Gallery: The Food Lab: The Science of Pie Dough

Perfect Pie Crust
Perfect Pie Crust
Buttery, flaky, and tender.
Use a Scale!
Use a Scale!
Make sure to use a scale to measure out your flour. Dry cup measures can differ by as much as 50 percent! I use 6.25 ounces of flour per single pie crust, or 12.5 ounces for a double-crusted pie.
Process
Process
Process 2/3rds of your flour along with the sugar and the salt (a tablespoon of sugar and a 1/4 teaspoon of salt per crust).
Add Your Fat
Add Your Fat
Add butter (and/or shortening if using) at a ratio of 1 stick (1/4 pound or 8 tablespoons) per 5 ounces of flour. So for a double crusted, 12.5-ounce batch, that'd be 2 1/2 sticks of butter, cut into pats.
Pulse Until Pasty
Pulse Until Pasty
Pulse the butter into the flour until a nearly smooth paste forms. A few clumps of butter are fine, but there should be no dry flour remaining (yes, this is not how a traditional pie crust is made).
Pulse in Dry Flour
Pulse in Dry Flour
After forming the flour/fat paste, spread it evenly around the bowl of the processor then add the remaining 1/3 of the flour and pulse until the large clumps of paste break up. Just two or three short pulses. Transfer it to a bowl.
Add Water
Add Water
Sprinkle the dough with 3 tablespoons of cold water per pie crust.
Press Together
Press Together
Use a spatula to press the dough together until it forms a single ball. If making a double-crusted pie, divide the ball in half.
Form a Disk
Form a Disk
Form the ball into a disk and place right in the center of a piece of plastic wrap. Wrap it tightly, then chill for at least two hours.
Begin Rolling
Begin Rolling
Begin rolling out the dough on a well-floured surface, rotating and flipping it regularly as you progress until it is too large to flip easily. If your dough has been refrigerated over night, you may need to let it warm for a few minutes before rolling.
Continue Rolling
Continue Rolling
Continue rolling until the crust is about 2 inches wider all around than your pie plate.
Use a Bench Scraper
Use a Bench Scraper
A wide bench scraper will help you lift your dough over the rolling pin with minimal breakage.
Transfer
Transfer
Slide a pie plate under the dough and drape it gently over the top. Make sure it's centered!
Nice Fit
Nice Fit
To fit the crust into the plate, gently lift the edge with one hand while using the other to form it into the corners. You should not have to squish the dough at all—you want it to maintain a uniform thickness.
Trim
Trim
Use scissors to trim the edge of the dough so that it overhangs the pie plate by about 1/2 an inch. For a double-crusted pie, fill the pie with your chilled filling and place the top crust on top before trimming both pie crust edges together.
Fold Under
Fold Under
Fold the edge of the crust underneath itself so that you create a slightly thickened edge that's flush with the lip of the pie plate. If shaping a double-crusted pie, both edges should be folded underneath together.
Flute
Flute
Flute the edges of the crust with the forefinger and thumb of one hand and just the forefinger of the other.
Baked
Baked
Your pie crust should bake up tender and flaky.