How to Make Pie Crust: Vegetable Shortening Pie Crust Recipe

Learn how to make pie crust with this quick and easy step-by-step tutorial using a food processor, along with a recipe for a classic shortening pie crust .

We are gearing up for pie around here!  Love the pie is next week, so I asked my good friend Shaina if she’d come over and share some pie crust how-to’s and one of her favorite pie crust recipe, Vegetable Shortening Pie Crust.

Be sure to click over to Shaina’s blog, Food for My Family, to get the all-butter pie crust recipe along with instructions on how to make pie crust by hand.

By the time Shaina’s done with you……..you’ll have no excuse to  NOT to make pie!

Take it away Shaina…………………………….

 

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The first component, and one of the most crucial, to a pie is a good, flaky crust. You can have the best apple filling in the world, but if your crust is lackluster, it’s hard to pick around it and scrape those apples out. Plus, pie without crust is, well, hardly pie.

The beauty is that crust doesn’t have to be difficult. In fact, it can be rather easy, and you barely have to get your hands dirty. There is a bit of precision involved, but once you get past that, you’ll be well on your way to turning out successful crusts each and every time.

Types of Pie Crust

First you need to think about the type of crust you want. You have a few options.

  1. Cookie Crust: Cookies crusts are great cheater crust. Turn crunchy cookies to crumb (add a bit of sugar depending on the cookie variety), add melted butter and press into the pie plate.
  2. Pastry Crust: A pastry crust requires a bit more work, but it delivers that flaky crust that we probably all associate with pie.

Pastry Crust Varieties

If you decide to choose a pastry crust, then the next piece of the pastry puzzle is determining your ingredients. Pastry crusts can be made with a variety of different fats and flours. You could go for:

  • an all-butter pie crust
  • a shortening crust
  • or a mixture of butter and shortening/lard.

How to Make Shortening Pie Crust

Here I’m going to demonstrate the shortening crust with a food processor preparation method. The food processor does the work for you, and this method can be used with any crust fat you choose to use. I know some people who swear by their Crisco crust and others who are butter devotees and still others who love them some leaf lard. If you want to make a pie crust by hand using a pastry cutter or a simple, everyday fork, you can check out my post including an all-butter crust recipe.

Let’s get started:

First, did you know the way you measure matters? Measure your flour by scooping flour with a spoon into the cup. Don’t use your measuring cup as a scoop, as it packs the flour down and gives a different measure.

Chilling your ingredients means the fat will take longer to melt. The longer the shortening you’re using is in the hot, heated room and exposed to the air, the better the chance it will melt as you mix. Those fat chunks are essential to a flaky crust. Chilled ingredients (and sometimes even bowls) helps to slow this process and prevent it.

It’s good to have lumps in pie crust. If you mix until all the shortening pieces are broken up, you won’t get the flaky layers that are created by those fat pieces getting rolled thin.

Add just enough water to get the dough to come together. Too much water will result in a sticky dough that will be tough when baked and also hard to work with.

When your dough is finished, wrap it as a disc and let it chill. You can make dough a day or two in advance or freeze it for up to a month.

 

Types of Pie Crust

1. Cookie Crust: Cookies crusts are great cheater crust. Turn crunchy cookies to crumb (add a bit of sugar depending on the cookie variety), add melted butter and press into the pie plate.

2. Pastry Crust: A pastry crust requires a bit more work, but it delivers that flaky crust that we probably all associate with pie.

Pastry Crust Varieties

  • an all-butter pie crust
  • a shortening crust
  • or a mixture of butter and shortening/lard

10 Easy Steps for the Perfect Pie Crust

Vegetable Shortening Pie Crust

Ingredients:

  • 2 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar (for sweet pies)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup all-vegetable shortening (butter flavored, if desired), cut into 1/4-tablespoon-sized pieces and chilled
  • 6-10 tablespoons ice cold water

Directions:

  1. Add the flour, sugar and salt to the bowl of a food processor fitted with a metal blade. Pulse lightly until mixed. Add in cold shortening pieces and pulse just until crumbs start to form, 3-4 pulses. You should see a mixture of pea-sized crumbs and small crumbs.
  2. Sprinkle the first 4-5 tablespoons over the crumbs and pulse twice. Add in water a tablespoon at a time until the flour appears slightly moistened. Try to avoid using all the water, and only pulse once in between each tablespoon addition.
  3. Turn the dough out onto a piece of plastic wrap and form into two discs. Wrap each disk and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
  4. When time to make your pie, remove the crust discs from the refrigerator and transfer to a lightly floured surface. Sprinkle a small amount of flour on top and flour a rolling pin. Roll the disc into a circle, being careful to work quickly and not handle the dough too much. When the dough is approximately 1-2 inches larger than the pie plate, transfer the dough to the plate and gently press into place. Try not to stretch the dough, as this disrupts the fat pockets that give pie crust its flaky texture.
  5. Fill and bake as directed for your pie.
Vegetable Shortening Pie Crust adapted from Crisco’s Classic Crust

Making this recipe? Share it with us on Instagram using the hashtag #TidyMom so we can see what you're creating in the kitchen!

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Shaina Olmanson Food for My Family

About Shaina

Shaina Olmanson is the home cook and photographer behind Food for My Family and Olmanson Photography, a daily contributor to Babble.com’s Family Kitchen Blog and the food editor for Lifetime Moms.

She strives to teach her four children to cook and prepare real food in a day and age where many people have turned to convenience foods because they are so readily available and hopes to encourage others to do the same. Shaina can usually be found in one of three places: cooking, at the computer or behind the camera.

You can also find Shaina on Facebookand Twitter