Homemade pie crust just makes a pie from scratch that much more tasty. There’s nothing more satisfying than making a pie from scratch.
Pie crust is buttery, flaky, tender and is delicious with any type of pie. We’ve worked for several years perfecting this pie crust recipe with lard.
Our homemade pie crust recipe uses simple to find ingredients and is made by hand. This achieves perfect pie crust consistently.
One of my fondest memories is of my mom making Homemade Apple Pie each fall. Each fall, we would visit our local apple orchard to pick out a bushel of tart apples. That always made the best pie.
Grandma used to make her pie crust with lard. That’s because it was readily available and lard makes an incredible flaky and tasty crust. In combination with regular butter, it truly makes the tastiest pie crusts and biscuits.
Why this recipe works
- Made with simple ingredients, readily available in your local grocery store.
- Make ahead of time! You can make homemade pie crust ahead of time. Refrigerate it for a few days or freeze for a month or two.
- Freezer friendly! Prep your pie shells ahead of time and freeze for later. This will help you keep prep work of making a pie from scratch smooth.
What you’ll need
- All purpose flour – Use a good brand of all-purpose flour for the best pie crust from scratch. They have a higher protein level and make baked goods better.
- Lard – Easily located in many old-fashioned mom and pop type of grocery stores in the baking aisle (near the vegetable shortening) or you can order it online. Sometime you can locate it at a butcher shop.
- Butter – Adds a nice touch of flavor to this recipe and nothing beats the flavor of fresh butter.
- Salt – Brings out the flavor of baked goods.
- Cold water – Fill a glass measuring cup with ice cubes and add water. It’s essential to keep all of the ingredients cold so we don’t make too much gluten.
While many struggle making pie crust from scratch, I’ll walk you through steps how to make pie dough by hand. Because there’s nothing better than homemade pie crust!
Use cold fat in pie crust
Keeping the lard and butter cold keeps the fat from melting and is essential for creating a flaky pie crust.
There is no doubt that pie crust can either make or break a pie.
How to make Pie Crust
Homemade pie crust is simple to make. It’s important not to overwork the ingredients and keep the pie dough cold. I recommend NOT using a food processor when making pie crust.
Step 1: ln a large mixing bowl combine flour and salt with a large spoon.
Step 2: Use a simple pastry cutter or two forks, cut in the lard and cold butter by hand. Work the lard and butter into the flour until you have pea-sized pieces.
The less you work the dough, the more likely you are to end up with a blue-ribbon winning pie crust.
Step 3: Place ice cubes into a large glass measuring cup and fill with cold water. Slowly add ice water to the flour mixture and stir with a large spoon or rubber spatula. Stop adding water when you can gently squeeze the mixture together with your hands.
Step 4: As the pie dough comes together, place it in a large zip-style bag. Refrigerate the prepared pie dough for a minimum of two hours and up to 24 hours.
I worked on my pie crust recipe for a few years just to get it right. It’s about the correct ratio of flour to fat. This pie crust recipe has the perfect buttery taste with the addition of lard.
Lard, rendered from pig fat, has a higher melting point than butter or shortening; thus yielding an extra-flaky crust. Combining butter and lard will help achieve the perfect old-fashioned style pie crust from grandma’s kitchen.
How to make a lattice pie crust
Step 1: Roll out a piece of pie dough. Then cut into strips either using a small pizza cutter or pastry cutter. Here I used a simple cutter.
Step 2: Starting in the center of the pie, lay strips of pie dough going the same direction over the entire pie.
Step 3: Then fold back every other piece of dough and weave in another strip of pie dough going the opposite direction. Continue this process until you have completed the entire pie.
Step 4: Fold under the edges and crimp. Then brush with egg wash.
Place the unbaked pie on a half sheet pan lined with parchment paper. This will help catch any juices that overflow from the pie, keeping the mess easy to clean up.
Pie Crust Tips
If your pie crust is getting too warm, plop the entire pie in the fridge or into the freezer for a bit to get it really cold again before baking.
All-purpose or pastry flour are the best for making pie crust. Choosing a lower-gluten flour is the first trick for getting your pie crust right. Bread flour has a high gluten content, while cake flour has the lowest content.
My mom always covered the pie part way through the baking process with a piece of aluminum foil with a little slit cut out of the center in order to vent the steam. So, I do the same with all of my pies. This helps the pie continue to bake without burning the crust. We were raised to use what we had, no fancy gadgets needed.
While you can freeze pie crust, I like to make pie crust fresh each time I need it. You can make an entire pie, wrap with loosely with plastic wrap and freeze it.
Lard is an excellent fat for pie crust and makes a super flaky crust. Rendered lard has a very neutral flavor and is a great non-hydrogenated alternative to shortening. Butter adds a wonderful flavor to the crust.
I make hundreds of Apple Hand Pies and Blackberry Hand Pies ahead of time, layer them on half sheet pans lined with parchment paper, cover with plastic wrap and freeze. They will last in the freezer for months!
More Pie Recipes
- Apple Hand Pies
- Cherry Hand Pies
- Blackberry Pie
- Blackberry Cobbler
- Blueberry Hand Pies
- Peach Cobbler
- Peach Hand Pies
- Peach Pie
- Blueberry Slab Pie
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Homemade Pie Crust
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- ⅔ cup lard
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, cold cut up
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ¼-1/2 cup ice water (adjust as needed)
Pie Crust Recipe
- In a large bowl, combine the flour and salt.
- Cut in the lard and butter pieces using a pastry cutter, until you have small pea size pieces.
- Place ice cubes into a large glass measuring cup and then add cold water.
- Incorporate a little water at a time, until your pie crust comes together. Do not overwork the dough or the pie crust will be tough.
- Place the pie crust into a large zip-style bag and refrigerate for several hours or overnight.
To Assemble the PIE
- On a lightly floured surface, roll out the bottom pie crust about 12-inches in diameter and place into the bottom of a pie plate.
- Trim the edges of the pie crust around the rim of the pie plate using kitchen shears to about ½-inch.
- Add your pie filling.
- Roll out the top crust to about 10-12-inches in diameter and gently place on top of the pie filling.
- Slice air a few vents in the top of the crust.
- To weave a lattice crust; roll out a round of pie dough and slice long pieces with a small pastry cutter or pizza cutter. Place pieces one way, then weave crust pieces the opposite direction. Continue until the pie is covered with pie crust.
- Brush with egg wash and sprinkle with granulated sugar.
- Place the pie on a half sheet pan lined with parchment paper. This will help contain the mess.
- Bake in a preheated 400 degree F oven for about 1 hour. Once it is browned nicely, cover with a piece of aluminum foil with an air vent cut out of the top. This will keep the pie from becoming too brown while continuing to cook and still let air vent. Bake until the pie filling is bubbling. About 1 hour 10 minutes total.
- Remove the pie from the oven. Let cool completely before slicing.
I use a glass measuring cup filled with ice and add water. Add a little at a time until the pie crust comes together. Adjust this amount as needed.
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