Primary Pie Crust

When it comes to baking, there are all kinds.

There is the sneak into the store and buy Mrs. Somebody in the freezer section and offer it as a “home-baked” pie.

There is the sneak in and buy some Pills-somebody pie crust and a can of apple-pie filling, opening up them both, combining and presenting that as “home-baked” pie.

There is the buy the pie crust and mix up your own fruit and bake it, presenting that at “home-baked.”

And then there is the purist–make your pie crust and make your filling.

I almost gave up trying to make pie crust. It was either so sticky that I couldn’t scrape it off the counter, or it was so hard it wouldn’t roll without cracking up and falling apart.


Until I got a Joy of Cooking cookbook and tried their Deluxe Butter Flaky Pastry Dough, otherwise known as Páte Brisée if you want to be French about it.

Since then, I’ve never had a pie crust that failed. Ever.

So make it and then tell everyone that you made it so they will be suitably impressed.


  • 2  1/2 c flour
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 sticks butter, chopped up in pieces and cold
  • 1/4 vegetable shortening
  • about 1/2 c of water with a couple of ice cubes in it.


  1. Now I use a food processor, but you can do this with a pastry blender. Put the flour in the processor along with the sugar and salt. Whir for a couple of seconds to mix.
  2. I take one stick of butter at a time and cube up into about 1/2 dice. Add that to the flour, spreading it around, and then pulse until it resembles pebbles. Then do the same with the other stick. (This allows for bigger pieces of butter, and adds flakiness in my opinion)
  3. Then add the shortening (which adds tenderness to the dough). Pulse until the whole thing resembles course pebbles.
  4. Now, turn on the processor, and grab the water, and pour in a slow stream into the turning processor, holding back the ice cubes as you do so. Stop the second the dough “comes together”.
  5. Remove from the processor bowl, and divide in half, wrapping each in plastic wrap and placing in the fridge for 30 minutes. (This will keep for a couple of days if you need it to).
  6. Remove one at a time, roll out on a floured work surface and proceed with your pie recipe.

Serves: makes 2 9-inch crusts for one pie

9 thoughts on “Primary Pie Crust

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