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All-Butter Pie Dough

This image courtesy of Debbie Carlos

Editor's Note: Every baker should have a go-to recipe for pie dough in their repertoire. If you are looking for such a recipe, then the search will be over when you take a look at All-Butter Pie Dough. You'll also expand your baking skills in a unique way with this recipe, as it includes blind baking. If you've never heard of this element of baking before, don't sweat it; it is explained in detail following the recipe's instructions. Once you've perfected this recipe, you'll want to use it for a crust in a wide variety of pies, including this recipe for Hoosier Sugar Cream Pie by the same authors. You'll love having this recipe up your sleeve the next time you want to impress the crowd with homemade pie!

This is the most important recipe at the pie shop. It is the secret to ninety percent of the pies we make, both sweet and savory. New bakers aren't considered full members of the pie team until they master it.

Cooking MethodBaking

CostInexpensive

Total Timea day or more

Make Ahead RecipeYes

Kid FriendlyYes

One Pot MealYes

Taste and TextureButtery

Type of DishDessert, Pie, Savory/pot Pie

Ingredients

  • 1 3/4 sticks (196 g) unsalted butter, divided 
  • 1 tablespoon (12 g) red wine vinegar 
  • 1/2 cup (119 mL) cold water 
  • 2 1/4 cups (333 g) all-purpose flour 
  • 2 1/4 teaspoons (6.5 g) kosher salt 
  • 1/2 tablespoon (6.5 g) granulated sugar 

Instructions

  1. Cut the butter into 1/2-inch (13-mm) cubes. Freeze 5 tablespoons (70g) for 20 minutes or overnight; chill the remaining 1 1/8 sticks in the refrigerator until ready to use.

  2. Stir the red wine vinegar into the cold water and set aside.

  3. Combine the flour, salt, and sugar in the bowl of a food processor and pulse 5 or 6 times to combine.

  4. Add the chilled butter and mix for 25 to 30 seconds, until the mixture resembles coarse meal.

  5. Add the frozen butter and pulse 15 to 20 times, until the butter is in pea-sized pieces.

  6. Add 6 tablespoons of the vinegar water and pulse 6 times. The dough should start to look crumbly. Test the dough by squeezing a small amount in the palm of your hand. If it easily holds together, it is done. If not, add 1/2 tablespoon of the vinegar water and pulse 3 more times. Repeat this process as needed until the dough holds together.

  7. Transfer the dough to a lightly floured work surface and knead together until smooth; dough should never come together in the food processor.

  8. Divide the dough into 2 equal parts and roll each into a ball. Flatten the balls slightly and wrap separately in plastic wrap. Let the dough rest in the refrigerator until ready to use, at least 20 minutes but preferably overnight. Once the dough is rested, it can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 3 days, or frozen for up to 1 week.

Blind Baking

Blind baking is a funny-sounding term that simply means baking a pie shell prior to filling it. Though it has been a part of kitchen-speak for centuries, no one has any idea where the term came from. Lately, "pre-baking" has taken its place in contemporary recipes, and while it is certainly more descriptive, at Hoosier Mama we prefer the traditional term. Use "blind baking" confidently in a sentence and you get automatic membership in the secret society of pie makers!

Blind baking is used for pies like chocolate cream, where the filling is not cooked in the pie shell, and for quiches and some custards, where the shell needs to bake longer than the filling. We also blind bake the shells for pies like pumpkin or Hoosier Sugar Cream, where the pie filling bakes for up to an hour in the pie shell. We find it keeps the bottom crust from getting soggy.

In blind baking, pie shells are lined with parchment paper and filled with weights to keep air pockets from forming as the shells bake. You can buy ceramic weights or stainless steel "pie chains" at specialty cooking stores, but dried pinto beans are inexpensive and work just as well. At the shop, we line the shells with 13x5-inch (32.5x12.5-cm) coffee filters instead of parchment paper; they fit the 9-inch (22.5-cm) crimps perfectly and let air flow through to the bottom crust. Don't use foil or wax paper; foil blocks airflow, resulting in a tough, dense bottom crust, and the coating on wax paper will burn and smoke in a hot oven.

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C).

  2. Place a frozen, crimped pie shell on a baking sheet. Line the inside of the shell with parchment paper or a coffee filter. Fill with uncooked beans until the beans are even with the top edge of the crimp. Press down on the beans to make sure they spread to the edges of the shell.

  3. Bake for 20 minutes, rotating 180 degrees halfway through. The outer edge of the crimp should be dry and golden brown.

  4. Remove the shell from the oven and carefully remove the parchment paper/coffee filter full of beans. If the paper sticks to the pie, bake it for 3 more minutes and try again. Once the parchment paper or coffee filter is removed, prick the bottom of the shell all over with a fork. Bake for 3 more minutes, until the interior of the shell is dry and light golden brown.

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