How to Make Two-Crust Pie
Learning how to make two-crust pie pastry from scratch isn’t hard. Betty’s Two-Crust Pie Pastry requires 20 minutes of prep and 1 hour and 5 minutes total to make. This recipe serves 8.
What You’ll Need
- 2 cups, plus 2 tablespoons Gold Medal™ all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2/3 cup cold shortening or if you prefer, substitute cold butter, cut into ½-inch pieces, for half of the shortening.
- 6 to 8 tablespoons ice-cold water
- Pastry blender or fork
- Plastic wrap
- Rolling pin
- Knife or kitchen shears
- 9-inch glass pie plate
1. Make Pastry: Mix flour and salt in medium bowl. Cut in shortening, using pastry blender or fork, until mixture forms coarse crumbs the size of small peas. Sprinkle with the water, 1 tablespoon at a time, tossing with fork until all flour is moistened and pastry almost leaves side of bowl (1 to 2 teaspoons more water can be added, if necessary).
2. Chill Pastry: Gather pastry into ball. Divide in half; shape into 2 flattened rounds on lightly floured surface. Wrap rounds in plastic wrap and refrigerate 45 minutes or until dough is firm and cold, yet pliable. This allows the shortening to become slightly firm, which helps make the baked pastry flaky. If refrigerated longer, let pastry soften slightly at room temperature before rolling.
3. Roll Out Bottom Crust: Using floured rolling pin, roll one pastry round on lightly floured surface into a round 2 inches larger than upside-down 9-inch glass pie plate.
4. Transfer Pastry to Pie Plate: Fold pastry into fourths and place in pie plate or roll pastry loosely around rolling pin and transfer to pie plate or tart pan. Unfold or unroll pastry and ease into plate or pan, pressing firmly against bottom and side and being careful not to stretch pastry, which will cause it to shrink when baked.
5. Fill Crust: Spoon desired filling into bottom crust. Trim overhanging edge of bottom crust 1/2 inch from rim of plate.
6. Roll Out Top Crust: Roll other round out. Fold into fourths and place over filling; or roll loosely around rolling pin and place over filling. Unfold or unroll pastry over filling. Cut slits in pastry so steam can escape.
7. Flute Edge: Trim overhanging edge of top pastry 1 inch from rim of plate. Fold edge of top crust under bottom crust, pressing on rim to seal; flute edges. Bake as directed in desired pie recipe.
Alternative Method: Making Pie Pastry in a Food Processor
- Measure 2 tablespoons ice-cold water for One-Crust Pie or 4 tablespoons ice-cold water for Two-Crust Pie into liquid measuring cup; set aside.
- Place flour, salt and shortening in food processor. Cover and process, using quick on-and-off motions, until particles are the size of small peas.
- With food processor running, pour water all at once through feed tube just until dough leaves sides of bowl (dough should not form a ball).
How to Make Pie Top Crust
Now for the fun part — learning how to make a beautiful top crust for your pie. Traditionally, many fruit pies, like apple and cherry, are covered by lattice crusts or whole crusts. But don’t feel hemmed in by tradition, there are even more ways to beautify your pie.
A lattice top crust adds a nice touch to a two-crust pie, letting the filling peak through. For an easy “wow,” try one of these methods for the top pastry of your pie. Using a pastry wheel adds a decorative touch to a lattice crust.
Easy Lattice Top
Make pastry for Two-Crust Pie, except trim overhanging edge of bottom crust 1 inch from rim of plate. Place filling in crust. After rolling pastry for top crust, cut into 1/2-inch-wide strips. Place half of the strips about 1/2-inch apart crosswise over first strips. Trim strips evenly with edge of overhanging crust. Fold edge up, forming high, stand-up ridge; flute edge as desired.
Classic Lattice Top
Make pastry for Two-Crust Pie, except trim overhanging edge of bottom crust 1 inch from rim of plate. Place filling in crust. After rolling pastry for top crust, cut into 1/2-inch wide strips. Place half of the strips about ½ inch apart on filling. Weave remaining strips over and under first strips. Trim strips evenly with edge of overhanging crust. Fold edge up, forming high, stand-up ridge; flute edges as desired.
For a classic pie, covered with a lightly browned crust, follow the Two-Crust Pie recipe. This is the style of pie crust used for most traditional fruit pies. The directions for this recipe explain exactly how to roll out both top and bottom crust. The keys to this type of crust include sealing the pastry so juices cannot escape and cutting slits in the top to let steam escape.
