Butter and vodka are the secret ingredients to a pie crust that is flaky, tender, and great tasting! With this easy-to-make Butter and Vodka Pie Crust recipe, you will have better-than-bakery pies every time!
I used to think store-bought crust worked just fine for pies. But then I learned how a secret ingredient magically makes the flakiest homemade pie crust that is hands down better than anything you could buy at the grocery store.
Why You Will Love This Pie Crust
- Tender and flaky pie crust - Little pockets of butter are wrapped in flour, creating flaky layers.
- Works for sweet or savory pies - Whether you are making a Thanksgiving Sweet Potato Pie or a savory pot pie or quiche, this is a perfect pie crust that you can rely on to turn out every time.
- No soggy bottom crust - When your pie crust has too much liquid in it the crust can end up soggy. Vodka evaporates faster than water which means you will never have a soggy crust!
- Makes a great topping - It's not just for pies! This crust makes an incredibly flavorful cobbler topping too! Try it with this Peach Pie Cobbler recipe!
Flour - All purpose flour is best for pie crust. When measuring your flour it is important to either weigh it with a scale or measure by spooning the flour lightly into a measuring cup. Never scoop the flour from the bag with your measuring cup or you will end up with too much flour.
Butter - Some pie dough recipes call for vegetable shortening, which they say is important for a flaky crust. But using only butter has a better flavor, so instead of relying on shortening for flakiness, we utilize technique. The steps for this pie dough result in a super flaky, flavorful, all-butter pie crust.
Water - All of your ingredients, including the water, should be cold. For best results, add ice cubes to a cup of water while you prepare the flour and butter, then measure out ¼ cup of ice water right before adding it to the dough.
Vodka - This is the secret ingredient that adds hydration to the dough without activating the formation of the gluten. The result is the most tender pie crust that is never tough.
How to Make Vodka Pie Dough
- Use one-second pulses to mix half of the flour with the salt and sugar in a food processor.
- Add the cold butter then use quick pulses until it is the size of cottage cheese curds. You can use a pastry blender if you do not have a food processor. You can use a pastry blender if you do not have a food processor.
- Scrape the bowl, then add the remaining flour and pulse the food processor again about 5-6 times, until the flour is mixed in. Adding the flour in 2 stages helps reduce the gluten formation and avoid overworking the dough.
4) Transfer the flour mixture to a medium bowl and sprinkle chilled vodka and ice-cold water over the top.
5) Press the liquid into the dough using a rubber spatula.
The dough will be shaggy. Smash the dough, scoop under the dough and fold it over the top, and smash it some more, until it looks like the photo below on the right.
6. Divide the dough into 2 portions and shape each into a 4-inch disk. Wrap them in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 2 hours.
Tips for Rolling the Dough
- Use a rolling pin to roll the dough on a well-floured surface. I like to flour parchment paper, roll it on the paper, and then use that paper to transfer the dough to a 9-inch pie plate.
- Sprinkle the top of the dough disk with flour as well. You can also add a sheet of parchment to the top of your dough, rolling the dough out between the two sheets, to avoid the dough sticking to your roller.
- Roll it ⅛-inch thick. This should be about 12 inches in diameter.
- Transfer the dough to your plate and fold the excess under to create your crust edge.
- Trim off any excess dough then crimp the edges using your favorite style.
- For double crust pies, place the second sheet of dough on top of the filling and bring the bottom layer up over the top, then crimp together. Cut a few slits in the top for steam to escape.
- You can also cut the dough into strips for a lattice crust, like in my Cherry Rhubarb Pie recipe.
How to Par-Bake Your Crust
Blind baking is also called par-baking. It is the process of partially baking a pie crust. I almost always par-bake my single crust pies. I just love the results!
- Prick holes in the bottoms and sides of your pie crust.
- Cut out a parchment paper circle and gently press it on top of the dough.
- Fill the parchment-lined crust with pie weights or dry beans.
- Bake at 425°F for 15 minutes, then remove the pie from the oven and remove the parchment and pie weights. (I pinch the edges of the parchment together to make a little cup, then remove the pie weights to a bowl. Be careful as they will be hot!
