The hallmark of a pro baker is a delicious homemade pie crust. I'm talking the all-butter, flakey AF, golden miracle. This is the ultimate homemade buttery pie crust that you've been dreaming about. Perfect for fruit and savoury pies, mini-hand pies, and even galettes. You'll be using this one all season!
NOTE: This recipe creates more than enough dough for latticing. I find that you need at least 4 cups of flour total to lattice.
Why this is the Ultimate Home-made Pie Crust
I've eaten a lot of pie, so I KNOW what I like and dislike when it comes to pie. While fillings are important when it comes to pie, the crust will either make or break the experience. What I love about this recipe is that it's rich. By rich I mean, you can TASTE the butter and the crust flakes apart on the fork.
For any first time pie-crust makers, I totally understand how intimidating this can be. From pie crust that crack or split when being rolled; to being burnt and unevenly cooked in the oven, this bloops are enough to deter any baker. So I'm breaking down the ultimate homemade buttery pie crust with step-by-step photos, PLUS my favourite extra step, and tips and tricks to trouble shoot any pie crust.
What is Fraisage?
This is my extra step to the ultimate buttery flakey crust! I don't do this for all my pies, but definitely for hand-pies. While the name sounds super complicated and fancy, it's anything but! All it means is that the dough gets smeared, and scraped against a flat surface. If you're familiar with puff pastry, and the laminating process, this result is VERY similar. By smearing, you're building layers LAYERS, of butter aka extra flakiness. BOOM.
Ingredients for the Ultimate Homemade Buttery Pie Crust
All-Purpose Flour: While you can use cake flour, or pastry flour, an all-purpose pie crust is easier to roll out.
Whole Wheat Flour: This is my secret to a golden crust. Whole wheat flour is not only healthier but ups the flavour.
Milk: While you can use ice water, I like adding milk because it add additional flavour. Almond, or oat milk is also great, and doesn't affect flavour.
Granulated Sugar: For a little bit of sweetness to balance out all the richness.
Butter: Salted or unsalted, it's up to you! Splurge and get butter with higher butter fat to ensure a flakey crust.
Apple Cider Vinegar: Secret ingredient #2! This helps make the pie crust easier to roll out and prevents the gluten from over-developing so you get a tender crust.
Egg Yolk (optional): This is totally optional, but I never make pie without this! It adds so much richness to the crust, and since egg works as a binder, it's the ultimate trick to ensure a smooth pliable pie crust.
Step-by-Step: How To Make This Pie Crust
Step 1: In a large bowl, stir together the flours & salt to combine.
Step 2: Add the butter slices into the flour
Rub the butter into the flour with your fingertips until the mixture resembles sand with large almond-sized/pea butter chunks.
Step 3: Add the milk, vinegar, sugar and the beaten egg yolk in to the center of the bowl.
Slowly start incorporating the flour from the inside out. Squeeze/knead the dough together so clumps of dough form. While it may seems a bit dry, keep kneading until all of the flour has come into contact with the liquids. If, once all the liquid is gone, and the do it still dry (i.e there are large particles of flour) slowly stream in more milk a tablespoon at a time.
STOP KNEADING once the dough is shaggy and JUST is holding together when squeezed. There should be clumps of butter visible throughout.
Fraisage: Smear portions of dough across the counter using the heel of your hand.
(optional) - FOR THE ULTIMATE FLAKEY CRUST
Step 4: Form into two disc, wrap in cling wrap, and chill for at least 30 minutes or up to 2 days.
See here, how my dough is not too dry, yet not a wet mass? the dough is also smooth and pliable enough for me to indent the surface with a press of my finger.
Tips & Tricks for the Ultimate Homemade Flaky Pie Crust
Keep the pie cold. It may seem extra to chill the pie before filling and again before baking, but by chilling the dough, it allows the gluten to relax making it easier to roll out.
Cold liquids and butter. I always say this, but I'll say it again! Cold butter and liquid means a flakier crust. If the butter melts, the dough will tougher, and more bread-like.
Let the crust come to room temperature. There's nothing more frustrating than a crust that won't roll out. Be patient, and let it be pliable enough your finger can press into the dough.
BONUS: Wet Fillings: If you're going to be filling your pie with a wet filling or watery fruit, let BOTH chill in the fridge before hand, and ALWAYS pour out excess water from your filling. Additionally, you can brush the inside of bottom crust with egg white before baking, freeze, then fill with the CHILLED filling.
And there you have it, the ultimate homemade buttery pie crust that will have your friends and family calling you a baking boss (or thinking you bought it at a store!) I hope these pictures have demystified the process. Happy Baking!
Ultimate Homemade Buttery Pie Crust
- 2.5 cups (300g) All-purpose flour
- 1.5 cups (180g) whole wheat flour
- 1.5 cups (340g) unsalted butter cold, sliced into ¼ inch slices
- 2 tbsp (25g) granulated sugar
- 1 tsp salt
- ⅓ cup (79ml) water cold
- 2 tbsp (30ml) apple cider vinegar
- 1 small egg yolk lightly beaten
- In a large bowl, stir together the flours, sugar, and salt to combine.
- Add the butter slices into the flour, and rub the butter into the flour with your fingertips until the mixture resembles sand with large walnut-sized butter chunks.
- Stir together the water and apple cider vinegar. Make a well in the center of the flour mixture and add the water mixture. Add the sugar and dissolve by stirring with finger tips. Finally, add the beaten egg yolk.
- Gradually incorporate the flour mix into the liquid, starting from the inside of the well. When the liquid has disappeared, use both hands to mix the pastry until it has an even consistency. Do not overwork it – when all the ingredients are combined, and just holding together, it is ready.
- Unless processing with additional step, wrap in cling wrap, and chill for 30 minutes or up to 2 days
additional step for an extra flakey crust
- Dump the dough out onto a counter, divide it roughly into palm sized portions, and "fraisage" by dragging a portion of dough across the surface using the heel of your hand. Scrape up the dough (a metal bench scraper works well here), gently press it into a ball and flatten into a disc.
- Wrap in cling wrap, and chill for 30 minutes or up to 2 days
when ready to use
- Let the pie crust come to room temperature for 10-15 minutes before rolling out and using as per recipe instructs.
- All-purpose flour can be substituted for whole wheat, spelt etc. just make sure the final flour amount is 4 cups.
- When using whole wheat flours, more milk may be needed, add in 1 tbsp increments until the dough holds together.