So many homemade pie crust recipes flaunt how easy and fool-proof they are all while making the whole thing in a food processor. But can you make pie crust without a food processor? 100% yes, you can! In fact, it is actually my preferred method and I never take out my food processor to make pie dough ever.
I do not like store-bought pie crust. Objectively, I don’t think they taste good. They never have the flakiness I so desire and they also tend to have a bland and lacklustre flavour.
I find that making homemade pie crust is so easy it negates any reason to use a premade one (this sentiment of mine does not extend to something like premade phyllo dough, however, which I use readily in my pastizzi recipe).
My all-butter pie crust recipe without a food processor comes together in mere minutes (there is resting time, however) and it is as close to fool-proof as you can get.
So long as you are careful not to overmix and ensure your ingredients are cold enough, you’ll never want to go back to store-bought pie dough again!
How to Make Pie Crust Without a Food Processor
Not only does this recipe require absolutely no special equipment or ingredients, but it’s also a pie crust without shortening.
Shortening offers no flavour to a pie crust and, therefore, I think it’s much better to simply make it with all butter. Because it’s such a prominent flavour in the pastry, I recommend using a high-quality European-style butter in this recipe.
The most important thing to keep in mind before starting out is to ensure that your ingredients are very cold.
The reason for this is to ensure that the butter doesn’t get too warm and squelch out. You want everything to remain cold right up until baking to make sure that you get that coveted flaky texture of your pie crust.
This means measuring out and cutting up your butter into cubes a pop it in the fridge while you’re prepping the flour. And when I call for ice water in the recipe, make sure that you use a fair amount of ice to ensure your water is very very cold. This will set you up for success.
So the first step of this pie crust recipe without a food processor is to whisk together your flour, sugar and salt.
I don’t call for a lot of sugar in this recipe, so the pie crust does not come out tasting sweet. It is mainly in there to promote browning – therefore, this recipe is fine (with the small amount of sugar) to use in both sweet and savoury applications.
Add your cold butter cubes to the flour and gently toss them so that they are all coated in flour.
I highly recommend using only your fingertips for this stage because they are cooler than the palms of your hands. I have particularly “hot hands” and I never have issues making pie dough using just my fingers.
Once the butter is coated in flour, use your fingertips to begin squashing the butter into small flat pieces.
You want to ensure that your butter pieces are a bit smaller than what you started with and are completely flat.
For a nice, flaky crust, aim for pieces about the size of walnut halves with the smallest pieces being the size of peas. You don’t want butter pieces much smaller or larger than these indicators.
Now, pour in a bit of ice-cold water. Again, using your fingertips, gently incorporate the water into the butter and flour, being careful not to handle the dough too much. The best way to describe how to do this is akin to running your hands through your hair.
You want the dough to hold together easily when squeezed, but it will still look pretty dry. If there are some noticeable sandy, shaggy or very dry spots, add a bit more water (about a tablespoon at a time) until you get to the desired stage.
Turn the dough out onto a clean work surface and gently pat it into a disc shape. Wrap it tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate the dough for at least one hour – this will allow the flour to hydrate fully.
If you’re looking to make a double-crusted pie (like an apple pie crust without a food processor), then double the recipe and split the dough into two pieces at the refrigeration stage. Then, when it’s time, roll each crust out separately and use it according to your recipe’s specifications.
If par or blind baking, preheat your oven to 190°C (375°F). Roll out your crust and add it to the pie dish – chuck it in the freezer for about ten minutes to firm up before trimming and crimping it. Then, remove it from the freezer, trim the excess and crimp the edges and dock the bottom and sides of the crust with a fork.
Return the pie crust to the freezer for another ten minutes before removing, lining with parchment paper and filling with pie weights. Move to the oven and bake for about 15 minutes. If you’re par-baking the crust, then all you need to do is cool the crust completely before using.
If you’re blind baking the crust (like you should if you’re making my quiche recipe), then remove the pie weights from the crust and brush it all over with a beaten egg. Bake for another 15-20 minutes until it is flaky and golden brown. Remove from the oven and use as needed!
- 150g (1 1/4 cup) all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon white sugar
- Pinch salt
- 100g (4oz or 1/2 cup) unsalted butter, fridge cold and cut into 1-centimetre cubes
- 60ml (1/4 cup) ice water
- 1 beaten egg (if blind baking)
- In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar and salt.
- Add the butter and, using your fingertips, toss to coat in the flour.
- Using your fingertips, smash the butter into the flour until the butter resembles the size of walnut halves (some butter pieces may be smaller, but ensure none are large than this).
- Pour the ice water over the butter and flour mixture, Run your fingers through the pie dough until the water is incorporated into the flour, mixing very minimally. The dough should easily hold together when smashed with your hands, but it will still look fairly dry and crumbly. If it is shaggy and too dry, add more water 15ml (1 tablespoon) at a time until you reach the desired stage.
- Turn the dough out onto a clean work surface and pat into a disc. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least one hour before rolling and using as desired.
To Par or Blind Bake
- Preheat oven to 190°C (375°F). Roll out the dough and transfer it to a pie tin. Transfer it to the freezer for about 10 minutes.
- Remove the pie crust from the freezer. Trim off the excess dough and crimp the edges. Using a fork, poke a number of holes around the bottom and sides of your pie crust. Return the crust to the freezer for an additional 5-10 minutes.
- Remove the crust from the freezer. Line the crust with baking paper and fill with the pie weights of your choice - I like to use dried beans or rice. Transfer to the oven and cook for 15-20 minutes, until the crust is lightly golden and flaky.
- If par-baking, remove and cool completely.
- If blind baking, take the crust from the oven. Remove the pie weights and, using a pastry brush, brush the entire crust with the beaten egg. Return to the oven and bake until deeply golden brown and flaky, another 15-20 minutes.
If you want to make a double-crust pie, simply double all quantities in this recipe. In step 5, divide the dough into two equal pieces and cover and refrigerate separately.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 8 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 160Total Fat: 10gSaturated Fat: 6gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 3gCholesterol: 27mgSodium: 98mgCarbohydrates: 15gFiber: 1gSugar: 1gProtein: 2g
Nutritional information is automatically generated and provided as guidance only. Accuracy is not guaranteed.
Making pie crust without a food processor is easy and, arguably, the most preferable way to ensure you have a delicious, tender and flaky pie crust with minimal effort.
Are you wanting to make homemade pie dough? Have any questions about this recipe? Let me know in the comments!