No-Fail Pie Crust

I made cakes and cheesecakes for yeeeeears before attempting pie crust.  It frightened me so. It was the opposite of me: precise, tidy, exact.  The mom of a good friend of mine (who actually became my cousin’s wife) used to make pies by the dozens.  So, I asked her for some tips.

She told me to take a day and dedicate it to learning.  It was Autumn in Ontario, so she recommended that I get a bushel of apples and then I would just have to use them.  “Make sure your utensils are cold and dry.  Don’t touch the pastry, it doesn’t like the warmth of your hands.  And don’t be sad when the first few you try fail miserably.” She provided tip after tip after tip.

So I did as I was told.  I brought my apples home and there they sat, taunting me.  “Don’t waste us”! they screamed.  I started early in the day and boy oh boy did those first few fail miserably.  As I tossed at least three crusts out, I began to lose heart.  Then I was reminded of the words of my pie-making mom friend: “don’t give up, you’ll find your groove”.  Sigh.  I soldiered on.

Eventually, I got the feel for it.  I discovered that I like using those dollar store plastic cutting boards.  It makes it super easy to get the crust from the counter to the dish.  (I need to be adding some pictures in to help, I promise the next time I make I’ll take pictures just of crust making, next week is pie week!)

If I have too much overhang, I cut around the outside edges to make it more even, more or less a half inch over.  That makes the crust more uniform which means there are no dry, overcooked spots; every bite is delectable.

After a day of staying at home and making crust after crust, I had made 11 apple pies!  Off they went into the freezer.  What a great feeling that was!

While I have changed pie crust recipes a few times over the years, this is now the one that I use without fail, sweet or savory.  It won’t disappoint.



  • 3 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 cup vegetable shortening
  • 1/2 cup cold unsalted butter, diced
  • 1/2 to 2/3 cups ice water


Mix flour, salt, and baking powder in a bowl and whisk to combine.  Add shortening and butter and cut in with a pastry cutter.  Cut in fats until the mixture looks the size of peas.  Add ice water and combine only enough to moisten the dough and have it come together.  Turn onto floured surface and knead quickly into a ball.  Wrap the dough in plastic and allow it to rest in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.

Can be frozen up to 3 months.

Makes 2 pie crusts.

6 thoughts on “No-Fail Pie Crust

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