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Four & Twenty Blackbirds' All-Butter Pie Crust

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For #PieWeek, our guest editors are Emily and Melissa Elsen, the pie mavens behind Four & Twenty Blackbirds in Brooklyn, NY. They will be sharing recipes all week from their first cookbook, and giving away a copy each day!

Today: We start at the very beginning. With crust.

All-Butter Pie Crust on Food52

A mutual passion for executing the perfect pie crust was probably what truly started us on our journey into pie making. While Emily had gotten excited about making pies from a sculptural, hands-on perspective, it was Melissa who would take our crust recipe and tweak it (over and over again) to perfection with the addition of cider vinegar for tang and tenderness.

To this day you might still find us arguing about perfect crust execution, but we definitely agree that to work in our kitchen, you must have the ability to make a good crust, no matter the size or temperature of your hands. In our opinion, when it comes to baking pie for yourself and your friends and family, it's all about how you, the pie maker, handle it, and not what a machine can do for you.

All-Butter Crust

Makes one single-crust (9- or 10-inch) pie; double amounts for a double-crust pie

1 1/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 1/2 teaspoons granulated sugar
1/4 pound (1 stick) cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1/2 cup cold water
2 tablespoons cider vinegar
1/2 cup ice

See the full recipe (and save and print it) here.

Photo by Gentl & Hyers

To win a copy of The Four & Twenty Blackbirds Pie Book, tell us in the comments: What's your go-to pie crust recipe? We'll pick winners at random at the end of the week! (Unfortunately, we can only ship domestically.)

Tags: pie, pie crust, baking, pie week, four & twenty blackbirds, emily elsen, melissa elsen

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Comments (68)


about 1 year ago rhubarb! rhubarb! rhubarb!

Does anyone find this way too moist? Most pie crust recipes use a few tablespoons of ice water until the dough comes together, but this recipe has an almost 1:1 flour to water ratio?


almost 2 years ago Peggy V

I learned to make pie crust from my aunt who lived to be 107! She was the official pie maker for our family. She would 'dance' around to roll it out...it was always very flakey. She used lard "Not too much ice water and cut the dough until it is the size of peas" she would say.


almost 2 years ago Bex Kramer

Tupperware has a pie crust recipe that you shake in a tupperware bowl (from the 70's)


almost 2 years ago SEASPRAY

My go to pie crust recipe is using lard instead of butter, so flaky


almost 2 years ago laci scott

dorie greenspan has been pretty dang good to me!


almost 2 years ago Lisa A. Babbitt

America's Test Kitchen's Foolproof Pie Dough has worked for me. Vodka instead of water is used.


almost 2 years ago sarabclever

I've been using the chez pim recipe. But always all butter (maybe some lard)--no margarine for me.


almost 2 years ago Melissa Estell Poppert

My grandmother's recipe from Mexico which is mainly used for super flaky empanadas.


almost 2 years ago Marygrace

I use Martha Stewarts pate brisee recipe. Always a winner


almost 2 years ago Tenaya

I always use Alice Water's crust from the Art of Simple Food. It's just butter, flour, salt and water, but the addition of cider vinegar sounds like an amazing idea!


almost 2 years ago E Garcia

Dorie Greenspan's Good-For-Almost-Everything pie crust


almost 2 years ago hemlockcreek

the delux butter crust recipe from the joy of cooking - with local butter and local half-white flour


almost 2 years ago garsleat

flour, colder water, dash of salt, cubed chilled butter and by hand feel.


almost 2 years ago Lil Rinaldi

I use both Martha Stewarts pate brisee and a whole wheat recipe from Hungry Tigress. Love them both.


almost 2 years ago Fabiola

My pie recipe comes from the book "The Art and Soul of Baking", Cindy Mushet. Soooo flaky and light. This book is actualy my under the arm book for all base recipes


almost 2 years ago Ashley-Marie

I have to admit I've only made pie a few times, so this cookbook would teach me A LOT. I've always used a basic pie crust recipe actually from Food52 that you blind bake. I've read a bunch of recipes lately that use pate brisee, so I'd be willing to try that since people have said it's not a fussy recipe. Obviously, I'm dying for new inspiration in the pie department! Thanks for sharing Emily & Melissa's pie crust recipe!!



almost 2 years ago Patricia Copeland

The James Beard piecrust that has both AP flour and cake flour in the ingredients is super flaky.


almost 2 years ago Laura Shubert

I use emily nichols grossi of em.i.lis oil based crust. So much like my moms...Primo!


almost 2 years ago Boulder Butter

Bouchon Bakery's pate brisee has never failed me. I am definitely going to try this out though. I have long dreamed of going to this bakery, and sign me up for an all-butter crust any day :)
P.S. the black bottom oatmeal pie! Goodness, I just stared at my screen with a wide open mouth for about 5 minutes.


almost 2 years ago beckster51

Cook's Illustrated vodka pie crust recipe. It is forgiving, and I am a pie crust klutz. I love pie, but I can never seem to improve my pie crust skills, dang it!