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Foolproof Pie Crust

Submitted by: suzanne-mcminn on July 29, 2010
6 votes, average: 4.00 out of 56 votes, average: 4.00 out of 56 votes, average: 4.00 out of 56 votes, average: 4.00 out of 56 votes, average: 4.00 out of 5
Foolproof Pie Crust

Nobody knows pie crust better than little old ladies at church. Especially little old ladies at a little tiny town country church. They were born to make pies and they live up to their potential with every flaky, mouthwatering bite. And sometimes they will even tell you their secrets. If you think you can’t make homemade pie crust, you need this recipe. If you think you don’t have time to make homemade pie crust, you need this recipe. If you think homemade pie crust isn’t important, you need this recipe.

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Difficulty: Easy

Servings: 4 single or 2 double crusts

Prep Time: 15 minutes  


4 cups all-purpose flour
1 3/4 cups shortening or lard
1 tablespoon sugar
2 teaspoons salt
1 tablespoon vinegar
1 egg
1/2 cup very cold water


You can make this pie crust in under 10 minutes. Probably in 5 if you are in pie crust making races. If not, you can relax and take an extra couple minutes. It is easy, fast, perfect and flaky, and you will feel like a little old church lady when you’re through. Wait, that didn’t come out right…. You will be excited and you will feel like a baking genius! Your friends and family will be amazed, and you will never have pie despair again! And so, with an homage to little old church ladies everywhere–

Add flour, shortening or lard, sugar, and salt to a large bowl.

Mix flour and shortening or lard with a pastry cutter until it looks nice and crumbly. In a small bowl, whisk together the vinegar, egg, and water. Add to the flour mixture, stirring in till well-moistened. Knead lightly to mix in all the flour then shape it into a great, big, wonderful ball of pastry dough. (Don’t overhandle.)

Admire it for a moment and think about how proud the little old church ladies are going to be.

And about how wonderful it is to live in a world that includes pie.

Then divide the dough into four equal portions.

Shape each portion into a ball; wrap with plastic and refrigerate for at least 15 minutes before using. Or, if you want to use it faster, stick it in the freezer for 5 minutes. (You can keep this pie crust dough in the refrigerator for a week before using, or in the freezer for a couple of months. It freezes well–place dough balls in sealed freezer bags for storage.)

To use, sprinkle some flour on waxed paper. Sprinkle some more flour on top of the pastry dough then roll out, adding more flour if necessary to keep it from sticking to your rolling pin. Place in a greased pie pan. I like to just up-end the rolled crust right off the waxed paper on top of the pie pan. Peel off the paper then crimp the edges.

For double-crust pie, repeat the same procedure, venting the top.

This recipe makes two 9-inch double-crust pies or four single-crust pies. This is a great pastry for tarts and pot pies, etc, as well as standard dessert pies.

Pie is a beautiful thing. Store-bought pie crust is no comparison to homemade, and this is the best pie pastry I’ve ever used. It’s so easy, it’s ridiculous, and it comes out perfect every time.

The little old church ladies have got your back.

Categories: Crusts, Desserts, Pastries, Pies

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  1. 12-31

    So, I am missing the cord to upload photos from my digital camera (I’m sure I’ll find it eventually). In the mean time, I wanted to say that I tried this crust recipe for Christmas dinner! My FIRST EVER “from scratch” pies (pumpkin…with fresh pumpkin puree) were a HUGE hit!

    The last two crusts were used a day or so later to make homemade strawberry pop-tarts for the kiddos! Our neighbor spent the night, and she isn’t quite as adventurous as my kids when it comes to all things cuisine, so this was an attempt to feed her something similar to what she eats in the morning. Thumbs up all around my table! I will definitely be using Suzanne’s recipe from now on! =)

  2. 5-13

    Question: At what temp and for how long do you bake this pie crust when you need “one baked pie crust” for a recipe?

  3. 5-14

    Never mind, I found another recipe that said 12 minutes at 450 degrees. Pie crust turned out great! And I now have prepared pie dough in the freezer! Thanks, Suzanne!

    • 5-14

      Fran, sorry, I just saw this! That sounds fine. When I do that, I just follow the directions in a cookbook, too. It works just like any pre-baked pie crust.

  4. 5-29

    I did it!

  5. 9-25

    I just made this crust. It was the first time I ever made a crust from scratch and it was AMAZING! I thought, “Did some little old church lady sneak into my house when I wasn’t looking and switched out my crust for hers!? Because there’s no way I made something this good!”
    Is it blasphemous to say that this crust is better than my grandma’s? AND I MADE IT!!!
    ALSO…I was too lazy to go get the big gallon jug of white vinegar, so I used apple cider, because that little bottle was within arm’s reach. Next time (because there WILL be a next time!) I’ll use the regular stuff to see if it made a difference.
    AND FINALLY, I baked it at 475 for about 15 minutes. But I think that’s just how my oven works.

  6. 12-3

    I made this crust last night for a curry chicken pot pie and it was delicious, tender and flaky. My wife absolutely loved the crust. The pie popped out of the pyrex dish after cooling for awhile with no problem.

    I rolled out the leftover dough and sprinkled with a lot of cinnamon and sugar. I baked it on the bottom rack for 10 minutes for dessert. Cover with sliced strawberries and a dribble of chocolate sauce.

  7. 4-2

    I always have pie crust in the freezer using this recipe, you just cant imagine how handy it is for so many things, why would anyone want those ready made pie crust from the supermarket??

  8. 9-23

    I make this pie crust in batches of eight and put them in the freezer until needed. What convenience! I never could make pie before trying this crust as my crust was always like cardboard. I use it for pies, pop tarts, meat and fruit turnovers, breakfast pockets, and numerous other recipes. It really is an all purpose, delicious recipe!

  9. 10-9

    Yep! This is THE pie crust recipe. I halved the recipe and used one for my first ever chicken pot pie (delish!) and put one in the freezer. I used lard, and used one quarter part whole wheat flour. I halved the egg and used the other half for egg wash. Did it all in the food processor, and it was perfect. I’ll be dreaming of the pie that gets the crust in the freezer, and you can bet I’ll be making the full recipe next time.

  10. 10-29

    I have made this recipe before. It’s so very simple and it’s nice to have ready made pie crusts at hand.
    And, talk about flaky. It rocks!

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