All Butter Pie Crust Tutorial: 5 Methods {Videos}

5 different methods for making a perfect flakey, all butter pie crust that won’t shrink! Plus a video tutorial for whichever method you choose! No matter where you are or what tools you have, I’ve got you covered!

All Butter Pie Crust Video Tutorials for 5 different methods! Get a perfect flakey crust every single time!

A perfectly flaky, all butter pie crust (that doesn’t shrink) is as elusive as the perfect pair of jeans.

BCS (Before Culinary School) pie crust scared me. Why could I never get the right amount of water; why did it always shrink shamefully into nothing; why was it never flaky enough without shortening or vodka?

After failure after failure, I felt defeated and pathetic. [And let’s not even MENTION the Thanksgiving of 2014 Pie Crust Disaster …]

Who’s with me? I feel ya.

Pie-Crust-Tutorials-Snapshot151115Pie Crust Tutorial Food Processor-Camera 1-11

It took 6 months of culinary school and dozens of perfectly baked crusts for me to feel comfortable and confident enough to say, “We’ve got this.

5 different ways.

All Butter Pie Crust Video Tutorials for 5 different methods! Get a perfect flakey crust every single time!

And as if making the perfect pie crust wasn’t exciting enough, I made video tutorials!!!!!
My very first videos. Ever.

Well on YouTube anyways. Because home-videos on VHS showcasing my amazing dance moves totally don’t count.

I would by lying if I said I weren’t scared to film them, learn how to edit, and then post my face for the world to see; but there they are.

Living proof that Pastry is FUN!
All Butter Pie Crust Video Tutorials for 5 different methods! Get a perfect flakey crust every single time!

Shameless plug: Please subscribe to my channel! [If for no other reason than having zero subscribers is embarrassing…I would have 1 but they wouldn’t let me subscribe to my own channel. Jerks.]

So you just want to watch the videos? Cool. That’s totally why I did them.
{Just click the link to jump to the video}

Two Knives Method

Bench Scraper Method

Pastry Blender Method

Stand Mixer Method

Food Processor Method

Bonus Blooper Reel

OK enough chit-chat, let’s get down to the gossipy (read: science-y) secrets behind the perfect, flakey pie crust.

The 3 Cardinal Rules for Pie Crust

  1. Keep it cold: This is the theme that runs through the whole process from the moment you scale your ingredients to the moment when you put the pie in the oven. Keep. It. COLD. Your butter should absolutely be cold (not frozen), your water should be ice cold and bonus points if your flour, mixing bowl and utensils are cold.
  2. Work Quickly: This serves two purposes: the first is to keep your ingredients cold and the second is to restrict the amount of gluten that develops in your pastry. Cut your butter in as quickly as the method will allow; keep your focus while adding your water; and when gathering the dough into one cohesive mass, only work it just until it comes together.
  3. Bake it Hot: When you take cold pastry dough that has little pockets and sheets of cold butter, and you pop it into a screaming hot oven, the water will evaporate and the butter will melt creating flakey layers. Science. So cool.

Do you remember this picture from my Buffalo Chicken Hand Pies? A visual example of the rewards of keeping pastry cold and baking it hot. That flakey masterpiece on the right? Yup that was chilled the appropriate amount of time. The one on the left is the result of my impatience. Look, we’re all human okay?

A visual example of the difference chilling your pastry dough makes on the final product!

Let’s talk about gluten.

The first 2 rules exist almost exclusively to control the amount of gluten formation. Huh? Okay, I’ll break it down for you.

Gluten is two proteins that are found in wheat that, when hydrated and agitated, form a felt-like network. They are responsible for the structure in your pie crust. You need a certain amount of gluten to create a flakey crust that won’t just crumble or fall apart after slicing. But gluten is also what makes your pastry shrink or become tough when it should be delicate.

There are several key steps in pastry making that are all about making sure only the appropriate amount of gluten forms. Gluten forms best in a warm environment, so back to the #1 rule of keeping it cold. Cutting in the butter coats some of those gluten strands so that they cannot form a tight, cohesive network.

This brings us to the second rule of pastry. You need to work quickly once you begin adding the water because gluten needs to be hydrated before it forms. The faster you work and the colder your water, the less gluten has a chance to form.

