3 Expert Tips for Perfect Piecrust

Erin Jeanne McDowell—recipe developer, food stylist, and the author of 'The Book on Pie'—is here to help you conquer your piecrust fears!
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pie crusts

There’s a world of piecrusts out there. Go traditional, or experiment with nuts, phyllo dough, or even Rice Krispies Treats!

1. Work It (But Just Enough)

For a tender, flaky piecrust, you want to make sure the dough comes together, but there’s no need to knead it. Overworked pie dough will bake up tough, so before you start, give yourself a little pep talk. “The key is to work quickly but confidently to get the dough to come together faster,” says McDowell.

2. Remember To Chill

Cold dough is key, but with warm hands and even warmer kitchens, that can be challenging. “My motto is ‘When in doubt, chill it out,’ ” she says. “There is really no wrong time to chill pie dough.” That means that you can chill the butter, the bowl with the flour in it, and/or the half-finished dough that starts sticking to your fingers.

3. Bake It Longer

Your pie is done when the crust is deeply bronzed—and not a moment before. “If the crust is baked enough, then it’s set and it won’t absorb much moisture as it cools,” she says. A properly cooked pie will pop out of the pan even when hot. To check, quickly but gently lift up a crust edge. If it’s stuck tight, keep cooking.

Want more pie tips? Get The Book on Pie here. 

This article originally appeared in our Holiday 2020 issue. Get the magazine here.