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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

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

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43 Comments

  • Shashi at RunninSrilankan
    November 16, 2015 at 1:57 pm

    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!

    Reply
    • Lindsey
      November 17, 2015 at 12:49 pm

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

      Reply
  • Kayle (The Cooking Actress)
    November 16, 2015 at 5:25 pm

    I LOVE EVERYTHING ABOUT THIS POST! I’ve pinned and subscribed and watched you in all your adorableness in these videos! looove!

    Reply
    • Lindsey
      November 17, 2015 at 12:47 pm

      Haha THANK YOU SO MUCH, Kayle!!!!! xoxox

      Reply
    • Lindsey
      November 29, 2015 at 12:55 pm

      Thanks for subscribing, love!! xoxoxoxox

      Reply
  • Jessica @ Sweetest Menu
    November 16, 2015 at 5:43 pm

    She’s amazing! How has she done it all? Can’t wait to watch and pretend we are hanging out again! x

    Reply
    • Lindsey
      November 17, 2015 at 12:47 pm

      Hahah! I wish we were hanging out again!!! x

      Reply
    • Lindsey
      November 29, 2015 at 12:04 pm

      Haha! Thank you so much, Jess! You are so sweet xoxox

      Reply
  • David @ Spiced
    November 17, 2015 at 8:04 am

    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? 🙂

    Reply
    • Lindsey
      November 17, 2015 at 12:58 pm

      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

      Reply
  • Alice @ Hip Foodie Mom
    November 17, 2015 at 5:50 pm

    Lindsey, ok you are the cutest!!!! and I LOVE your bloopers reel on YT! I think these videos are great and you have a great kitchen!! great for shooting videos!

    Reply
    • Lindsey
      November 29, 2015 at 12:02 pm

      Thanks, Alice! The bloopers crack me up too! I can’t wait to film more!

      Reply
  • Manali @ CookWithManali
    November 17, 2015 at 7:51 pm

    Lindsey, those videos were so cute! I love your necklace!! Thanks for the tips and tricks to make the perfect pie crust!

    Reply
    • Lindsey
      November 29, 2015 at 12:01 pm

      Thanks, Manali! And thanks for noticing the necklace….I just love me a good statement necklace 🙂

      Reply
  • Gayle @ Pumpkin 'N Spice
    November 18, 2015 at 6:51 am

    Lindsey, you are seriously the cutest! And your videos are amazing! I am too scared to venture into video world just yet, but that’s my goal for the new year. And I will definitely be looking to you for advice! 🙂 Great tutorial, too!

    Reply
    • Lindsey
      November 29, 2015 at 12:00 pm

      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

      Reply
  • Sarah @Whole and Heavenly Oven
    November 18, 2015 at 8:04 am

    I’ll ashamedly admit that pie crust used to scare me too and it took more than a few tries to get over THAT fear. LOL. Seriously though, GIRL! This tutorail is amazing ! I love how you covered all possible ways to make pie crust and your videos were fabulous!

    Reply
    • Lindsey
      November 29, 2015 at 11:59 am

      There is no shame in that! Pie crust scares everyone initially even if they don’t want to admit it.

      Reply
  • Kelly
    November 18, 2015 at 10:43 am

    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 🙂

    Reply
    • Lindsey
      November 29, 2015 at 11:38 am

      Thank you, Kelly! They were super fun to make! I can’t wait to make more! Thanks for the pin, girl! xo

      Reply
  • Kristi @ My SF Kitchen
    November 18, 2015 at 11:41 am

    Great post and cute pics! All butter pie crust is the best 🙂

    Reply
    • Lindsey
      November 29, 2015 at 11:38 am

      Thank you, Kristi!!!

      Reply
  • mira
    November 19, 2015 at 12:29 pm

    OMG, love all the videos! Awesome job Lindsay! Very helpful! So nice so see you back!

    Reply
    • Lindsey
      November 29, 2015 at 11:01 am

      Thank you Mira!!!!

      Reply
  • liz
    November 22, 2015 at 2:29 pm

    you are adorable and talented and i want to be your friend.

    Reply
    • Lindsey
      November 24, 2015 at 1:23 pm

      Haha! Thanks Liz! I’m trying to get the hang of the video thing!

      Reply
  • marcie
    November 22, 2015 at 9:49 pm

    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. 🙂

    Reply
    • Lindsey
      November 29, 2015 at 11:00 am

      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!

      Reply
  • Connie | URBAN BAKES
    November 23, 2015 at 12:33 pm

    You are super cute with these videos!! Definitely learned a whole lot. I’ve always used the pastry blender but now I know, there are several other methods to make pie crusts thanks to make pastry chef. 🙂
    Keep at it with the videos!!

    Reply
    • Lindsey
      November 29, 2015 at 10:59 am

      Thanks Connie! I’m glad you learned a little something. I always used to use the pastry blender too.

      Reply
  • Stacy | Wicked Good Kitchen
    November 25, 2015 at 11:42 am

    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

    Reply
    • Lindsey
      November 29, 2015 at 10:57 am

      Thank you so much for watching them, Stace! #noexcuses I hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving. xoxox

      Reply
  • Rachel @ Bakerita
    November 29, 2015 at 1:03 pm

    Oh my goodness, why wasn’t this up when I was making SO many pies this past month??!? Even having made tons of pies…crust still stresses me out. This is SO helpful 🙂 and I’m totally subscribing to you on YouTube! So exciting to start making videos 🙂

    Reply
  • […] Pick up a couple of packages of Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free Pie Crust mixes, employ my friend, Lindsey’s knife technique, and have pecan, apple and pumpkin pies galore to enjoy on Christmas day! But till then, I […]

    Reply
  • […] 1 unbaked (9-inch) pastry shell […]

    Reply
  • Erin
    November 16, 2018 at 7:56 am

    Thank you for the insight into one of my biggest fears…. pastry!!!! You mentioned I the post that you weighed your flour- amazing idea!!!! But in the recipe it’s not noted in weight. Is there a weight to the amount of flour? Thank you for the help!

    Reply
    • Lindsey
      November 18, 2018 at 2:18 pm

      Hi Erin! The weight measurements are listed first in the recipe. They are in grams so don’t let the “g” throw you! Happy baking!

      Reply
      • Erin
        December 5, 2018 at 2:10 pm

        OMG- that’s so great!!!! Thank you! I am gonna give it a go this afternoon! Im terrified…..

        Reply
        • Lindsey
          December 9, 2018 at 10:26 am

          Haha! Don’t be terrified! You’ve got this!

          Reply
  • […] 1 unbaked (9-inch) pastry shell […]

    Reply
  • […] So you like making dough? Try my flaky pie crust! […]

    Reply
  • Jen
    August 11, 2020 at 7:24 pm

    FWIW, I think this recipe should say 1 cup (2 sticks) of butter, not 1/2 cup (1 stick). With so much flour, the crust will be tough with only one stick of butter.

    Reply
    • Lindsey
      August 18, 2020 at 10:15 am

      Hi Jen, I meant what I typed. Most of my recipes are by weight so that is a 2:1 ratio of flour to butter. If you do what you suggest, that would be a 1:1 ratio of flour to butter and that is too much butter. At that point you are going to make a short crust. It will be tender and lovely but not flakey. Happy baking!

      Reply

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