Master Pie Crust

There’s a reason to use two fats in your pie crust.

You’ll note that I use butter as well as shortening in this crust. Why? Well butter contains water and when the crust is baking the water turns to steam and guess what happens! You get a flakier crust than if you just used shortening. It must be magic!

Master Pie Crust


  • 2 ½ cups all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup vegetable shortening, chilled
  • 9 tablespoons butter, chilled
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • ½ cup ice water


  1. Cube butter into 1/4 or 3/8 inch pieces. Place in small bowl and refrigerate.
  2. Measure one 1/2 cup of vegetable shortening and refrigerate.
  3. Mix salt in ice water and keep chilled in refrigerator.
  4. In a food processor combine flour and sugar. Pulse two or three times to mix well.
  5. Add butter to processor and pulse several times. Add shortening and pulse until the mixture looks coarse and pale yellow.
  6. Place mixture into a large bowl and add three tablespoons of ice water. Knead the dough and water mixture until a loose ball forms. Add water one tablespoon at a time until mixture comes together. Be careful not to over knead as this will make a less flaky crust.
  7. Form pastry into a ball with your hands and divide into two pieces, one slightly larger than the other. Press into small disks on a sheet of wax paper and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
  8. Roll disks out on floured wax paper until the pastry is about 12 inches round and about 1/8 inch thick. Transfer to pie pan. Fill with fruit and add top crust. Cut vents to allow steam to escape.
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  • reply Chiot's Run ,

    I too use a mix of butter and shortening. I also put some 1 T. of vinegar and an egg to my crust – it’s my grandmother’s recipe. I think the vinegar adds a wonderful slight zing to it (I use homemade apple cider vinegar).

    • reply Dave ,

      I’ve heard of the vinegar thing but not the egg. Would you share the recipe with me on a strict no release agreement from me? If so, I promise I will not release the recipe without your consent in any form, shape, media, or hint of the same, forever.


      PS I’ll check with Harold McGee to check on the science of vinegar.

      • reply Dave ,

        Finally the vinegar answer! Vinegar will keep gluten formation to a minimum enhancing the flakiness of the crust. Whew! That took way to long to get posted.

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