How to Make Flaky Pie Crust Video + Apple Pie Recipe
A demonstration with baking tips and a delicious recipe
The art of achieving a golden, flaky pie crust can be a challenge for many bakers. In this easy pie crust baking demonstration video, I share tips for how to make a delicious apple pie with a golden, flaky crust that would make any grandmother proud. My 3-2-1 recipe is simple–it’s all about the types of ingredients, the techniques and temperature. We hope this apple pie recipe makes its way into your kitchen this season. Also, watch my mini apple pie tutorial, if you would like your guests to have their own individual pie. Cheers!
Today in the Jordan kitchen, I’m going to show you another recipe that people have problems with, which is flaky pie crust. And it’s actually very simple. I’m gonna show you the recipe that I’ve used for years and then explain how you can change some of the ingredients to end up with the product that you want. It’s very basic. Actually, there are three main ingredients: flour, water, and fat. Then I also have some sugar and salt that I add for flavor and also for the browning of the crust. First of all the flour, you’ll find that most recipes call for pastry flour, pastry flour is different from bread and all purpose in it has less protein. It’s going to give you a softer product, you’ll end up with a flakier, more tender crust, bread flour would give you a really tough, thick crust, which you don’t really want for a pie. Cake flour has less protein than pastry, it’ll just be too flaky to tender and crumble. I usually use all purposes because it is very similar. And it’s what I always have at home. And if you handle it right, you can still get a really flaky product. Some recipes will recommend you use bleach flour because the bleaching process takes out some protein. It’s again a little bit softer, and it’ll give you a little bit more tender crests. But because of what it does to the flavor, I still prefer to use unbleached slowly, more natural gets a little bit a better flavor. You could also do a combination of half pastry flour, half all purpose whatever you want.
But that’s the first thing that goes and so along with the dry ingredients, I’ll add my sugar and salt. The recipe I go with I call it three-two-one. That’s three cups of flour, two cups, or two cubes of butter, four ounces, one cup of water. With your dry three cups of flour, I’ll add a tablespoon of sugar, and then just about a teaspoon of salt. Your next ingredient would be your fat. There are different fats you can use. A lot of recipes will call for either large shortening or butter. Lard has a really rich flavor, probably not what you want to use for a sweet pie crust, maybe for a savory taste that would be fine. Then your two options here would be shortening or butter shortening has 100% fat, butter has 80%. Has some more solids and water and liquid in there. But I still prefer to use butter because it’s more natural, the flavors better. Shortening can also be inconsistent in the quality and the flavor side, and I never have it at home. I just kind of prefer to stay away from it. But if it’s what you prefer, because it’s 100% fat, you’ll have more flakiness in your crust. You can also do half brother and half shortening because it’s pretty neutral, it’ll take on the flavor of your butter.
I have here just regular butter, that’s eight ounces, and I cut it up and about hazelnut-sized pieces. And one of the most important things is that you keep it very cold. Same with your flour, some people will actually keep their flour in the freezer for recipes like this. And their butter should be refrigerated until you’re ready to use it. These eight ounces of butter go in with the dry ingredients. And about right here where you would turn on your mixer, I use a stand mixer on very low speed, you can start right here just for about a minute or two to break up some of your butter. The reason why you want your ingredients cold is that if they’re warm, they’re going to all kind of come together really quickly. You want them to stay separate, you want to still have some butter chunks in there when you’re done so that that’s going to create a lot of the layering that you’re looking for. Let’s go for about two minutes. This is a commercial mixer, we also use Kitchen Aid. That’s what I always use at home. It works really well. If you don’t have that you can also do it by hand, but the mixer is just much quicker.
