A flaky pie crust can make the difference between a good pie and an exceptional pie. Making flaky pie crusts is a skill that takes time and the right knowledge to master. With practice, you can make a flaky pie crust that just melts in your mouth and has your guests begging for more.
Things You Will Need
2 cups flour
2/3 cups vegetable shortening
1/2 tsp salt
Water, ice cold
Place the shortening in a bowl and put it in the fridge until it is cold. Meanwhile, stir the salt and flour together in a separate medium-sized bowl.
Add the shortening to the flour and mix with a pastry blender. If you don't have a pastry blender, use two butter knives drawn across each other to cut the shortening in. Break the shortening up until you have pea-sized pieces of shortening coated with flour. These clumps of shortening are what make your pie crust flaky.
Use a fork to gently push the shortening mixture to one side of the bowl. Sprinkle one Tablespoon of water on a portion of the mix and gently press the mix together with the fork. Add small amounts of water at a time and disturb the dough as little as possible. Be careful not to break up the shortening pieces.
If you want to have a top crust, divide your pie crust dough into two balls. Cover the dough with saran wrap and place it back in the fridge for about one hour to rest. Mixing the dough activated the gluten in the flour, so you need to let the dough relax a bit. If you build up too much gluten, your pie crust will be tough instead of flaky. Refrigerating the dough keeps the shortening cold so it doesn't lose its form.
Wipe some water on the counter and put a piece of waxed paper down on top of the water. Place one of the balls of dough on the waxed paper, leaving the other in the fridge. Flatten the dough with your hand and put another piece of waxed paper on top. Roll the pie crust dough out between the two pieces of waxed paper with a rolling pin.
Gently remove the top waxed paper piece. Lift the pie crust dough using the bottom piece of waxed paper, turn it over and place it into the pie dish. Carefully remove the waxed paper. Patch any cracks or tears in the pie crust dough with extra dough from the edges. Place the pie dish in the fridge to chill.
Roll out the top pie crust if desired. Place the filling into the pie dish and add the top crust. Trim and seal the edges of the pie crust. Poke several holes in the pie crust top with a fork.
Bake the pie crust until the filling is done and the crust is golden. You can cover the edges of the pie crust with aluminum foil to keep them from burning.
The main thing to remember when making a flaky pie crust is
to keep the dough cold and handle it as little as possible. If the dough ever
starts to feel warm, pop it back in the fridge to cool it down. Keep practicing your technique and, before you know it, you will be making flaky pie crusts like the pros.