First thing’s first. No pie is a pie without the flaky, buttery crust! You can choose your own adventure at this starting point depending on how much time (or baking experience!) you have. Read on for a step-by-step tutorial for how to make homemade pie crust, but know that an easier option is here for you, should you need it, thanks to Pillsbury refrigerated pie crust.
Pre-Made Pie Crust
Pillsbury refrigerated pie crust is easy to work with and comes out tasting just like your grandma’s scratch recipe (don’t worry, we won’t tell!). Starting with pre-made pie dough saves you a whole lot of prep time, and gives you more wiggle room to make the filling and fancy up on the pie crust edges with a few styling tricks.
Have even less time? Head over to the frozen aisle at the grocery store and pick up a Pillsbury Pet-Ritz frozen crust. All you have to do is pour the pie filling in and bake—no rolling or styling required!
Homemade Pie Crust
Have some extra time on your hands? Then making a pie crust from scratch may be the avenue for you. Plus, there’s a certain bit of pride that’ll come along with seeing your finished pie on the table being devoured by your guests, knowing that you whipped it up from scratch. A little bit of labor and love goes a long way when it comes to making the perfect homemade pie crust. Keep these tips and step-by-step instructions at the ready and you’ll be a pastry pro in no time.
What you’ll need:
- Medium mixing bowl
- Rolling pin
- Pastry blender (or a fork, if you don’t have one)
- Plastic wrap or waxed paper
- 9-inch glass pie plate
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2/3 cup unsalted butter, shortening or lard, very cold
- 5-7 tablespoons ice-cold water
First, combine the flour and salt in a medium mixing bowl until well combined. Then, cut in the butter with a fork or pastry blender. You can also use shortening or lard in place of the butter—just make sure it’s super cold! Do this until the mixture looks like coarse crumbs with some pea-sized pieces sprinkled throughout.
Pro tip: butter, shortening and lard can all be used to make pie crust, but each ingredient has its own texture, color and taste to bring to the finished crust. Click here to learn more about the great “butter vs. shortening vs. lard” debate and decide for yourself which ingredient is right for your pastry.
Next, sprinkle in the ice water just a tablespoon at a time, lightly mixing with the fork, until the dough is just wet enough to form a ball when pressed together. You don’t want the dough to be too wet (it’ll be all sticky and difficult to work with!) but you don’t want it to be too dry either because it’ll crack and be hard to shape when you roll it out.
Shape the dough into two equal-sized balls and flatten them slightly to make small discs. Wrap each in some plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes. Let stand for about five minutes at room temperature before rolling out each disc.
On a lightly floured surface, roll one disc out into an 11-inch circle. Gently fold and place it into the pie plate and unfold—this is your bottom crust layer. Usually for pumpkin pie you don’t top with a second crust like you would for most fruit pies like apple pie. You can either make some decorative pie crust designs to place on top of your finished pie later, or put the second disc in the freezer to save for another pie day.
Pro top: pie dough will keep in the freezer for a couple months—wrap tightly in plastic wrap and place in a sealed freezer bag for best results. When you’re ready to make another pie, simply allow it to defrost in the refrigerator, then proceed with rolling it out as instructed above.