Pie Dough

by Sabrena Cantu November 03, 2020 4 min read

Pie Dough

With four simple ingredients, homemade pie dough is an easy and delicious way to impress your family and friends during the holidays.

Here's what you'll need:

  • Unsalted butter
  • All-purpose flour
  • Salt
  • Cold water

Mealy vs Flaky

There are two types of pie dough: mealy and flaky. These two types are differentiated by the size of fat pieces in the dough, and the results determine their purpose.

Mealy- Mealy pie dough is characterized as having small pieces of fat distributed throughout the dough. When the fat is worked into the flour, it should resemble course cornmeal. Since the fat is distributed throughout the dough in such small pieces, the crust becomes more dense and resistant to moisture. This makes it perfect for fruit pies and pies with liquid fillings.

Flaky- Flaky pie dough is characterized as having large pieces of fat distributed throughout the dough. When the fat is worked into the flour, it should resemble the size of peas. As the fat melts, pockets of air are created, resulting in a light and flaky crust. This type of crust is not as stable as a mealy crust, therefore, it is best for cream pies as well as top and lattice crusts.

The Process:

The key to pie dough is making sure it stays cold. Make sure the butter and water are chilled. A good tip is to get a large cup of water with ice and measure it out as needed. Also, chill the dough between steps.

Whether you're making a mealy or flaky dough, the process is the same. First, cut the butter into cubes. You can do this with a knife, or my favorite method, grate it with a cheese grater. After you cut or grate the butter, place it back into the refrigerator for 5-10 minutes to ensure the butter is as cold as possible.

In a bowl, measure out 1 1/3 cups of all-purpose flour and 1/4 tsp of salt and whisk. Add the chilled butter and work it in using your hands. For mealy dough, work it in unit it resembles course cornmeal. For flaky dough, work in the butter until it resembles the size of peas.

 

Next, add in the cold water. Start with 2 tablespoons and mix in in with your hands. You need enough water for the dough to come together. This could take up to 3 1/2 tablespoons, so drizzle in more water a couple teaspoons at a time until the dough sticks together and is no longer crumbly.

Work the dough into a ball and flatten it out into a disk. Wrap it in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least an hour. 

When the dough has chilled for at least an hour, it is ready to roll out. Lightly flour a clean, flat surface with flour. Lay the dough on the surface and begin rolling starting from the center and working your way out toward the top and bottom. Rotate the dough 90 degrees and repeat the process, rolling from the center outwards. Rotate with each turn until the dough is about 1/8" thick. 

Once the dough is rolled out, transfer it to your pie dish. An easy way to do this is by rolling it around your rolling pin and then unrolling it over the baking dish. Gently press the dough against the pie dish. Cut the excess dough from around the sides. Use any excess dough to fill in cracks if needed. At this time, you can decorate the edges of the pie as desired. Once you are done, cover your pie shell in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes or until ready to use. Before baking your pie, poke holes in the dough using a fork. This will prevent the dough from bubbling up as it bakes.

Pie Dough

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Makes: 1 8-9” Pie Shell

Amount

Ingredient

8 Tablespoons

Unsalted butter, chilled

1 1/3 cups

All-Purpose flour

¼ tsp

Salt

3-3 ½ Tablespoons 

Water, cold

  • Cut the butter into cubes or grate with a cheese grater with the largest holes. Place in the refrigerator for 5-10 minutes.
  • In a bowl, mix the flour and salt. Add the chilled butter and work it into the flour with your hands, fork, or dough cutter. For mealy dough, work it in until it resembles course cornmeal. For flaky dough, work the butter in until it resembles the size of peas.
  • Add in 2 tablespoons of cold water. Then, add the water in half a tablespoon at a time until the dough comes together. It shouldn’t be too wet or too dry. It shouldn’t be crumbling apart. Once the dough is made, form it into a ball and then a disk. Wrap it in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least an hour.
  • When you’re ready to roll out the dough, lightly flour a clean, flat work surface and rolling pin. Roll out the dough by starting at the center and working your way out towards the top and bottom. Rotate the dough 90° and repeat. Roll the dough to a thickness of 1/8”. Line your pie pan with the dough. Gently press to form it to the pan. Use excess dough to fill in any cracks or thin spots. Cut the excess dough away from the edges with a knife. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate the pie shell for at least 30 minutes or until ready to use.
  • Poke holes in the dough with a fork before baking.

 

 

Sabrena Cantu
Sabrena Cantu


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