Classic Flaky Pie Crust

Makes 1, 9-inch pie.


2 1/2 cups flour
1 cup butter (2 sticks), cut into 1/2″ cubes and well chilled
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup very cold water
1/4 teaspoon lemon juice

  1. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, combine the flour, butter and salt on low speed until the butter is the size of lima beans (or very large peas).
  2. Quickly add the water and lemon juice in a steady stream and continue mixing for 30 seconds. The dough will not be formed into a smooth mass and will look like a shaggy mess.
  3. Turn the dough out onto a work surface, divide it in half and form it into two disks. Wrap each one in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for at least two hours or up to two days. Freeze for longer storage.

Tips for a Tender Flaky Pie Crust

  1. Keep the butter cold and intact. The little pieces of butter in the dough  melt when baked, leaving little holes in the crust. This is what creates flakes.
  2. A tiny bit of acid keeps the dough tender and pliable. My grandmother used vinegar. I prefer lemon juice—either one works.
  3. Always roll from the center of the dough out in one direction. Pushing and pulling the rolling pin forward and backward works the dough and makes it tough.  Rolling the dough from one end to the other also works the dough more than necessary. Start in the center and roll out. Rotate the dough and continue rolling from the center to the outside edge until you have the desired shape and thickness.
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