Pie Crust – From Scratch

I thought I had some great step by step photos of pie crust somewhere in my photo storage.  Apparently they are buried pretty deep because I couldn’t find them – but that’s alright.  Making a pie crust is very simple.  Making them pretty takes practice, but even if they don’t look perfect they will still taste yummy!  I will focus on the ingredients and basic pie crust creation – all the different ways pie crusts can be made pretty will be covered later because I don’t have any pictures to guide you in the process.

Pie crusts can come in a variety of flavors.  This is a traditional flaky pie crust.

You can make a single or double crust pie.  Single pie crusts are just the bottom crust, while the top of the pie remains open – for things like cheesecake, pumpkin pie, etc.  A double crust pie is used for pies that are enclosed in crust on top and bottom.  The top crust edge can be crimped, latticed, rolled, and cookie cutters can be used to cut shapes from the top crust before it is placed on the pie….  Creativity rules when it comes to pie crusts.

There is a big debate in the baking world that centers around the best fat used in pie crust.  Lard?  Butter?  Shortening?  A mixture?  While its been proven that your technique can make or break the delicate, flaky layers of your pie crust, the fat makes a difference too.  Almost everyone agrees that real lard is the best option for pie crusts.  It just can’t be beat.  But it can be hard to find.  So butter or shortening are more commonly used.  Butter tends to lend its self to a puffy, delicate crust.  Shortening tends to be a little heavier with the traditional pie crust flavor.  Both are fine to use, but I encourage you to experiment on your own and decide what you like better (as if you needed any encouragement).   You may even find you like a combination of the two.

Ingredients for a single crust pie (just double the ingredients for a double crust pie):

  • 1c all purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/3 c + 1tb COLD lard, butter or shortening.  1/3c is just over 5tb.
  • 2-3tb ice cold water.


  1. Combine the flour and salt, mix well.  Cut in the fat with a pastry cutter or by criss-crossing butter knives through the butter and flour mixture until the mix resembles course oatmeal.
  2. Gradually add the cold water, one tablespoon at a time, until the dough begins to form into a ball.
  3. **You can also use a food processer which makes quick work of making dough.  Combine flour, salt and butter (cut into chunks about the size of a tablespoon).  Run the processor until the mixture resembles oatmeal, then add your water gradually just until the dough begins to form a ball.
  4. Form dough into a flat round, wrap in plastic wrap and chill for 30-45 minutes in the fridge.
  5. Remove the dough from the fridge and allow it to come near room temperature.  If you are baking a double crust pie, cut the dough in half.
  6. Roll the dough on a lightly floured surface.  Rotate the dough between rolls to maintain a circular shape.  Roll the dough out to be about two inches wider than the pie pan you will be baking in.
  7. To place the dough in the pie pan, fold dough in half, and then in half again to form a triangle.
  8. Place the triangle of dough in the pie pan with the point that will become the center of the pie, placed in the center of the pie pan.
  9. Unfold the dough and lightly press it into the pie pan.  If you are baking a single crust pie, you may need to pre-bake the dough or you can begin any decorative edge work such as crimping around the edge before pouring in your pie filling.  If you are baking a double crust pie, add your pie filling then prepare the top crust the same way you did the bottom.  Once you have put the top crust on, put the finishing touches on your pie such as decorative edging and vents.  Then bake as directed.

Comments are closed.