Any pie lover and home baker dreams of a pie crust without burned edges, one that is firm yet crispy and flaky.
That is the ultimate dream for anyone who loves pies.
Every good cook needs to have a good pie crust recipe in their arsenal. Whether they’re savory or sweet, the base of every good pie starts with the perfect pie crust.
You may already have tried those store-bought frozen pie shells, but let’s be honest – they are hardly ever as good as we want them to be and sometimes they even look a little sad.
It always pays to make your own pie crust. And it’s probably a lot easier to do than you think.
Once you check out this recipe you will see what we mean.
Plus, you don’t even have to have shortening on hand anymore to make a great pie crust. You may be surprised at how easy it is to make. So keep reading for this easy but delightful pie crust recipe – no shortening needed!
What is Shortening?
Shortening is any type of fat that is solid at room temperature. This includes lard, margarine, and hydrogenated solidified oils.
However, in the modern kitchen, the term shortening mainly refers to the hydrogenated oils, such as vegetable shortening.
Similar to lard, vegetable shortening is a semisolid fat with a high smoke point and low water content making it safe choice for frying and baking. The benefits of shortening include:
- 100% fat content
- Odor and flavor-free
- No refrigeration necessary
But, what to do when you are short on shortening?
What Works as a Shortening Substitute?
Shortening is used for recipes that call for short doughs – or types of doughs which do not use gluten.
If you want a flaky pie crust, then you do not want gluten or your crust will not have the right texture. The fat in shortening coats the flour and keeps water from activating the compounds that form gluten.
There are quite few substitutes for the shortening. The ideal substitutes for the shortening are lard, margarine, coconut oil and butter.
Lard is an animal-fat product and is perfectly acceptable in most of the recipes that call for the shortening. It has a high smoke point and contains a small amount of water.
Still, if you eat Halal or Kosher diets, you may want to skip this. Lard is made with pig fat. However, there are lard-like products that come from cattle or sheep fat which you could look for instead.
The second option is the coconut oil. This is a vegan-friendly product and with one you can make the vegan pie crust. The coconut oil will act same as the shortening but you will have to chill the dough before use.
Butter is my personal favorite choice. You simply can’t go wrong with butter! You can substitute shortening with butter using a 1:1 ratio, and then adding 1-2 tablespoons more of butter for good measure.
So for every cup of shortening plan to use 1 cup of butter plus 2 tablespoons. Butter has a lower melting point than shortening, so this might slightly change the texture of your pie crust.
It will not change it for the worst, however. It just makes it a bit flakier or crispier. Yum!
As I said, butter is my choice for this recipe and I must say this pie crust turns out great every time!
Making Your Pie Crust
Making a pie crust is very easy especially if you have a food processor. Toss in the flour and butter and let the food processor do all the hard work.
Once you have a coarse mixture, you’ll add water and process again until the dough comes together or you can transfer the coarse dough into the bowl and add water. From here you can knead the dough a few times until it comes together.
If you do not have a food processor, place the flour in a bowl and add your butter, cubed. Work in the butter with your fingers until a coarse mixture is formed.
Add water and knead a few more times until the dough comes together.
Those are the basic steps, but we’ll go through them more slowly below, so don’t worry if you need a little more step-by-step help.
Baking Your Pie Crust
As mentioned above, butter has a lower smoke point than shortening. This means you will have to blind bake the pie crust just to stay on the safe side.
Blind baking is quite simple – you just cover the pie shell with some parchment paper and place blind baking beads on top. If you do not have these, plain rice will do.
The goal is to have some kind of weight (but a fairly light one) over the parchment paper that will keep it properly in place. This will ensure you have a golden crust without any burnt edges.
You may find other blind baking methods, like wrapping the edges with aluminum foil and the center, but I love this one the best as it is so easy and with always great results.
How to Make Pie Crust Without Shortening
Gather your ingredients.
In a food processor, combine butter and flour.
Process until coarse crumbs are formed.
Transfer the mixture to a bowl, and add water. (Or leave the mixture inside the food processor.)
Knead or process the dough until it comes together.
Shape the dough into a disc and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
Preheat oven to 350F.
Roll the dough to ¼ -inch thick between two pieces of baking paper.
Place the dough over a rolling pin and unroll over the pie pan. (I love pie and cake pans with a detachable bottom.)
Press the dough gently to form the edges and cover with parchment paper.
Bonus tip: When rolling the dough in order to get a perfect circle, rotate the dough by 45 degrees after every two rolls. This will ensure you have a perfect circle.
Add ½ cup of the rice over the parchment paper and bake the pie crust for 15-20 minutes. Remove the parchment paper and continue baking for 1-2 minutes, or until cooked through.
Use the pie crust for the desired pie recipe.
Bonus tip: You can also freeze the pie shell in the pie plate instead of baking it. Wrap it with an aluminum foil and freeze up to a month.
- 1 ¼ cup all-purpose flour
- 1/3 cup butter
- 2 tbsp ice-cold water
- 1 pinch salt
- Gather your ingredients.
- In a food processor, combine butter and flour.
- Process until coarse crumbs are formed.
- Transfer the mixture to a bowl, and add water. (Or leave the mixture inside the food processor.)
- Knead or process the dough until it comes together.
- Shape the dough into a disc and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
- Preheat oven to 350F.
- Roll the dough to ¼ -inch thick between two pieces of baking paper.
- Place the dough over a rolling pin and unroll over the pie pan.
- Press the dough gently to form the edges and cover with parchment paper.
- Add ½ cup of the rice over the parchment paper and bake the pie crust for 15-20 minutes. Remove the parchment paper and continue baking for 1-2 minutes, or until cooked through.
- Use the pie crust for the desired pie recipe.
When rolling the dough in order to get a perfect circle, rotate the dough by 45 degrees after every two rolls. This will ensure you have a perfect circle.
You can also freeze the pie shell in the pie plate instead of baking it. Wrap it with aluminum foil and freeze up to a month.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 6 Serving Size: 1 slice
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 184Total Fat: 10gSaturated Fat: 6gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 3gCholesterol: 27mgSodium: 104mgCarbohydrates: 20gFiber: 1gSugar: 0gProtein: 3g
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