 Another tip!…

Moving right along on this whirlwind tour of Pastry 101….Now that you understand gluten and its integral, yet complicated, role that it plays in pastry, you can understand why I use pastry flour. Different flours have different gluten contents. How do you spot the difference?

Look at the nutritional values. The lower the protein content, the lower the gluten content. Easy peasy.

I use a pastry flour for my pastry doughs because it contains a relatively low amount of gluten when compared to all-purpose or bread flour. Never use bread flour. Please. Promise me that one thing.

If you can’t find pastry flour (I buy mine from Bob’s Red Mill) or just cannot bare the thought of one more bag of flour in your cupboards, you can use AP flour. But seek out the AP flour with the lowest protein content. Generally this is White Lilly Winter Wheat.

Yet another tip…

My recipe is by weight. Weigh your ingredients for the most consistent, best results. The different methods of measuring flour into a dry measuring cup vary by ½ cup.

A HALF a CUP!

Think of all that extra gluten in there and how you don’t have any additional butter to coat the strands! Think of how tough and elastic that pie crust will be. So sad.

Let’s not set ourselves up for failure. Weigh your ingredients. Pretty please.

 

[Finally] The 5 Methods for a flakey Pie Crust

Why 5 different methods? How many methods does one person need to master? Geez Lindsey? #overacheiver

If you can make pastry with these methods, then you can make pastry anywhere and any time. You can find the method that works best for you. I personally prefer to make mine using a bench scraper. If I need to make a lot of dough, then I’ll use a stand mixer. If I were on a reality TV cooking show and I needed to make it fast, the food processor would be my new BFF.

Let me break down the differences between the methods for you along with the videos!

 

Bench Scraper [Hands on Time: 10 minutes]
This is my favorite method. I love how the pastry feels in my hands and the control this method gives. Yes, it is 3 minutes slower than the pastry blender. Relax. That is 3 extra minutes to add love to the dough. :-)

Pastry Blender Method [Hands on Time: 7 minutes]
This is the method I used before I discovered the bench scraper. It is just as good and even faster then the bench scraper. I just prefer to work on the counter and not in a bowl. You do you.

Two Knives Method [Hands on Time: 12 minutes]
This is a “break in case of emergency” tool to have in your repertoire. The only reason I know that this method works is because I was forced to try it when I forgot my bench scraper while making pastry at a friend’s house (who had ZERO baking tools). It takes forever; it will cramp your hands; it should be a last resort, but it totally works! Fun fact: It took 7 minutes to cut in the butter by this method verses the 3 minutes it takes with the pastry blender.

Stand Mixer Method [Hands on Time: 7 minutes]
If I am making more than one recipe of pastry or if I need to just get it done and I don’t have time to relax by making it by hand, then the stand mixer is my preferred method. I let the stand mixer do all the hard work at the beginning but I ALWAYS finish the dough by hand. If it comes together in the mixer bowl, then you worked it too much or added too much water and it will be tough and not flakey. And that would be sad. And we don’t do sadness here at AHC.

Food Processor Method [Hands on Time: 4 minutes]
This is my least favorite method because it is too easy to over cut in the butter and/or add too much water. It is by far the fastest method but the riskiest. You will have success if you PULSE to cut in the butter, leave larger pieces of butter than you normally would, and finish it by hand.

Bonus Blooper Reel
Because life is more fun when you can laugh at yourself! :-)

Just, FYI, this dough is called a pâte brisée. It is a good basic flakey pastry dough. I use it in some sweet pies and tarts and for all savory pies, tarts and galettes.

The Perfect All Butter Pie Crust Tutorial: 5 Methods

Total Time: 10 minutes

Yield: 2 Pie Crusts for a 9-inch pie

The perfect flakey, all butter pie dough made super simple with video tutorials and step-by-step instructions! Rich and buttery, this dough will be your new favorite!

