I love pie… who doesn’t?!
But unlike a cake, that can be made or broken by the right frosting, a pie is all about the crust.
And for that reason, the filling is just a bonus and in the end, not exactly necessary.
As a child, some of the best weekends started with the smell of fresh baked pie crusts wafting up from the kitchen. In the beginning, my memory always had these joyous mornings related to the baking of actual pies. Mom would make a pie, and then the left over crust got rolled out, covered in butter, sprinkled with cinnamon sugar, and eaten for breakfast with coffee, or in my case at the time, a cup of hot cocoa.
As time went on however, I realized that some days these crusts showed up with no pies following at all. What a special treat I thought, to put all of that time into a crust with no pie.
But as I learned to bake, I realized how simple a crust is to make. (Not to mention how important it is to be done well.)
So today I thought I would share my Mother’s no-fail pie recipe. Partly because I care about you, my readers, and partly because I felt like having pie crust for breakfast…
Just the Crust Pie Crust Recipe
1 rounded cup of flour
1/2 cup of chilled butter (1 stick)
1 tablespoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract (optional)
1/4 cup ice cold water
To Top it Off:
2 tablespoons butter softened
Notes Before We Begin:
- In case you missed it up there, make sure your butter is chilled! It matters! Don’t be lazy and try mixing in melted butter!
- Speaking of butter, when I say butter, I mean butter. Not margarine, not shortening, not gluten free, calorie free, soy free, mystery butter substitute that shrinks your thighs and fuels your ego. You’re making a pie crust for breakfast, don’t fool yourself into thinking a dietary short cut makes it better
- This recipe can be made alone, but is also an ideal substitute to be used in any single crust pie recipe
- Make ahead? Sure! Just wrap it tightly with plastic wrap and store it in the refrigerator until you’re ready to bake, within a few days of course, i.e., make this before bed and bake while you shower in the morning for a gluttonous mid-week treat
- You can use a food processor or old fashion pastry cutter to make this. Personally, I go for the pastry cutter as I’m all about control and manual labor in the kitchen
- The key to good pie crust is the right amount of water with the right amount of mixing. Try to add the water in small amounts but avoid over mixing your crust
Ok, let’s do this!
Combine sugar and flour in a bowl. Cut the chilled butter into small pieces and using either a pastry cutter or food processor, mix until the butter is combined throughout. If you are adding the vanilla, now is your chance. Add the vanilla to an empty 1/4 cup, top off with ice cold water.
This is the place where it gets a little tricky!
Add just enough water mixture, cutting continuously into the flour and butter to moisten and bind to together, but not enough to make it soggy or sticky. Do this by adding small amount of water at a time.
Use your hands to form into a ball and flatten into a disk. Wrap with plastic wrap and chill until ready for use, 1 hour or more.
Roll chilled crust out on a floured surface. Transfer baking sheet.
Spread butter over crust as your would a piece of toast, using more or less butter as desired. Sprinkle with sugar and cinnamon.
Bake at 375 for 12 minutes or until the crust is golden brown.
Let cool, slightly, and serve.
Or stand over the stove and consume the entire crust between sips of coffee. Its really up to you at this point.