The key to a delicious holiday pie? Paula Deen says it starts with the crust! And you don’t need to be a professional baker, thanks to her foolproof recipe, below, that preps in as little as 20 minutes. Her best advice for tender and flaky pie perfection: Start with cold shortening and butter and be sure not to overmix ingredients, then gently roll out dough, instead of stretching, to keep it from getting tough or tearing.
That said, if you’re short on time, Deen says go ahead and use pre-made: “I don’t beat myself up about refrigerated pie dough! I like the one that comes in a roll. You can decorate how you want — lattice or crimp the edges. Don’t hesitate to use the pie crusts!” For decoration inspiration, check out her ideas below. Whether you start from scratch or use store-bought, they’re sure to make for a sweet finale!
Paula Deen’s Recipe for a Perfectly Flaky Piecrust
This makes enough dough for a double-crust pie — if you only need one crust, pop the second disk in a freezer bag and save to use later.
- 2 1⁄2 cups all-purpose flour
- 3 tablespoons sugar
- 1⁄4 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 1⁄4 cup cold vegetable shortening
- 12 tablespoons cold butter, cubed
- 1⁄2 cup cup ice water
- In a large bowl, sift together the flour, sugar, and salt. Add shortening and break it up with your fingers as you start to coat it all up with flour. Add cold butter cubes, then using your fingers, a pastry cutter or two knives, work the butter into the flour mixture. Work quickly, so butter doesn’t get too soft, until mixture is crumbly, like very coarse cornmeal. Add ice water, a little at a time, until mixture comes together to form dough. Do not overwork the dough, otherwise it will become tough. Gather into a ball.
- Divide dough in half and slightly flatten each half to form disk shapes. Wrap each in plastic wrap and chill for about 30 minutes. On a floured surface, roll out each disk to a 10 to 11 inch round to make a nine inch pie.
Fast Forked Edge
For an almost-instant polished look, lightly dip tines of a fork in flour, then press into edges of dough to create a lined pattern.
Add a touch of drama by making one inch-long cuts one inch apart around dough edge; fold alternating pieces of dough into center.
To create a classic scalloped edge, pinch dough between your thumb and forefinger, then press the rounded end of a measuring spoon into the dough to create a ruffle.
This article originally appeared in our print magazine, Woman’s World.