11 tips for making the perfect A2/A2 all-butter pie crust
November 4, 2022
It’s definitely pie season. And, if you value the most delicious and nutrient-dense foods, you’re likely making (or are interested in making) your own pie crusts at home.
I mean, I don’t think you can buy A2/A2 einkorn or A2/A2 spelt or A2/A2 gluten-free pie crusts in any store. If you want it, you have to make it. And, in my opinion, it’s worth the extra time and effort.
Pie crust can be a little finicky. That’s why I put together an A2/A2 Einkorn All-Butter Pie Crust Recipe for you plus the following 11 tips for success:
1. Butter quality matters A LOT.
Last year around this time, I wrote about why butter is the most important cookie ingredient, with some great tips to make the cookie of your dreams. Just like with cookies, butter is the most important pie crust ingredient, too!
Butter is what gives pie crusts their flavor, its tender texture, those butterfly flaky layers, and that golden color.
Since fat holds most of the flavor, butter from 100% grass fed cows will create the most delectable pie crusts. Compared to conventional butter, grass fed butter will lend a deeper earthy or nutty flavor to your pie.
Then there’s the butterfat, and when it comes to pies, the more butterfat the better. Our butter is more of a European style butter with 82-86% butterfat, which is more than the standard 80% butterfat in conventional American butter. More butterfat means less water, which means better structure in your crust.
And then, of course, there’s digestibility. There definitely needs to be more research on this topic, but from my understanding, A2/A2 dairy is better tolerated and digested by most people.
2. Always use unsalted butter.
Different companies use different amounts of salt in salted butter. So, for absolute control over flavor, it’s best to begin with unsalted butter.
3. Always keep it cold.
Keep the butter in the fridge until the moment you’re ready to make your crust. Use ice water, not room temperature water, to keep the butter cold in the mixing process. You want the chunks of butter to stay together, not melt into the flour. That means it needs to stay cold.
If your kitchen is hot and the butter is warming up, move the whole pie crust operation to the fridge for 30 minutes to harden it back up. Then, continue on.
4. Don’t mix too much. Those visible butter chunks are a good thing!
Butter chunks in your crust keep the bits of flour separate. They melt away in the oven and create the flakiness of the crust.
5. You don’t need a fancy pastry cutter or a food processor. You can use a couple forks instead.
Cross and pull the forks through the butter, flour, and water to mix and create the dough. It’s a little bit of a workout and takes about 5 minutes.
6. Glass pie dishes are best.
Compared to ceramic or metal pie dishes, glass pie dishes more evenly disperse the heat. This helps the crust bake more evenly all around, giving you that perfect golden crust on the sides and bottom.
7. Use pie weights for pre baked crusts.
Pre baking a pie crust is necessary with wet pies like custard pies or fresh fruit pies, because soggy pie crusts are sad.
When you pre bake a pie crust, always use pie weights. This makes sure the shape of the crust remains and you don’t get puffy bubbles coming up from the bottom and sides that shrink when the crust cools. Then, you end up with a misshapen pie.
You can purchase fancy ceramic weights designed specifically for pie making. Or, simply use uncooked beans or rice. Line the unbaked crust with parchment paper and fill to the top with weights before baking.
8. Always use a pie crust shield.
Keep the crust edge covered with a silicone or metal pie crust shield. Or, you can use aluminum foil. The goal here is to prevent the crust edges from over-browning or burning. You want that even golden crust all the way around.
9. You can freeze pie crusts for 3 months.
Once you perfect making homemade pie crust, you can make a lot ahead of time. This definitely reduces stress around the holidays or big celebrations.
Roll your crust and put wax paper on top. Gently fold it into a neat little square or roll it. Put in an airtight bag and then into the freezer.
When you’re ready to make a pie, put the crust in the fridge to defrost a day beforehand.
10. To prevent a crumbly pie crust that tears when you’re rolling it, use enough ice water.
Too little ice water makes an unworkable dough. If you’re already at the rolling stage and you’ve used too little ice water, sadly it’s too late. You’ll need to start from scratch.
11. To prevent a tough or hard pie crust, then there wasn’t enough fat or you overworked the dough.
Make sure to use a high quality butter with a high butterfat content (80%+), and make sure that those big butter chunks are visible; don’t over mix!
You might be wondering - what about flour? Well, yes, flour is definitely important and imparts some flavor and texture. But, to me, as long as it's an "all purpose" flour, the choice is more about the digestibility.
If you are intolerant to gluten, then conventional flour is likely your nemesis. But, that doesn’t mean pie needs to be your nemesis, too.
Many who are gluten intolerant can handle einkorn flour well. Einkorn contains a different type of gluten than conventional wheat. You can learn more about einkorn here. And there are others that do well with spelt flour. If you are truly allergic to gluten, then an all-purpose gluten-free flour is the way to go.