This is the best pie crust recipe in the whole wide world. This is the recipe to end all recipes. This pie crust recipe is all you’ll ever need to make perfect, flaky, tender pie crusts that roll out like a dream.
What’s so special about this recipe, you ask? Vodka.
Yes, vodka. See, the problem with most pie crust recipes is that (1) they have very little water, which will yield great texture in the finished product, but is VERY difficult to work with; or (2) the dough is moist and forgiving to work with, but has a tough end texture. Vodka solves this dilemma: it provides moisture to the dough when you are working with it, but evaporates during baking, resulting in the perfect crust texture at the end. Don’t worry, the vodka will not impact the taste of the crust at all, nor will it give you a buzz!
Here are some other tricks I’ve learned along the way:
- Keep everything cold cold cold! Heat is a flaky pie crust’s enemy- I like to use ice water, chilled vodka and shortening, and frozen butter in making my crust.
- Fat controls texture. Butter makes for a flaky, flavorful crust, but the crust won’t hold its shape as well in the oven. Shortening helps with the shape, but will yield a less-flaky, flatter-tasting crust. I’ve found a 4:1 ratio of butter to shortening to be the best of both worlds.
- Tears are fixable. To patch a tear, wet a scrap of dough and place wet-side down over the hole. All better!
- Bake on a cookie sheet. Not only will this catch any drips from a fruit pie, but a cookie sheet stored in a pre-heated oven will help the bottom crust crisp up. No more soggy bottom crust!
If you need a double crust for your recipe, check out my No-Fear, No-Fail Pie Crust (Double) recipe. It will save you the trouble of having to double the ingredients below in your head as you bake.
No-Fear, No-Fail Pie Crust (Single)
Who'd have guessed that VODKA would produce the most tender, most flaky, most forgiving pie crust recipe of all time
- 1 ¼ cups flour (6 ¼ ounces – divided)
- ½ teaspoon table salt
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 8 tablespoons cold unsalted butter (1 stick), cut into ¼-inch slices
- 2 tablespoons chilled solid vegetable shortening, cut into 4 pieces
- 2 tablespoons vodka, cold
- 2 tablespoons cold water
- Combine 3/4 cups flour, salt, and sugar together in food processor until combined, about 2 seconds. Add butter and shortening and process until uniform dough just starts to collect in uneven clumps, about 10 seconds (there will be some small pieces of butter remaining, but should not be any uncoated flour). Redistribute dough evenly around processor blade with a rubber spatula. Add remaining 1/2 cup flour and pulse until mixture is evenly distributed around bowl and mass of dough has been broken up, 4 to 6 quick pulses. Empty mixture into medium bowl.
- Sprinkle vodka and water evenly over flour mixture. Fold dough with rubber spatula until dough sticks together. Flatten dough into 4-inch disk. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 45 minutes or up to 2 days. Dough can also be frozen at this point in a ziploc bag for up to a month.
- Adjust oven rack to lowest position, place rimmed baking sheet on oven rack, and heat oven to 425 degrees. Roll refrigerated dough out on floured (up to ¼ cup) work surface to 12-inch circle about 1/8 inch thick. Roll dough loosely around rolling pin and unroll into pie plate, leaving at least 1-inch overhang on each side. I use a bench scraper to help wrap the dough around the rolling pin.
- Working around circumference, ease dough into plate by gently lifting edge of dough with one hand while pressing into plate bottom with other hand. Refrigerate until dough is firm, about 30 minutes.
- Trim overhanging dough to ½ inch beyond lip of pie plate. Fold overhang under itself; folded edge should sit flush on top of the edge of the pie plate (this will help the crust not to shrink in the oven). Flute dough or press the tines of a fork against dough to flatten it against rim of pie plate. Refrigerate dough-lined plate until firm, about 15 minutes.
- Remove pie pan from refrigerator, line crust with foil, and fill with pie weights or pennies. Bake for 15 minutes. Remove foil and weights, rotate plate, and bake for 5 to 10 minutes additional minutes until crust is golden brown and crisp.