crust. This round, we're gonna roll out to again about 13 inches, but you might wanna go a little bit bigger so you've got some excess crust leftover that we can roll up to form the decorative crust of the pie and same as you did with the bottom crust you want to center it on top of the pie. And then roll the pie crust on top. And if needed, you can just gently lift and adjust the pie crust as needed. And from there, we're gonna take just kitchen shears and trim any leftover or any excess overhang. And those are also good for patching out other little holes you might find. And from here, you were going to actually roll in the crust a little to form the crimped edge. You can just pull up pie crust together and just sort of fold and press and close the filling. And there are lots of different ways to crimp the crust decoratively, lots of fancy ways, but I usually just take my fingers and just sort of press the other like this and just go all around the perimeter of the pie. And from here, you wanna cut a few vents into the top of the pie so that the steam can escape while it bakes. Actually, I forgot to brush the top of the pie crust. I'm just using water here, but definitely if you wanna use beating egg whites, egg yolks, heavy whipping cream, all that's fine. And that's-- those actually might add more of a brown crust. In this case, I'm just keeping it simple. I'm using water it just lightly brush the top of the crust and I'm using granulated sugar, but again you can use something different turbinado sugar, which adds a nice crunch and browns really beautifully on top of the crust. Brown sugar, coarse or pellet sugar and I'm just sprinkling it on the top of the pie generously. And from here, you just wanna stick in a preheated 400-degree oven and bake it for about an hour and 10 minutes and you're all set. You've got your first pie crust.
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