Most would agree that when it comes to baking the perfect pie, it’s the homemade pie crust recipe that either makes it—or breaks it. Failure can take many forms: It can be tough, greasy, cracked, sodden, shrunken, contain too much water, or too little butter. This recipe for buttery, never-crumbly crust proves it doesn’t have to be this way.
The infallibility of this recipe rests on a few key components: A good bit of cold butter makes it flaky, the addition of a little cream cheese (our not-so secret ingredient) keeps the pie dough tender, and a touch of baking powder provides insurance and extra lift. Plus, if you use a baking scale (you are using one, aren’t you?!), use it to measure your cold water, and never, ever guesstimate the right amount again.
A few words on technique: Folding your pie dough a few times after mixing is the key to a super-flaky pie crust. This simple method—a kind of lamination—smooshes chunks of butter into thin sheets trapped between layers of flour (much like croissant dough or puff pastry), which creates airy pockets as the dough bakes. And while you could certainly roll your dough out on a work surface dusted with all-purpose flour, we like using gluten-free rice flour, which you can use liberally without fear of toughening your dough.
This perfect pie crust recipe (if we do say so) makes a generous amount of dough for a single-crust pie (feel free to double or triple it if you’re making more). This means you won’t have any problems when it’s time to roll it out and line your pie plate. Speaking of which, forget glass or ceramic—metal pie pans are a must because they are excellent conductors of heat, ensuring a properly browned crust.
That’s it! No food processor, pastry cutter, or other contraptions needed. The only hard part is picking your pie filling. Whether you’re in the mood for a savory pie (quiche anyone?) or something sweet (might we recommend pecan or pumpkin, Dutch Apple Pie or banana cream pie, this recipe has you covered.