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Perfect Pie Dough

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Make Grandma proud with this amazing, perfect pie dough recipe. Made with 4 ingredients and a little elbow grease, this pie dough will become your go-to flaky pie crust recipe.

The two of us would sit at the island, wearing aprons 5 sizes too big, wide-eyed and ready to help. Our house smelled of freshly baked cookies, vanilla, and sugar.

Memere was visiting and helping us cross items off our baked goods wishlist.

When we were young, my sister Kate and I would request cookies, it's a not so well kept secret that my mom can't bake cookies! My dad always asked for date squares. And my mom, well she was easy, she always asked Memere to help make some pie dough for later use.

Kate and I spent years watching Memere's weathered and perfectly wrinkled hands mix pie dough for our mom. Not just any pie dough. Perfect pie dough. This pie dough.

This recipe has been passed down from our Memere and will always be cherished.

A dark berry pie with flaky pie crust star cut outs as the pie crust topper.
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PIE DOUGH VS PIE CRUST

Most people use the two terms interchangeably.

Although I believe the pie dough is pre-cook and the pie crust is post-cook - to help others to find this recipe by including both search terms.

What's your take? Is it pie crust, pie dough, or a mix of both?

PIE DOUGH TIPS AND TRICKS:

FIGHT the urge. Do NOT knead the dough. Use your fingers to rub together the lard and flour.

AVOID overworking the dough. Once you add the water, start cutting the dough with a pastry cutter to incorporate the water, until combined, and then stop before overworking. It's ok to think the dough is under mixed - by the time you've rolled into a ball for resting and rolled out for pie dough, it's going to be perfectly combined.

ADD 1/2 cup of water, cut in, then add more if required. This helps to keep the dough from becoming overhydrated.

GET a sturdy pastry cutter. The style with wires instead of actual paddles doesn't work well in this application. You can also use two knives, but a cutter is a helpful gadget.

YOUR hands will get dirty, it's cathartic! And the lard will leave them feeling luxurious.

DON'T be afraid to use a lot of flour on your rolling surface and rolling pin. Pie dough that sticks needs more flour. I like to roll, then quarter turn my disc, then roll again, then turn. I also throw a flip in there too.

EGG wash is the ticket to the golden colour on the surface of the pie. And a quick sprinkle of dark brown sugar ontop the egg wash never hurt anybody. {Just thinking about it gives me the human equivalent of heart eyes emoji}

CHECK out my video too! There's something about seeing it that really helps with this recipe.

A slice of blueberry pie with flaky pie crust on a white plate.

ONLY 4 INGREDIENTS REQUIRED:

  • flour
  • salt
  • lard
  • water

A note on ingredients:

Memere swears by Tenderflake lard, which is Canadian, if you don't have access, just use another high-quality neutral-tasting lard! You know Tenderflake is good when Bon Appetit writes an article extolling its virtues! Do NOT use vegetable shortening.

Use cool or room temperature water - warm or hot water will melt the lard.

HOW TO MAKE PIE DOUGH:

  1. Measure the flour and salt into a large bowl.
  2. Whisk to combine.
  3. Rub in the lard.
  4. Add water, and blend with a pastry cutter.
  5. Let sit for 30 minutes before rolling.

Blueberry pie with perfect pie crust that has a wedge cut into it, and 3 balls of ice cream on top.

Pie dough questions / troubleshooting:

My dough is really wet

This is easily remedied but working a small amount of flour into the dough before you begin rolling.

Can I make ahead?

Absolutely! I love this pie dough even more because I can make it ahead of time for later.

I usually mix up a batch of dough and split in half. Use one half for pies today and tightly wrap the second half in saran wrap and place in a freezer bag and freeze for later use.

To use the frozen pie crust, simply place it on the counter and allow to come to room temperature before rolling.

Lard.... Are you sure?

Yes. Embrace the lard! Butter is great, but when it comes to pie dough, lard is king!

Funny aside - when I was whipping up this batch of pie crust for the photos and video, Kevin walked by and snickered - Hey babe, have you heard the power of lard?

I had not.

Apparently, that's an industrial rock song from the late 80s. Ha

When you say.... rub??

I really mean rub.

You need to use the tips of your fingers to rub the lard and flour together. If you use your whole hand and mush, you risk heating up the lard too much and that will ruin the batch.

A blueberry pie with star shaped cut outs creating negative space in the flaky pie crust topping.

Honestly, though

Is there anything better in life than a nice warm pie with the perfect flaky golden- brown pie crust?

Hard no.

I mean, this pie crust is so good, my 9-year-old is constantly asking us if we're gonna eat our crust. Have you ever seen a kid ask for pie crust?

How To Use Pie Crust:

Pie crust is a versatile recipe to have in your repertoire. Pie dough has tons of uses like: as a topping for chicken pot pie, or French onion soup. Or to make sweet peach hand pies and savoury meat hand pies.

A good pie crust is a perfect base for homemade poptarts or as the bottom crust of a kick-ass quiche.

Do you have a favourite pie recipe? Drop a comment below!

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📖 Printable Recipe

A blueberry pie with star shaped cut outs creating negative space in the flaky pie crust topping.
Yield: ~6 Pies (tops & bottoms)

PERFECT FLAKY PIE CRUST

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Rest Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes

Just like Gramma used to make! Made with 4 ingredients and a little elbow grease, this pie dough will become your go-to flaky pie crust recipe. Handed down from my grandmother, this recipe, and her tips & tricks, are a keeper!

Ingredients

  • 4 cups all-purpose or pastry flour
  • 1 tbsp salt
  • 1 lb lard
  • 1/2 - 3/4 cup water

Instructions

  1. Whisk together flour and salt in a large bowl.
  2. Break up lard into the flour.
  3. Rub lard and flour together until shaggy but mostly combined.
  4. Add water - starting with 1/2 cup and cut in with pastry blender until just combined. Add more water if required.
  5. Wrap tightly in plastic wrap and let rest for 30 minutes.
  6. Flour the rolling surface and rolling pin.
  7. Cut 1/4 of the pie dough and flour the surface, place on the rolling surface and roll it, rotating every pass, until it can cover the pie plate.
  8. Fold the dough in half, then in quarters and place the dough on the pie plate and unfold.
  9. Bake blind, or fill with the desired filling.
  10. If covering pie, follow steps 6-8 to make a cover - remembering to cut holes in the top.
  11. Bake pie according to pie directions, if the pie crust starts to get too dark during baking, simply cover with tin foil.

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Nutrition Information:

Yield:

48

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 175Total Fat: 14gSaturated Fat: 6gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 7gCholesterol: 20mgSodium: 223mgCarbohydrates: 11gFiber: 1gSugar: 3gProtein: 2g

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