Put down the pre-baked pie shells and pick up this fool-proof pie crust recipe, courtesy of Rebecca Masson of Fluff Bake Bar. Gone are the days grandma pie shames you – “Yes, it’s all scratch-made, Granny.” Victory is yours.
3 1/4 cup all purpose flour (Masson uses King Arthur Flour)
1 Tbsp. sugar
1 tsp. salt
8 oz. cold butter, cubed
1/2 cup cold water
METHOD: To begin, measure out all of the ingredients. In a food processor, pulse together the dry ingredients. Add cold butter and pulse until it forms a coarse crumble. With the mixture on medium-low, slowly pour in the cold water. Pulse until the dough begins to come together. Empty the dough onto the counter and gently knead until all the crumbly dough bits are fully incorporated. Wrap in plastic film and chill in the refrigerator for four hours or overnight. At this point, you can also freeze the dough. If you choose to freeze, remove from the freezer and set in the refrigerator a day in advance before using.
When ready to bake, sprinkle flour over the surface where you will roll out the dough. Hit the dough a few times with your rolling pin to evenly flatten. While rolling, be sure to continually rotate the dough 90 degrees or else the dough will shrink unevenly while baking. Roll out until 1/8 inch thick and then dock or prick the dough with a fork. Cut a 12-inch circle and place in a 9-inch pie pan. Fold the scraps (don’t ball!) and save for decorations or a lattice top. Gently settle the dough into the pan and then fold/pinch up the edge. Using one hand’s pointer finger and the other hand’s thumb and point finger, crimp the folded edge.
Blind bake (for non-baked pie fillings like lemon meringue): Cover the crust with parchment paper and fill with beans. Bake at 325-350°F for 15 to 20 minutes. Remove the beans and paper and continue baking for another 10 to 15 minutes until golden brown.
Par bake (for quiches or if you are using a ceramic pie pan): Follow the instructions above for blind baking, but once the beans are removed, continue to bake for just five more minutes (not 10 to 15). The pie crust should still be pale in color.
Filled pies (fruit, pumpkin, pecan, etc.): Follow the recipe for your preferred pie filling and pour into the raw pie shell. Here is when you can incorporate a lattice top from the dough scraps, or cut out little designs to lay on top. For Masson’s fresh fruit pies, she starts the baking at 400°F for 10 minutes, then rotates and drops the temperature 25 degrees every 10 minutes until done. For her pumpkin and pecan pies, she begins the baking at 375°F, then rotates and drops the temperature 25 degrees every 10 minutes until done.