Foolproof Pie Crust

Submitted by: Suzanne McMinn on July 29, 2010

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.

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.

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