Flaky Pie Crust

Flaky Pie Crust 

Makes two, 9” [23 cm] crusts 

Source: Adapted from Joy of Cooking

This dough makes a light, flaky crust that shatters at the touch of a fork.  It is wonderful with any fruit pie or can also be used with a quiche or other savory pie. This recipe will make enough for a double crust (bottom and top for an apple pie) or two single crusts (bottom only for a quiche or pecan pie).



flour  (plain)







solid shortening (e.g., Crisco in US)







(or unsalted butter, shortening)







sugar  (caster)














cold water


fl ounces



Mix the dry ingredients together, then cut in the shortening/butter with a pastry blender or 2 knives.
Some fat pieces should be the size of peas, while the rest is a coarse crumb.
Drizzle the water of the mixture and gently blend in, just until it begins to hold together.  You may have to use an additional tablespoon or 2 of water, but use as little as possible.
Divide the dough into two, press each half into a round flat disk and wrap tightly in plastic.
Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes and preferably for several hours (up to 2 days).
Remove form the refrigerator and allow to warm briefly before rolling.
Roll each disk a bit larger than the pie pan.
Roll the dough around the rolling pin to transfer it to the pie plate.
Fit carefully in the pan, trying not to stretch the dough.
Flute or press an edge to the crust, removing any excess.

To Prebake crust: 

Some recipes require the pastry to be baked separately from the pie. If the recipe specifies to prebake the crust, do the following after forming the dough in the pan:

Preheat the oven to 400F [205C].

With the tines of a fork held vertically, poke tiny holes all over the base of the crust.
Line the inside of the crust (bottom and sides, but not the outer crust) with foil and weigh it down with a layer of copper pennies (many recipe books specify beans, but the pennies are just as heavy and they conduct heat better).

Bake the crust for 15-20 minutes.  The edges of the crust should be nicely browned while the bottom is just starting to color and no longer looks raw. If the bottom is not yet done, remove the foil and bake a few minutes longer.

Pate Brisee 

(a more buttery version used in France and other parts of Europe)

Make as above, using 1 cup butter (8 ounces [225 grams]) and cup (2 ounces [55 grams]) solid shortening.


You can use all butter for a more flavorful crust, but the shortening is what makes the crust so flaky. An all-shortening crust will be the flakiest while the all-butter crust will be the most flavorful. Butter contains some water (it is only about 82% fat) while the shortening is 100% fat. You can decide on the proportions that you like best. I would not use margarine as the flavor is not right. Do not use any of the “diet” butters as they generally just contain more water.

If you find typographical errors or have any other problems when looking at the site please send the Webmaster e-mail describing the problem and the page involved.