During certain times of the year, many people spend a lot of time in the kitchen baking pies. Homemade pies are special, and they help to make various holidays even better.
No matter what type you’re making, it’s important to pay attention to the crust. You need the crust to turn out well or the entire pie will be thrown off.
Many people utilize food processors to make preparing pie crusts easier. If you’re used to doing things this way, you might be thrown off if you don’t have one available.
How can you make pie crust without a food processor? Read on to find out!
Gather the Necessary Ingredients
Of course, to be able to make the crust, you’re going to need to have the necessary ingredients. To get started, gather all of the ingredients that you’ll need to make a delicious pie crust.
There are many different recipes for pie crusts out there, and some might use slightly different ingredients than others.
That being said, this article is going to present you with a very popular and common recipe for pie crust. This should allow you to make one that will work well with many different types of pies.
You’re going to need flour, sugar, salt, ice water, and either butter or shortening depending on which you prefer. It’s also notable that some people choose to utilize both butter and shortening when making crusts.
The type of flour that you use will depend on what type of crust you want to make. If you consider yourself to be a beginner or just an average baker, you should probably stick with all-purpose flour.
It’s also possible to use wheat flour or pastry flour, but there’s no need unless you need to avoid using all-purpose flour for some reason. Different types of flour can alter the texture of the crust, but most find all-purpose flour to be very good for creating basic pie crusts.
Sugar is technically an optional ingredient, but it can certainly add some flavor to the pie crust if you choose to use it. It also helps the pie crusts to brown, and that will make your pie look that much more presentable.
Just don’t add too much sugar when making a pie crust. Too much sugar will make the crust tough to roll out, and this means that sticking to one tablespoon of sugar is highly recommended.
Salt is also used to enhance the flavor of pie crusts. You should use standard table salt.
The ice water is going to work to help hold the crust together. Get one-half of a cup of water and put a few ice cubes in the cup.
Failure to add water will make it hard for the crust to hold together, and it’ll likely break apart when you’re trying to roll it out. Using ice water is a handy little trick that will make your life easier.
You should use enough that it’ll be easy to form the dough into a ball that can be rolled out. Keep this in mind and you should have a fairly easy time rolling the crust out.
How to Make Pie Crust Step-by-Step
Now that you know the ingredients that you’ll need, you just need to learn how to go about making pie crusts. You might be familiar with how to make them with a food processor, but this will teach you how to get the job done without one.
This isn’t really that hard to do, and you don’t need to be a culinary expert to make tasty and pretty pie crusts. You just need to have a good understanding of what steps you need to take.
Start by Mixing the Dry Ingredients
To start, you’re going to want to mix the dry ingredients together. This means adding the flour, salt, and sugar to a bowl and whisking everything together.
Combining the ingredients using a standard hand whisk won’t take that long. Technically, you could use an electric mixer to get this done, but it’s probably easier to use a whisk and it’s less likely to make a mess.
Once everything has been combined properly, you’ll be ready to move on to the next step. You’re doing well so far, and you shouldn’t feel as if you really need a food processor at all.
Add the Butter or Shortening
It’s now time to add the butter or shortening (although it can be done without either) to the bowl with the dry ingredients. There is something to note before proceeding, though.
This process is going to be a lot easier if you ensure that the butter or shortening has been chilled first. It’s recommended to use butter that has been in the fridge.
Why does this matter? Well, soft butter or shortening will wind up blending into the flour.
If this occurs, the pie crust won’t rise quite as much when it’s baked in the oven. Using chilled butter and shortening solves this little problem nicely.
This makes it so that the fat will melt down inside of the oven. You’ll be able to make a pie crust that has flaky layers, and you’ll be quite pleased with the results.
Some go so far as to remove the butter from the fridge and then place it into the freezer after it has been cut into pieces. You’ll probably be fine just using butter that has been taken out of the fridge, but you could chill the butter pieces in the fridge if you’re so inclined.
As for combining the butter with the dry ingredients, just use your hands and toss the butter in the flour. Keep doing this until the butter pieces are coated.
Next, grab a pastry cutter and start cutting the butter into the flour. You keep pressing the pastry cutter into the flour until the mixture has the consistency of coarse cornmeal.
If you don’t have a pastry cutter, you can use a large fork to get the job done. There will still be large chunks of the butter or shortening in the mixture at this point.
Add the Water
Adding the water is the next part of the process. You should start by adding four tablespoons of ice water to the mixture.
