2020 update: I’ve been working on perfecting this method for over 5 years. I hope you enjoy!
Please don’t buy pie crust. The ingredients in store bought pie doughs are just gross. Anytime I see a hydrogenated oil or a chemical that I can’t pronounce on an ingredient list—I am immediately turned off. Pie crust should not contain more than 5 ingredients. You can make this whenever you want and keep it in your freezer when you need an emergency pie (a surprisingly frequent occasion in my house). Additionally, what I have found with other pie dough recipes is that they don’t make enough dough. With other recipes, I find myself struggling to patch up enough dough to cover my pie plate. I guarantee that this recipe yields enough dough for one double crust pie or two single crust pies. If you are lucky enough to have extra dough, sprinkle it with cinnamon sugar and bake it off as a delicious treat. When I make pie crust, I use half water/half vodka because the vodka hinders gluten development and gives the pie a better texture. The alcohol cooks out in the oven, but you can use all water if you prefer.
- 3 ¾ cups (485g) All purpose flour
- 1 tsp kosher salt
- 1-3 tbsp sugar (omit for savory pies)
- 1 ½ cups/24 tbsp/3 sticks (339g) unsalted butter, frozen and cut into chunks (try to use a good quality butter)
- 1/2 cup (118ml) water + 1/2 cup (118ml) vodka, in a glass filled with ice cubes
- Measure out the flour, salt, and sugar in a large bowl.
- Using your fingers rub the butter into the flour mixture until it is in flat, irregular strips.
- Slowly add the ice water/vodka mixture (you will not need all of it) (I usually work it in with clean hands) and mix it into the flour and butter mixture. Add until the dough will hold its form when pressed together. Depending on the humidity in your kitchen, you'll probably need between around half a cup. Go little by little. You want just enough liquid for it to BARELY stick to itself. If at any point, the butter starts to feel like it's warming up too much or melting, just pop everything in the freezer 5-10 minutes and take a quick break.
- Press the dough as best as you can into a rectangle. It's okay if there are some crumbly bits on the edges. Cut the rectangle in thirds, stack them on top of each other and press down into a new rectangle. If there are crumbly bits still, press them in. This helps create extra layers. Repeat cutting them in thirds and stacking one more time. After the second time, all the crumbly bits should be better integrated.
- Divide the dough in two and place each half on a separate sheet of plastic wrap. Use the plastic wrap to press each half of the dough together. Wrap each half and press the dough into a disk.
- Refrigerate your dough for 1 hour or if you're in a hurry, freeze 20 minutes before using according to your recipe's instructions. Letting it sit in the fridge helps the flour hydrate and not crack when you roll it out. You can keep your well-wrapped dough in the freezer for months and use it as you would frozen store bought dough.
- When using dough from frozen, I prefer to defrost it in the fridge overnight or I let it sit out at room temperature to soften slightly before rolling out. If you are a beginner, I recommend rolling out the dough between two sheets of wax paper. It allows you to easily pop the whole thing in the freezer in the middle of working with it if the dough gets too soft. You can also roll out using copious amounts of flour, and do not worry; using a lot of flour to roll out the dough will not mess it up.
Always freeze it before baking. Whether you are blind baking or filling this dough, it benefits from 15 minutes in the freezer AFTER shaping/filling right BEFORE baking.
Jeremy is a student at Cornell University double majoring in Spanish and Italian with significant coursework in classes such as nutrition, food science and culinary science. He has years of experience as a home cook, working at a local bakery, and teaching cooking classes at Williams-Sonoma. After starting a TikTok account in March 2020 while quarantined in his childhood home, Jeremy’s presence grew to over 1.5 million followers in the first 6 months. During that time, he was featured in People Magazine, Fox News, BBC Radio, BuzzFeed, Tasty, Spoon University, and USA Today, among other media outlets.