Cooking School 101: Pie Crust

Whether your prefer crostatas, quiches, galettes, or the Thanksgiving classics, pies are delicious and amazingly versatile. Though there are infinite variations of the traditional pie, the base pastry is the same: A combination of flour, fat, and liquid.  Everyone and their grandmother seems to have a some tip or trick they swear by for getting perfectly flakey pie crust. My trick is simple: Vodka. It decreases gluten development, keeps things chilly, and evaporates quickly for a nice flaky crust. In fact, I might start using that trick in all aspects of my life. Think how much better things would be, if your go to solution for all of your problems was to add a nip or two of vodka?

Vodka consumption aside, this pie crust is a great basic pie dough that yields a lovely crust for any of your pie adventures.

Basic Pie Crust (makes two pie crusts)

Keeping the ingredients and dough cold is key to making a flakey pie crust. When you are not working with the dough or butter, keep them in the fridge.


  • 2 sticks cold butter, cut into ½” cubes. You want them to be very cold.
  • 3 cups AP Flour
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons cold Vodka
  • 2 Tablespoons ice cold water (plus more in case your dough is looking dry)


  • Food Processor (if you don’t have a food processor you can use pastry cutter, two butter knives to cut the pastry, or even your hands if you are really in a bind)
  • Cutting Board dusted with flour
  • Plastic Wrap for storing

*If storing in the freezer for later use, you will need to wrap your pastry dough in plastic wrap and then aluminum foil.

The Process:

1) In the food processor, add the flour, salt, and sugar. Pulse 2-3 times until combined.

#2-The flour and butter have formed a course, sandy texture. This is what it should look like before you add the liquid to the dough

2) Add the cold cubes of butter to the flour mixture and pulse until fine crumbs form (similar to sand).


3) Add the vodka and ice water to the mixture, about 1 tablespoon at a time, pulsing the dough for 4-5 seconds between each addition until clumps of dough start to form.

The dough forms large clumps after adding the liquid to the mixture

*To see if the dough is ready, gather some crumbs in your hand and squeeze them together. If a dough ball forms (and stays pretty much formed) then your pastry is ready. If you need to add a little more liquid, go ahead and use  little more ice water or vodka.

4) Place the pastry mixer on a floured cutting board or bowl and form into disk. Cover in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour. You can also chill it over night or even freeze it for up to 1 month.

The Test: First, squeeze the dough firmly…..
…the dough is ready when a ball easily forms.
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4 Replies to “Cooking School 101: Pie Crust”

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  3. […] when making my pies. I will list the recipe for the lard pie crust I used down below and link my butter pie crust  for the sake of time (no one has the time to read an 8 page blog post on pie, not even me). So […]

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