Make Ahead

Never-Fail Pie Crust

April 21, 2010
2 Ratings
  • Makes 4 crusts, minimum
Author Notes

This general recipe has been in my family for at least four generations, but I'm not sure where it originally comes from. I have stumbled upon it somewhere else, which leads me to believe that it isn't entirely a family recipe, but that's as it is. It isn't fussy, doesn't need any extra special care, and you can roll it out as many times as necessary or just press it in to the pie pan in chunks (seriously, you can, even if I don't like to). As for variations, I've tried butter as the fat in a one-to-one substitution for the shortening, and it certainly works, though I liked working with it best when the butter was frozen and I grated it in. I also know that my great-grandmother used lard as the fat, but I've not tried this yet. As for flour substitutions, I've done up to a third whole wheat, and it comes out nicely. I also tried pastry flour one time when I had just run out of AP. That turned out quite wet, even though I practically nixed the water, since I could see how it was tending. I threw some whole wheat in to sop up some of the fluids, and it survived (and was still quite tasty), but I would suggest not using pastry flour as the main flour. Also, my favorite way to get it from counter to pan is to roll it out on wax paper, flip it over onto where it needs to go and peel off the paper. One more note, if you want to halve the recipe, use a whole egg still, halve the vinegar, and use a bit less than half of the water (I like 3 Tablespoons). —jamminjelly

What You'll Need
  • 4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 2 cups shortening
  • 1 egg, medium or large
  • 1 tablespoon vinegar, any type
  • 1/2 cup cold water
  1. Mix flour, salt and sugar in mixing bowl
  2. Cut in shortening until the dough is crumbly; largest bits should be no more than pea-size
  3. In a separate bowl, beat egg with vinegar and water
  4. Add the wet ingredients to the dry dough, and mix until it just comes together
  5. Divide the dough into four (at either this point, or after you've rolled the dough out, you can wrap and freeze it)
  6. Roll the dough out on a lightly floured surface and use in whatever pie recipe you want (savory, sweet, or otherwise)

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • trulacfry
  • monkeymom
  • Bonnie

3 Reviews

Bonnie January 8, 2022
This is an amazing recipe. Best pastry recipe I have ever used. It goes together beautifully and rolls out like a charm. The finished product is super flaky and tasty!
trulacfry November 18, 2020
This was so simple to make that I couldn’t believe how great it tasted. I learned that to “cut the shortening” just simply means taking two butter knives and literally cutting the shorting up into the flour until it is all very small lumps. I didn’t think it would taste so great, being that is calls for shortening rather than butter, but it tastes amazing and it so light and flaky.
monkeymom April 22, 2010
Looks beautiful and sounds so versatile. Thanks for the tips!