Start mixing everything together using a spatula. As you mix, you’ll want to add another tablespoon of water at a time.
Eventually, you will have added the entire one and a half cups of water. Keep mixing for a little while.
The dough should form large clumps and hold together if you’ve done things right. Squeeze the dough using your hands to test things out and see how you’re doing.
You can stop adding water when the dough feels right. It’s possible that you won’t need to use as much ice water as you prepared, so it’s a good idea to keep checking the mixture to see how things are going.
Remember that you don’t want the mixture to resemble pizza dough. It should be a bit crumbly, and there will be large clumps present.
Adding too much water can be a problem because the dough will be too soft. If you don’t add enough water, the crust will be far too tough.
This might be the hardest aspect of making a pie crust. Sometimes it can be tricky for beginners to get things just right, but so long as you’re paying attention to the consistency of the crust, you’ll be able to get this done.
Shape the Dough
After the steps above, you’re just going to need to shape the dough. Ensure that you have the right space to work with so that you can get this job done.
You want to be able to shape the dough on a flat surface. You might use some type of slip mat, or you could even use a clean counter so long as it’s completely flat.
Prepare the workspace by flouring the area. Flour your hands as well, and then start gathering the dough to form it into a ball.
Cut the ball of dough in half. Flatten each of these halves into small discs.
The small dough discs should be roughly one inch thick. Try to make it so that the edges are as smooth as possible.
With this done, you’re going to want to chill the dough. Wrap the dough discs in plastic and refrigerate them for at least two hours.
Once enough time has passed, you’ll be able to remove the dough discs from the fridge so that you can roll them out. It’s notable that you can also choose to store the dough discs for longer periods of time if you’d like to use them later.
You could refrigerate these discs for up to four days. The discs could also be frozen for up to three months.
If you do choose to freeze the dough, remember to allow the discs to thaw in the fridge overnight before trying to use them.
It’s very likely that you want to make a pie crust right now, though. In that case, just chill the dough in the fridge for a few hours and move on to the next step.
Rolling the Dough Out
Rolling the dough out is the next step, and you’ll need a good rolling pin for this (or try one of these rolling pin substitutes if you don’t have one). You’ll want to get your pie filling ready during this time as well.
Let the dough discs sit out at room temperature for five minutes. After this, you’ll want to place the disc on a flat work surface that has been floured.
Take your rolling pin and start rolling the dough out. It’s best to start from the middle of the disc and roll things out from there.
Be sure to turn the dough and roll each side as well. It’d be wise to lift the dough occasionally to ensure that it isn’t sticking to the work surface.
Continue to roll the dough out until it is bigger than the pie dish that you plan to use. If you’re baking a ten-inch pie, you’ll want the dough to be roughly thirteen inches in diameter.
Take the time to gently place the pie crust on the pie dish. If you’re having trouble doing this, you should know that using the rolling pin can help.
You can roll the dough over your rolling pin and lift the pin to transfer it to the pie dish. Simply unroll the dough using the pin, and then spread the dough as necessary on the pie dish.
If you’re using a slipmat, you could just place the pie dish on top of the dough with the top part facing down. While holding the bottom of the pie pan, flip the mat upside down so that the dough will now be on the pie dish.
Whatever method you choose, just be careful not to break the dough apart. You want to press the dough into the sides of the pie dish.
When this is done, you’ll use a sharp knife to cut away the excess dough that is hanging over the sides. You can then use your fingers to crimp the rim so that the pie crust will look very presentable after it finishes baking.
What About the Second Disc?
The second disc that you made earlier can be used for a few different purposes. You can either roll it out and make it into another pie crust, or you can use it to make a lattice cover for a pie.
Lattice covers are commonly seen on apple pies, cherry pies, and many other popular pie types. Depending on what you’re baking, you might need a lattice cover for the top of the pie.
Making a lattice cover simply involves cutting the dough into thin strips. You then put the strips on the top of the pie in whatever crisscross pattern you think looks the best.
If you’re making a pumpkin pie or something along those lines, you won’t need a lattice cover. You might just wish to use the second disc to make another pie crust so that you can have two of them.
After all, many people make multiple pies to celebrate holidays. You want everyone to feel as if they can go back for seconds since your pies will surely turn out deliciously.
Sarah is the founder of Baking Kneads, LLC, a blog sharing guides, tips, and recipes for those learning how to bake. Growing up as the daughter of a baker, she spent much of her childhood learning the basics in a local bakery.