This is about what you’re looking for in your dry before you add the liquid. You can see that the flour looks like it’s taken on some moisture because some of the pieces have worked themselves in but there’s still a good amount of large chunks of butter. You want to try and keep a lot of those in there. And I’ll show you why in a little while. This goes back into the mixer and in the three two one recipe the one is your ice water and it’s about a cup. You don’t want to add all of it at once because depending on the temperature of your flour and the humidity in the room may take more, may take less. I add the majority of it right now while the mixer is off, and then one tip the other people will tell you to do is I’ll recommend about a teaspoon of cider vinegar. And what that does is weaken the gluten, which is what makes your dough stretchy and hold together, it weakens. You actually end up with a really soft dough that’s really easy to roll out. And it gives you just a little bit of an acidic flavor. I usually don’t do that only because it’s just one extra step and one extra ingredient. And it really doesn’t make a huge difference unless you have a lot of trouble with rolling. At this point, I’ll just give it a few turns in the mixer, you want to be really careful not to over mix your dough.
If it’s looking a little dry add about a teaspoon of water at a time, this is about what you’re looking for, it’s not going to be completely mixed and incorporated. The reason why is that you want to do that by hand, if you mix it completely in the mixer, you’re going to tend to over mix it. You finish everything by hand, you want to just lightly flour your working area. Turn out your dough, and you will have a lot of dry pieces there, that’s fine. What you want to do to finish mixing rather than needing your dough and squishing it together, you’re going to flatten it, get all your pieces, just flatten them and then fold it on itself. What that does is the layers of butter kind of layer on top of each other, and it’ll give you a really flaky crust. And you don’t need it to be totally put together or one big mass, it’s gonna feel a little loose still, this is about what you’re looking for, it’s still kind of loose, mostly put together. And you’re gonna still see some good-sized pieces of butter. That’s what you want because when it bakes, the liquid in the butter is going to evaporate and create layers between your dough. At this point is when you would cover it and refrigerate it probably for about an hour. What that does is it rests the dough so that it’s easier to roll out and also helps it to keep its shape once you’re ready to bake.
Now I’ll show you how to roll the dough that I made earlier. How to roll it, you want to flour your surface again. This is the dough that’s been resting for a couple of hours, what’s ready, you’ll see this one was cut. You can see how there are layers of butter, you can see how you can where you’ll be able to tell how flaky it will be. You flour this and flour over the top. And once I learned with rolling is you never want to move your body to roll things in a circle always roll straight ahead of you. And then if this needs to be turned, you turn the actual dough. That way you always guarantee that it’s not sticking on your surface. If you were to just leave it in one spot and keep rolling, you wouldn’t know if it was sticking, and then by the time you’re ready to lift it, it could be stuck and you could tear your dough. If you need more flour, you can put more flour on. This is how the dough is gonna look you’re still gonna see pretty good-sized pieces of butter in there, which is good, that’s what you want. Alright, at this point, this is when you would add it or start using it. I have one that’s already been rolled out here for your bottom. As you see, it’s not important for it to look perfect. On the bottom layer. You’re going to end up cutting and trimming. Right here is just the glass pan. A lot of people like it because you can see if the bottom crust is cooked evenly or not. That’s the problem that a lot of people have is that their crust bakes on top but not on the bottom. One way to help that is to cook your pie towards the bottom of your oven or even directly on the bottom of the oven. You can also use ceramic, it really conducts heat really well. You get a nice even crust, it’s just harder to see when it’s done. Or metal is really durable. Although the same problem, you can’t see when it’s done. The filling I use. You can use whatever you want. I use a cooked apple filling. I use Granny Smith because they’re nice and tart. You can always find them. And because I cook it, they hold their shape really well, so this is what I like to use. And then I just cook it on the stovetop with sugar, some lemon juice, vanilla, cinnamon, and ginger and I’ll include the recipe for you. At this point, you would just lay your top on. If it’s giving you some trouble and it’s gotten soft another thing you can do is roll it onto your rolling pin And then just roll it back over. You just want to kind of attach the top and the bottom to each other. And then all this extra, you just want to cut it off, probably about an inch away from your pie. And then, with what I have left, I like to try and put the top, tuck it in under the bottom layer. And that way you won’t see any bursting. After the pies are baked you’ll get some points where there’s more dough than others, if you feel that there’s a spot where there’s not much dough, you can get a piece of your scrap and tuck it in so that the trim looks pretty consistent all the way around. That’s one thing I try to do sometimes. Once you’ve got it folded, you just press it together and make sure it’s together and you’ve got kind of a base to work with for your shape. You can see how you have kind of a lip there.
