I’m sharing with you today, my guide to making a pie crust made with butter. An all butter pie crust rather than using shortening and butter. I’ve provided visual step by step images and detailed instructions. Learn to make a buttery and flaky pie crust just like a pro.
Making homemade pie crusts are easier than you think. Rewarding, flakier and tastier than store purchased. A skill that every home cook should learn. Here’s the classic French method (Pate Brisee) for how to make a perfect tart shell or pie crust using butter. A method I learned at Culinary School.
Making an all butter pie crust was just one of the big take aways from my time spent at Cook Street School of Culinary Arts. And learning a new skill of making a pie crust recipe without shortening. Which before now was the only way I knew.
And lucky for me, I was taught by one of the best pastry chefs in Denver. And I was trained to make a pie crust and tart shell the classic way, the classic French way. Pate Brisee, (prounced pat bre-say) is an all butter method to make the most tender and flaky pie dough, and it’s as traditional as it gets.
It reflects my respect for traditional methods and it’s something every home cook should learn to make. And the fun part? It’s easy.
And it’s versatile. You can make pies and tarts to your heart’s content.
6 essential keys to making a perfect flaky all butter pie crust for either a pie or tart shell that must not be ignored:
- Cold ingredients (butter and water must be cold)
- Use a bench knife to chunk the butter and return butter to refrigerator before proceeding
- Measure flour using a kitchen scale
- Add an acid (to keep crust from discoloring)
- Don’t over mix (you want chunks of butter to remain in final product)
- Rest (let dough rest in refrigerator at least 30 minutes)
- Not too much water (you want dough to be just slightly sticky)
- Low protein flour (All purpose flour)
This recipe will make two 9″ tart or pie pan crusts. I have simply fallen head over heels in love with tart pans.
Pie Pans vs. Tart Pans?
What’s the difference between and pie pan and a tart pan? The main difference is the shape and depth of the sides.
A tart pan has straight sides with a wavy design. I prefer the end result look of tart.
They turn out neat, more “professional” looking than pies.
Most tart pans are made of metal, and have a removable bottom, allowing you to slip off the outer ring without damaging the beautiful crust.
Step By Step to Making A Homemade All Butter Pie Crust
Make sure the butter is cold and cut into cubes. Once I cut it into cubes, I return it to the refrigerator while gathering the rest of the ingredients.
Add flour and salt to that cold butter and start to work the dough.
Using the sheeting method, blend the flour and the butter without over working.
The sheeting method is simply combing the butter and flour using your thumbs and index fingers in a slicing (sheeting) motion.
Just add in the cold water and blend with your hands, and shaping into a shaggy looking ball.
The dough should feel slightly sticky. Add a little more water if necessary for the dough to come together in this rustic ball. The photo above is illustrating how the dough will look have way through the sheeting process.
Cover in plastic wrap and let it rest in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes.
Chef’s Tip: Letting the dough rest in the refrigerator makes it easier to roll out. If it’s too warm, it will stick to your rolling pin, forcing you to use more flour.
When rolling out, place a little flour on your working surface and the rolling pin. Rotate the dough as you roll. And make sure when rolling that dough to roll it out even. An even and consistent thickness makes for a professional looking end product.
This ball of dough made from this recipe makes two all butter pie crusts. Use a bench knife to cut it evenly into to sections.
So I hope you learn to make a pie crust using butter. And if you’re looking for tart crust recipes, I hope you start with this one. You’ll be glad you did.
How To Dock A Pie Crust
Pricking holes in a prepared pie crust allows the steam to escape while it’s baking. If you don’t dock a pie crust before baking, the steam will puff up in big bubbles and pockets in the crust while its baking.
That means some parts will cook faster than others and also the crust will come out uneven.
If you’re blind baking a crust for a filling that doesn’t need cooking, this is an important step to make sure you have an even surface for that custard.
Docking a pie crust is simple, just place the pie crust in the pie pan and form it to the pan. Then take a fork and stab the pie crust all over, even on the sides.
How To Blind Bake A Pie Crust
Blind baking means to bake the pie crust before adding the filling. This is used for filling that don’t require cooking time. Like this no-bake Key Lime Pie.
To blind bake a pie crust, an easy way to insure the crust bakes even and doesn’t bubble, even after docking, is to place a piece of parchment paper over the unbaked crust. Then fill the parchment covered crust with pinto beans.
Even out the beans with your hand and bake according to instructions.
I keep a storage container in my pantry with these beans labeled “pie crust beans” and use them over and over.
Recipe for All Butter Pie Crust or Tart Shell
I grew up in a household where my mom used Crisco for her pie crusts. She turned out some fabulous pies with that method, but I’m glad to have this pie crust recipe without shortening for an alternative method.
I hope you give this all butter pie crust recipe a try. And if you’re looking for tart crust recipes, I hope you start with this one.
Please come back and let me know how you liked it and give the recipe a star rating.
Your feedback is valuable to me for developing future recipes. And if you have a favorite pie recipe to fill that flaky pie crust, let me know, I’d love to give it a try.
Want to put that pie crust to work? Take a look at these recipes using this All Butter Pie Crust:
- Strawberry Tart with Lemon Cream Cheese Filling
- Fresh Cherry Pie
- Caramelized Onion Tart with Gruyere
- Creme Fraiche Cranberry Pear Tart
- Fresh Peach and Blueberry Pie
- and this one I want to make soon for Banana Cream Pie
And if you’re a dessert fan, you won’t want to miss my Dessert Category You’ll find lots of ideas for that sweet tooth. Including the most popular dessert recipe on my site, Cherry Delight, an old fashioned cream cheese dessert.
All Butter Pie Crust and Tart Shell, Pate Brisee
- 12 ounces All Purpose Flour 1 1/2 cups
- 1 teaspoon Salt
- 8 ounces Butter Cold and cut into 1/2 inch cubes
- 4 1/2 ounces Cold water Approximately just over 1/2 cup. Add more if dough needs it
- 1/2 ounce White vinegar 3 teaspoons
- Combine the water and vinegar.
- Put the flour, salt and butter in a large bowl.
- Mix with fingers using the sheeting method, until butter is broken into smaller pieces and still visible. How to use sheeting method: Begin sheeting the butter by pressing the cubes of butter between thumb and forefinger in a “snapping” motion, giving you long sheets of butter. You want these long sheet present in the final product.
- Add water mixture a little at a time, gently mixing until dough comes together. Knead a few times for mixture to come together. Keeping adding a additional cold water, a little at a time so the dough will form into a sticky ball.
- Wrap in plastic wrap and place in refrigerator to rest for 30 minutes.
- After the dough has rested, divide dough roll into two equal parts. Lightly flour a surface and with a rolling pin, roll the dough to 1/8″ thickness.
- Place dough in pie pan or tart shell and trim edges. Dock the dough using a fork. Add filling and bake according to recipe directions.
- If You Need to Blind Bake: If using a delicate pastry cream or custard type filling you will want to blind bake the crust. Once the dough is in the desired shell. Refrigerate for several hours or overnight. Dock the dough. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Cover the shell with parchment paper and fill with dried beans or rice. Bake for 15 – 20 minutes. Remove the beans and parchment and continuing baking until crust is just turning golden.
All Butter Pie Crust … It’s Whats For a Perfectly Flaky Pie