Try Making Pie Crust With Butter Instead of Shortening

Pie Shell Made From Butter

Have you ever made an all-butter pie shell?  In my teens, I was enamored with making pies.  My dad was quite skinny, an easy target for my efforts.   Since you couldn’t buy pre-made pie shells in the store back then, the first part of making a pie was obviously making the crust.  Without a food processor.  And with shortening.  Maybe it still is better to use shortening, but butter sounds tastier.

Yes, you have seen this before on Worth The Whisk, but for most of my readers, this was published waaaaaay before you stumbled on this blog.  And it was worth repurposing!

This day, once I made this crust, I made make quiche for dinner.  My friend, Cathi, reintroduced me to making quiche a few years ago as a total slam-dunk entree for feeding crowds, especially using premade shells.  But yesterday, I realized we had a lot of butter and no shortening.  I made one butter pastry shell for one upcoming quiche.  Not hard, a few steps.  The recipe (halved, below, to make just one shell) is from What’s Cooking America and I reworked a bit to not be so messy:

All Butter Pastry Recipe

  • 1-1/3 cup unbleached all-purpose flour, plus extra for rolling
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. granulated sugar
  • 1 stick (1/4 lb.) cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
  • 3 to 5 Tbsp. ice water

In a food processor, process the flour, salt and sugar until combined.  Scatter the butter pieces over the flour mixture and process with 1-second pulses until butter bits are no larger than small peas, about 10 pulses.  Turn the mixture into a medium bowl.

Sprinkle 3 Tbsp. of ice water over the mixture.  Using a rubber spatula, fold to mix.  Press down on the dough with the broad side of the spatula until the dough sticks together, adding up too 2 Tbsp. more water if the dough does not come together.

Flour hands generously.  Flatten the dough into a 4-inch disk, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 1 hour before rolling.

On a piece of wax paper, form pastry into a ball, top with another sheet of wax paper and roll with a rolling pin until 2 inches larger than pie plate.  Peel off the top piece of wax paper, place the plate upside down on the dough.  Using your hand underneath, lift the plate and dough, flip over.  Carefully peel back the sheet of wax paper and gently fit to the edges of the pan.  Pinch crust edges for decoration, trim off excess.  Chill, covered with wax paper, until ready to use.  Bring to room temperature before baking.

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{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Sandy November 28, 2015 at 12:29 pm

Wanted to know because I have no shortening in the house and no $ to purchase any. Just a bit wary about the addition of sugar. I was wanting the crust for a savory dish rather than a sweet one … and my dad is a diabetic besides.

2 Worth The Whisk February 6, 2014 at 9:35 pm

Carol, you use this pie crust in whatever pie recipe you have, follow that recipe’s directions for baking.

3 Carol B February 6, 2014 at 5:38 pm

So, how long and what temp do you bake this delicious sounding pie crust for?

4 Maureen | Orgasmic Chef January 19, 2014 at 12:23 am

I make my crust with all butter too but I use J. Kenji Lopez-Alt’s super easy method from where you whiz 2/3 of the ingredients until no flour is left and then add 1/3 and pulse just a time or two and then add the cold water. It’s a never fail.

Your crust looks perfect.

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