To finish, you can really do whatever, whatever you want. A lot of people will press a fork, use a crimper, and crimp it themselves. I always crimp it myself, it’s really simple. I just put my index finger and then these two fingers around it. And you just do that all the way around your pie, of course, you have big hands so my crimps always seem to be a lot bigger than other people’s. It’s whatever you want it to look like, it really doesn’t matter. And once you have this done, you can go ahead and actually refrigerate this before you bake it for about a half-hour or if you want to freeze it for about 15 minutes. What that does is it keeps all the ingredients really cold so that when it actually goes in the oven, it’s going to hold it shaped much better. But at this point you would freeze it, we’ll just pretend that it is frozen. Now what you would want to do is an egg wash, it’s basically just an egg that’s beaten up. And you just brush it over your pie. This is going to give you a really nice shiny pie. When you’re finished, brush over the crust. And then one thing you want to do with every pie, especially fruit when it bakes a lot of liquids is going to come out. If you don’t have any vents for the air to escape from, it’s going to try and come outbursts out of your sides, your sides will get ruined, the fruit will be falling out the side. You just create some vents for the air to escape from. And you can play around and make any design you want. Just kind of open them up, make sure that they’re well ventilated. And then one thing I always do, you don’t have to do is optional, I just sprinkle about two tablespoons of sugar over the top, just for the look, and because it’s crusty and sweet. At this point, you would put it in your oven. And most ovens in general, you’d bake it about 375 I would check it after 40 minutes and it could take up to an hour depending on your oven, so keep an eye on it, you may want to rotate it if one side is brownie more than the other. If you’re using convection, you would start about 350. And again, check it after about 40 minutes, make sure it’s cooking, right.
After about an hour, this is what your pile will look like. I did have to rotate it a few times. As you can see it got dark on some edges and just moved it in the oven so that you can make sure that if your ovens are not consistent, you’ll get a nice even browning on that. If you don’t want to do something so traditional. Another option you can do is a lattice pie. And I’ll show you real quickly how you can do that. You would be using the exact same recipe as this traditional pie when you go to roll it out rather than trying to get a circle. I try to make more of a rectangular shape. And then you just cut strips out of your pie dough. This is just also half the recipe. The recipe I showed you is three-two-one, you would cut that in half one would be for your bottom one would be for your top. This is just half of that recipe. And I usually get a plate and kind of put it upside down with a piece of parchment on there. And you can start building your lattice on this. You don’t want to build it directly on the pie because with the fruit if you’re moving this around, it’s gonna get messy and discolored. You can start with one strip, sort of towards the center. And then just kind of crisscross your second strip we’ll go over just like that. And then when you get to several pieces, you just start moving them around so that you want to create that lattice-shaped it just cut them with a knife, you can eyeball it, if you want them to be perfect, you can use a ruler, then you can flip these over, add another piece, put it back. Same here you want that under. And then when you have your basic lattice shapes, you can do them thinner. If you want more detail, you can do a much thicker, if you want a different look, it really doesn’t matter, it’s up to you. The nice thing about this is it naturally has vents in there for your pie. At this point, I would stick it in the freezer probably for about 10 or 15 minutes. That way, these pieces aren’t soft, they’re not going to shift on you when you go to slide it onto your pie. And they’ll keep their shape. And that’s also the nice thing about using a plate is it gives you a little bit of a dome and about the shape that you’re looking for on your pie. And then after you pulled it out of the freezer, you would just kind of easily slide it over your pie and make the readjustments to make. And then I just kind of pinch off the ends, what you’re going to see when you’re done, again, you want to egg wash it before it goes in the oven. This is a traditional lattice pie. What’s nice is you can see the layers that you’ve created with your pie dough. That’s by handling it carefully, not over mixing. And then when I showed you mixing by hand, all that layering creates these nice layers and gives you a really flaky tender crust. And if you do a lattice pie, the baking is basically exactly the same as a traditional pie. The baking time, temperature are all the same.
I hope these tips have helped you. Again, it’s really simple, easy to remember three- two-one your basic ingredients. And if you have any questions or comments about baking, please feel free to post that for us and we’ll be happy to answer these questions.