- Reduce the oven temperature to 350°F and bake an additional 5 minutes, or until the bottom of the crust looks dry and baked, but not yet browning.
- If you are baking a crust for a no-bake pie, like Chocolate Cream Pie, bake for 10-15 minutes once the pie weights are removed.
- Keep your ingredients cold. This is the most important step in creating the best pie crust! From the moment you mix your flour to the time you put the pie into the oven, you need to have one question: Are my ingredients cold? Some people even put their bowl and flour into the freezer!
- Freeze the dough - Along the lines of keeping your ingredients cold, put your pie crust into the freezer for 10 minutes after you have prepared it in the pie plate. This will help keep the sides from slipping as the butter won't melt until the flour has started to bake. If you don't have room in your freezer then you can place it in the refrigerator for 30 minutes instead.
- Do not overwork the dough. Handle the dough as little as possible. This starts with step 1 where the salt and sugar and mixed with the flour. Use the pulse feature on your food processor rather than mixing at full power, so that you have control over exactly how much is mixed. The more you work the dough the more gluten is formed, which is the number one reason for a pie failure.
- Press the liquids into the dough. At first, you might think the dough is too crumbly. But once you press the liquids in it will start to stick together.
Yes, the disks of pie dough can be frozen for up to 5 months. Thaw in the refrigerator overnight before baking. You can also store fresh pie dough in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
If the butter gets too warm too fast the dough will contract, causing your pie crust to shrink. To reduce this, be sure to freeze or refrigerate your dough before putting it in the oven. Also, pressing the dough firmly against the edge of the pie plate will make a seal that will help reduce shrinking.
If you would like to use shortening in your pie crust then I recommend using ¼ cup of shortening and 12 tablespoons of butter.
I love to make pie dough with a food processor because it is the easiest way to prepare the dough without overworking it. However, you can also use a pastry cutter if you do not have a food processor.
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Butter Vodka Pie CrustRecipe by:
- 2 ½ cups flour (325 grams)
- 1 teaspoon table salt
- 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 1 cup cold unsalted butter, cut into ¼-inch slices (2 sticks, 16 tablespoons)
- ¼ cup ice water
- ¼ cup cold vodka
- Place half of the flour (1 ¼ cups) in a food processor, along with the salt and granulated sugar. Pulse a couple of times to mix.2 ½ cups flour, 1 teaspoon table salt, 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
- Add the cold butter slices and pulse about 15 times, using one-second pulses, until small chunks form. Scrape down the sides, then add the remaining flour. Pulse 5-6 times.1 cup cold unsalted butter, cut into ¼-inch slices
- Transfer the dough to a medium bowl. Drizzle the water and the vodka across the surface of the dough, then use a rubber spatula to fold and press the liquids into butter and flour. The dough will be shaggy. Press the crumbs into the dough. If they stick together then you do not need additional liquid.¼ cup ice water, ¼ cup cold vodka
- Split the dough into two balls and flatten each into a round disk. Wrap each disk individually in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 2 hours.
- Remove the pie crust from the refrigerator set the disk on a well-floured surface. Use a rolling pin to create a circle of dough that is ⅛-inch thick. Use additional flour, if needed, to keep the dough from sticking to your rolling pin.
- Transfer the dough to your pie plate and fold the excess dough under to create a rim around the edge of the pie plate. Crimp using your preferred style. Place in the freezer for 10 minutes before baking.
- Bake at 425°F (220°C) for 15 minutes with pie weights, then reduce the temperature to 350°F (180°C) and remove the pie weight. To blind-bake (par-bake) the crust, continue to bake it for an additional 5 minutes. For a fully baked crust, bake for 15 minutes, or until the bottom of the crust is golden brown.
- It is normal for the dough to have crumbs. Use the plastic wrap to press the crumbs into the dough while forming the disk.
- If you press the crumbs into the dough and they stick then no additional water is needed.
- The dough will continue to hydrate in the refrigerator as the butter is absorbed into the flour.
- Do not skip the step of freezing the pie for 10 minutes. This re-chilling is necessary for the butter to solidify after rolling.
- I use 4 packages of pie weights so that the pie plate is almost completely full. This helps prevent the dough from sliding.
This recipe is adapted from Cook's Illustrated.