Buttery Pie & Tart Crust

Buttery Pie & Tart Dough. Photo © Molly Watson
  • 15 mins
  • Prep: 15 mins,
  • Cook: 0 mins
  • Yield: 1 pie crust (8 servings)
Ratings (7)

Pies and tarts are wonderful ways to use local, seasonal produce. This basic one-crust recipe makes a flaky yet buttery crust that works with either sweet or savory tarts and pies. For a double-crusted or lattice-crust pie, like Peach Pie or Blueberry Pie, simply double the recipe. Find more delicious pie recipes here.

What You'll Need

  • 1 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup sugar (for sweet pies and tarts only)
  • 1/8 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1 stick (4 ounces) butter, chilled and cut into pieces
  • 3 Tablespoons ice water or ice-cold vodka

How to Make It

  1. In a large bowl, combine the flour, sugar (if using), and salt. Drop the butter pieces into bowl.
  2. Use your fingers, a fork, a pastry cutter, or two knives to work the butter into the flour mixture until it resembles cornmeal with stray pea-size pieces of butter in it. (Feel free to do this in a food processor; simple pulse the mixture until the desired texture is achieved, usually just a few pulses.)
  1. Pour 2 tablespoons of ice water or chilled vodka (see why vodka makes flaky crusts) over the mixture and stir until it comes together (add another tablespoon of water or vodka if it remains too dry to pull into a dough).
  2. Turn the mixture onto a well-floured work surface. Knead it once or twice to create a ball of dough. While you don't want to overwork the dough, you also want it to be a dough, not a bowl of clumps and crumbs. Pat the dough into a disk shape about 1/2-inch thick, wrap it in plastic wrap, and chill at least 30 minutes and up to 3 days. (This chilling and resting time is key to ending up with a dough that won't shrink back when it's rolled out and baked.)
  3. Unwrap the disk of dough and put it on a well-floured surface. Roll it into an 11- to 12-inch circle, turning the dough 90° between each pass of the rolling pin to make sure it doesn't stick (lift the dough and re-flour surface if the dough starts to stick at all).
  4. Fold the dough in half over the rolling pin. Use the pin to lift the dough half-way over a pie plate or tart pan. Let the dough drop into pan (if you push or force it into place it will only shrink back to its original shape when baked). Cover and chill until ready to use.

For more insights into making perfect pie crust, check out these 10 Tips for Homemade Pie Crust.