Why it Works: Tender vs. Flaky
People are in two camps when it comes to pie crust preference: tender or flaky. It is difficult to have one crust with both characteristics. The same thing causes both of these attributes: fat. When you leave the fat (butter or shortening) in large pieces in the dough it will melt in the oven creating many layers, giving a flaky effect. If you cut the fat into the dry ingredients until it is well distributed, it will melt and coat each grain of flour, making for a tender crust. To achieve the tender/flaky crust of people’s dreams, leave big and little pieces of fat in your pie dough.