Ingredients

  • 250 g pastry flour (2 1/4 cups, measured by fluffing the flour then spooning it in)
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 125 g cold butter, cubed into ½ inch cubes (½ cup + 1 tablespoon)
  • 64 g cold water, or as much or as little as needed

Instructions

  1. Whisk together pastry flour, salt and sugar. Using your preferred method cut in the butter until you have pea sized pieces. If you are using a bench scraper, pastry blender or two knives, you will chop the butter into the flour using an up and down motion, corralling the flour back into the center occasionally. If you are using the stand mixer or food processor, leave slightly larger pieces. When using a food processor to cut in butter use the pulse option and watch it like a hawk. Like a HAWK!
  2. Slowly begin to add your ice water a tablespoon at a time. If making it by hand, pour into the center of the flour and gently toss the flour into the water with the bench scraper, knife or a fork until you have a crumbly mixture. At this point be very careful with the amount of water that you add because it only needs a few teaspoons more.
  3. When your dough is shaggy, which means it looks like shards or strands of pastry, and there is still some loose flour, turn out your dough from the mixer or food processor and work the dough together by gathering it and pressing away from you with the heal of your hand. Do this JUST until it comes together. If it is crumbling, then dip your hand in a little ice water and pat it on the pastry dough. Seriously, that’s it. Remember the gluten!
  4. Divide the dough in half and press each half into a disk. Wrap in plastic wrap and chill for 2 hours or overnight. If you chill your dough overnight, you will need to let it rest a bit before rolling or it will be too cold and it will crack. Don’t fret, I’ll do another tutorial on this soon!
  5. Roll and do whatever your little heart desires with that gorgeous, buttery dough!

Notes:

This pie dough will keep for 3 days in the refrigerator or 2 months in the freezer. Wrap it well! Defrost it in the fridge overnight for best results.

Prep time varies by the method you choose. Here is a break down:

Food Processor- 4 minutes

Stand Mixer- 7 minutes

Pastry Blender- 7 minutes

Bench Scraper- 10 minutes

Two Knives- 12 minutes

http://americanheritagecooking.com/2015/11/all-butter-pie-crust-tutorial-5-methods/

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Comments

  1. says

    LOVE LOVE LOVE the videos! Lady so glad you conquered your fear and decided to put your gorgeous face out there for the world to see! I am one of those people that shies away from crust and I learned so much after watching your videos – I had no idea that dough was rechilled after it was made so the water could distribute and the butter resolidify so the crust was flakier.
    Thank you bunches!
    Shashi at RunninSrilankan recently posted…Lime Yogurt Custard In Delicata Squash BoatsMy Profile

    • Lindsey says

      Thank you so much Shashi!!!! And thank you for watching them! I’m so glad you learned a little something :-) My job = DONE

  2. says

    Excellent post, L! I mean you made all sorts of videos, too! And you even color-coordinated your outfits. #Overachiever Haha…just kidding. You nailed it with this post, and I cant wait to make some T-giving pies. All butter, of course. Well done, my NYC friend, well done. Also, curling tomorrow night? :-)
    David @ Spiced recently posted…Chocolate Pound Cake with Nutella GlazeMy Profile

    • Lindsey says

      Thanks, David!!! I’m glad someone noticed my outfits! lol

      With a little bit of heads-up, I would have come up for curling! I usually have off on Tuesdays

    • Lindsey says

      Hahah thanks, Gayle! Email me any time and I’ll let you know everything I know! Right now that could probably fit in a paragraph! lol

  3. says

    I loved your videos! You are so adorable and I love that you are sharing all the different methods to make the best pie crust! Your pies are always perfect and these tutorials are super helpful! Pinned :)

  4. says

    BCS I was intimidated by pie crust too! After 6 months and several pies later, it was like the back of my hand, because it really is easy. I love your videos for every method and your detailed post. Pie crust doesn’t have to be scary! Videos to me are scary, too…I still want to do them but yeah…I’m scared. :)
    marcie recently posted…Healthy Weekly Meal Plan 11.21.2015My Profile

    • Lindsey says

      Ahh BCS :-) I knew you would understand. Videos are super scary but you can absolutely do them. I just needed to start somewhere that I was comfortable…like pie crusts. I will definitely make more!

  5. says

    Phenomenal vids, Linds! Epic! You did a swell job and I am so happy for and proud of you! I stopped by the day you dropped by my blog and watched each video then got sidetracked before I could reply. Anyway, here I am today! Great idea to share each way to make pie pastry as anyone can do it…even in a modestly equipped kitchen. No excuses not to make homemade pie pastry, people! :) Blue is your color girl…brings out your eyes. And I love your curly ponytail…so pretty! Thanks for sharing, my friend. Warmest wishes to you and yours for a fun and meaningful Thanksgiving Day! xo
    Stacy | Wicked Good Kitchen recently posted…Honey-Nut Rugelach Holiday CookiesMy Profile

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