Decorative Cut-Out Top
For an extra-pretty pie, make decorative cut-outs on the top of a two-crust pie. Use a small cookie cutter, and cut shapes from the top crust before placing it on the filling. Place cut-outs on top of the pie crust, attaching with a little cold water. Sprinkle with coarse sugar.
For an extra decadent pie, nothing tops a crumble. A simple mixture of flour, butter, sugar and spices adds untold flavor and takes some of the work out of a scratch-made pie, since only a bottom crust is needed. We recommend giving this topping a try with our recipe for Dutch Apple Pie.
More Tips for Showstopping Top Crusts
Adding a gourmet touch is simple when you use one of the methods below. Note, pie crusts may brown more quickly with these methods. If this happens, put a sheet of foil loosely on top of the pie to slow the browning.
- Shiny crust: Brush crust with milk.
- Sugary crust: Brush crust lightly with water or milk; sprinkle with granulated sugar or white coarse sugar crystals.
- Glazed crust: Brush crust lightly with beaten egg or egg yolk mixed with a teaspoon of water.
You can also add a glaze to your pie after it has baked.
- Glaze for baked pie crust: In a small bowl, stir together 1/2 cup powdered sugar, 2 to 3 teaspoons milk, orange juice or lemon juice and if desired, 2 teaspoons grated orange peel or lemon peel. Brush or drizzle over warm baked pie crust, but do not let glaze run over the edge of the pie.
Decorative Fluted Edges
Fluting the edge of a crust not only adds a decorative touch but also helps keep the filling from bubbling over. Start by forming a stand-up rim of pastry of even thickness on the edge of the pie plate; press edges together. This seals the pastry and makes fluting easier.
Here are some ideas to get you started.
- Scalloped Edge: Place thumb and index finger about 1 inch apart on outside of raised edge. With other index finger, push pastry toward outside to form scalloped edge.
- Rope or Pinched Edge: Place side of thumb on pastry rim at an angle. Pinch pastry by pressing knuckle of index finger down into pastry toward thumb.
- Forked or Herringbone Edge: Dip fork tines in flour, then press fork diagonally on to edge without pressing through pastry. Rotate tines 90 degrees and press next to first set of marks. Continue around edge of pastry rotating tines back and forth.
- Braided Edge: Cut rolled-out pie crust into 1/4-inch wide strips. Braid 2 or 3 strips together. Lay braided strips, you’ll need about 3, on moistened pie edge; press lightly to adhere.
- Galette: Fold crust edge up and pleat. The crust will not cover the filling in the center. Brush egg white over edge of crust with pastry brush and sprinkle with turbinado sugar.
Types of Pie Crust
Pie crust can be made with a variety of fats, from our favorite, shortening, to the classic lard. Butter and shortening are also a great combination, and we love using vegetable oil for an extra easy, vegan crust.
Here is your introduction to different types of pie crust, plus a few recipes to get you started.
Pie Crust with Shortening
Betty’s One-Crust and Two-Crust Pie recipes use shortening. Shortening makes for a tender, flaky crust and is often preferred for this reason. It is also easy to work with, because it doesn’t melt as quickly as some other fats. Do keep in mind that Betty’s One-Crust and Two-Crust Pie recipes can also be made with a combination of butter and shortening. If you’ve never made a shortening crust, we recommend getting started with five-star French Silk pie.
Pie Crust with Butter
If you like the taste of a butter crust, substitute cold butter cut into 1/2-inch pieces, for half of the shortening called for in Betty’s One-Crust or Two-Crust Pie recipes. The milkfats in butter will also help the crust brown nicely.
Pie Crust with Lard
Throughout American history, lard has been used to make pie crust pastry. Lard was easy to come by when more Americans lived on farms and using leftover pork product was an economical way to make pies before butter and shortening were as readily available as they are today. Throughout the 20th century, our eating habits changed drastically, and lard fell out of fashion, especially as alternatives, like shortening were introduced around mid-century. Recently, however, lard has seen a resurgence. If you have lard on hand, try swapping it in for the shortening called for in Betty’s recipe for One-Crust and Two-Crust Pie. As both lard and shortening are solid fats, the pastry should turn out fine. However as with any substitution, you may notice a slight change in the texture and flavor of your pie crust.
Pie Crust with Oil (Vegan Pie Crust)
If you wish to make a vegan pie or are just in a hurry, a crust made with vegetable oil is perfect. No rolling is needed for this crust and because of its texture, it should be used for pies that have a bottom crust only. Try this method for yourself with Betty’s recipe for Pumpkin Pie. Looking for a totally vegan pie? This delicious new Banana-Coconut Cream Slab Pie should do the trick!