How to make a classic sweet pie dough perfect for sweet pies and desserts.
Although I have definitely been known to buy store bought dough for recipes like pie bites, I do love to make my crusts from scratch. They taste so much better and are far less delicate to work with than the store bough variety.
Last weekend, I made Pumpkin Pie Pops with a homemade sweet pie crust also known as a Pâte Sucrée. This sweet dough is very similar to your basic pie dough but with the addition of egg, sugar, and sometimes vanilla extract.
The recipe was so delicious that I though it only fitting that it should have a post all it's own. This crust is perfect for making fruit pies or any sweet tart that needs a sturdy crust.
So let's break down this recipe into it's basic steps and tips starting with ingredients. To be quite honest I am not too much of an ingredient snob. I buy what's on sale for the most part, I always use real vanilla extract, and my butter varies.
However, recently I was sent a couple of sticks of Président Butter, this beautiful French butter, and it's changed my baking life. If ever there was a butter sent from the Gods, I would have to say this is it.
It's totally delicious, rich and creamy, and adds such a decadent flavor to baked goods. (On another note, I made Rice Krispie's treats with Président Salted Butter and it blew my mind.) So, that's the first tip: use a flavorful, high quality butter!
How to Make Pie Pie Dough
Next, let's talk about crusts made in the food processor versus by hand. When I first learned how to make a pie crust I remember reading that cutting the butter in by hand was the only way to achieve a tender crust. Here's the truth: tender pie crust can be made the easy way, in a food processor, as long as you don't over mix it! So don't over mix it, ok?
Step 1: Combine all dry ingredients together in a food processor and pulse once or twice just to quickly combine.
Step 2: Cut butter into small cubes and refrigerate until firm and well chilled. Add the cold butter to your flour mixture.
Important tip: Anytime you make pie crust, sweet or savory, make sure your butter is ice cold! I usually dice my cold butter then pop it back into the refrigerator to firm up completely before adding it to the flour. Cold butter will create small pockets of fat in the dough that gradually melt as the crust bakes making it extra flaky and tender...um, yes please.
These next steps are where it's important not to over mix your pie dough! The less you mix, the more tender and flaky your crust will be, and who doesn't want that?
Step 3: Mix butter and flour on high for 10 seconds or until the mix resembles cornmeal, small and crumbly.
Step 4: In a bowl combine egg yolk, ¼ cup ice-cold water and vanilla extract. Mix to combine. Add the egg mixture to the butter and flour and pulse 20-30 seconds until the mixture starts to come together.
Note: Ice-cold water reinforces the whole cold dough=tender flaky dough theory.
Step 4 continued: It should stick together easily when gathered into a ball. Note: you can see here that I still have wet crumbs of dough in my bowl. If the crumbs can easily be gathered up and stick together, then your dough is ready!
Step 5: Wrap in cling wrap or a plastic bag and chill in the fridge at least 30 minutes, overnight or until you are ready to use.
Et voilà, easy as pie...crust that is!
- 2 ½ cups all-purpose flour
- 3 Tbsp sugar
- ½ tsp salt
- 2 sticks butter, chilled and diced
- 1 large egg yolk, beaten
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 egg, beaten mixed with 2 Tbsp milk for egg wash
- Combine flour, sugar and salt in a food processor and pulse
to combine. Add the butter and mix on high for 10 seconds or until the mix resembles cornmeal.
- Put the egg yolk in a bowl and pour in ¼ cup ice-cold water. Add the vanilla extract and mix to combine. Add the egg mixture to the butter and flour and pulse 20-30 seconds until the mixture starts to come together.
- It should stick together easily when gathered into a ball.
- Wrap in cling wrap or a plastic bag and chill in the fridge
30 minutes or overnight.
Makes enough for 2 8" pie crusts