The Best Pie Crust You’ll Ever Make-I Promise!

When you mention homemade pie crust, there is usually wailing and gnashing of teeth. Pie crust definitely evokes some negative emotions, even in the most accomplished bakers. I think that my generation has become so conditioned to reach for a frozen (pre-formed) or refrigerated pie crust that most of us wouldn’t even consider making our own. For years, I was a disciple of the refrigerated type….I had attempted to make homemade crusts several times before, and they always seemed to be such a pain. Add enough water-but don’t add too much (it’s a fine line)! Make sure everything’s cold! Use butter! No, use shortening! No, use a combination of both! Use a food processor…no, don’t! Be sure to refrigerate it. Keep it cold and roll it quickly. It’s enough to make your head spin, and usually I had to patch about 5,000 different holes in my pie crust and never tasted as good as what I had built up in my mind. The last recipe I tried before discovering this recipe was by one of my all-time favorite bloggers and remains to this day the only recipe of hers that I haven’t liked. It had SO much shortening in it and tasted rancid. I was about to give up, when I discovered a little show on Hallmark Channel that lead me to this life-changing recipe.

Lucinda Scala-Quinn is the host of Mad Hungry, a great cooking show on Hallmark. She’s also one of Martha’s people, so this isn’t some rinky-dink show, okay? I love her show, and shortly after starting to watch, I decided that I needed to invest in her cookbook, also titled Mad Hungry.  And in that cookbook was this recipe, surely Heaven-sent.  It has changed my life, and I will never weep into my pie crust again.

Start by setting out one stick of butter and half of an 8-ounce block of cream cheese to soften at room temperature.  I use neufchatel, which contains 1/3 less fat than regular.  Once the cream cheese and butter have softened, place them in the bowl of your food processor and add 1/4 cup of heavy cream or half and half.  Turn on the food processor and mix until well blended.  Scrape down the sides of the bowl and add 1 1/2 cups plus two tablespoons of flour (I use white-whole wheat and it works great-and is just as delicious and flaky as all-purpose!) and 1/2 teaspoon of kosher salt.  Turn the food processor back on and spin until it comes together into a ball.  Scrape it out onto a sheet of plastic wrap.  This makes two crusts, so you can divide it now or later-I usually wait until later.  I just wrap it up in the plastic and press it down into a disc.  Refrigerate the crust for at least 30 minutes.  If you refrigerate it for an extended period of time, you will want to take it out of the refrigerator for 15 minutes before rolling.

Cream cheese and butter in the food processor....

Cream cheese and butter blended with cream

A crazy ball can form after you blend in the flour.

It looks really nasty straight out of the processor.

Wrapping it in plastic will tame the wild beast!

When you are ready to roll, unwrap the dough and divide it if you haven’t already.  Sprinkle flour on your rolling surface and on top of the dough.  Roll it a little bit (I use a French rolling pin with tapered ends) then turn the dough an eighth of a turn and roll some more.  Continue doing this, adding a little flour at a time to keep the dough from sticking, until your crust is sufficiently rolled out, then proceed with your recipe as directed.  This dough has never broken on me.  It’s very elastic….and I promise, it is the most delicious crust I have ever tasted!

Dividing the dough-I use my bench scraper.

This dough is so smooth and elastic. I just love it!

By the way, if you only use half the dough, the other half will freeze beautifully! Chicken pot pie recipe to come soon….

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5 thoughts on “The Best Pie Crust You’ll Ever Make-I Promise!

  1. Cream cheese? Threw me for a loop, but I’m going to give it a shot. What if I don’t have a food processor (don’t say buy one, because I won’t)- is there something else I can use? One more question… what the heck is a bench scraper?

    • It’s just a blade I use for cutting dough & scraping my rolling surface. If you don’t have a food processor, try using a wooden spoon. It’s a pretty moist dough as compared to most pie doughs that are super dry & crumbly, so I think it would work. It’s AH-mazing.

      • Okie Dokie. I’m going to try it tomorrow. Great that everything is in the fridge/pantry, which I rarely find when baking. I’ve been thinking about making an apple pie, so I’m going to use this. Will let you know how it goes!

  2. My sister-in-law is absolutely correct – this is THE BEST pie crust ever – and it was SO simple to make. I don’t have a food processor so I did the entire mixing “by hand” – yes, by hand. As long as you have the cream cheese and butter at room temp, it works beautifully. The dough came together quickly into a workable ball and within 7 minutes I had 2+ wonderful pie crusts.

    Ok, so she’s probably right – I will now make my own rather than buying “old faithful” at the store.

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