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Perfect Pie Pastry

Flaky pie crust, easy to roll and crimp

Make it easy, make three

Making pie pastry used to be something I found pretty frustrating.  The dough would be flaky but break up too much when rolled out.  Or the dough would be too wet and stick to the counter.  Sometimes it might not be flaky.  Over a decade ago, all of these opportunities for improvement transformed into success when my sister Sharon shared her Perfect Pie Pastry recipe.

Perfect-Pie-PastryWhat I love about this recipe is the dough is very pliable without being too sticky.  It makes a flaky crust and is easy to roll out.  It has some unconventional ingredients but the combination really works.  Then to solve the only remaining challenge of splitting edges, I divide the recipe into 3 crusts instead of 4.  Now with more dough to work with (duh! why hadn’t I thought of this before, it’s just math) as the outside splits a little when you roll it out you don’t have to worry if you will still have beautiful contiguous pastry.  It will be large enough for a 9-10” pie plate.  You’re going to love how easy it is to make and can be used for tarts and crostatas.   This is the recipe I used to make Southern Pecan Pie.

Recipe: Perfect Pie Pastry

Prep Time: 15 Minutes | Cook Time: 0 Minutes | Yield: 3 Pie Crusts | Level: Easy


  • 4 1/2 cups unsifted flour
  • 1 Tbsp sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 ¾ cups shortening, room temp
  • 1/2 cup cold water
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 Tbsp white vinegar

1 In a medium bowl, combine the flour, sugar and salt.
2 Cut in the shortening with a pastry cutter or fork until the mixture is in crumbles the size of peas.

3 In a 2 cup measuring cup or bowl add the water then add the vinegar and egg.  Give it a slight whip to combine.   Add the egg mixture to the flour mixture and stir just until it comes together.

4 Shape into 3 disks and wrap tightly with plastic wrap.  Chill for 45 minutes.
5 Roll out crusts one at a time.  Using the rolling pin, lift it into the pie plate.  With kitchen scissors, cut the dough one half inch beyond the edge of the plate then fold it under and crimp.  The disks can be frozen for future uses.

Shortening – Buy shortening wrapped in pre-measured sticks, easy and mess free.  Don’t use oil, lard, butter, or margarine.

Extra Pastry Dough – For a real kid pleaser (young or old), lay the extra pastry dough out on a baking sheet, sprinkle with some cinnamon sugar and bake until golden, about 4-8 minutes.

Dish Designer

  • This pie pastry can be filled before baking or it can be baked before filling for unbaked pies such as cream or ice cream pies.

Inspiration – Sharon Larson
Cook with Sauces
Written by
Photographs by Helen Horton
Updated: May 2, 2012

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11 Responses to Perfect Pie Pastry

  1. Audrey March 18, 2011 at 9:59 am #

    Basic crust making skills is a much needed post.

    • helenhorton March 18, 2011 at 11:00 am #

      The egg in this pastry transforms it into a golden crust when baked.

  2. Christi Bramwell October 25, 2012 at 12:27 pm #

    Why not butter? What causes a pie crust to shrink?

    • helenhorton October 28, 2012 at 8:32 am #

      Butter will make it taste better but it’s harder to work with and crumbles easier once baked. The shortening is flaky but has better structure. With the addition of the egg in this recipe, you get the added richness of the egg yolk so the flavor is better but it has the flaky structure of the shortening. You can use butter flavored shortening for more flavor and color.

      The tender dough will shrink when baked without filling in it as the shortening melts. If you bake a crust without filling, use pie weights or dry beans to help the crust hold it’s shape. Place a piece of foil over the crust and then add the weights or beans. Half way through the baking time, take the weights off for a golden brown pastry.

      • Christi Bramwell October 28, 2012 at 11:07 am #


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