Recipes // Desserts // Extra-Flaky Piecrust

Extra-Flaky Piecrust


Cheryl and Griffith Day

Makes two 9-inch piecrusts or 1 double crust


  • 2 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder, preferably aluminum-free
  • 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1/2 cup ice water
  • 1 tablespoon cider vinegar
  • 1/2 pound (2 sticks) cold unsalted butter, cut into 1-inch cubes


  1. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.
  2. In a measuring cup or a small bowl, combine the water and cider vinegar. Set aside.
  3. Toss the butter in the flour mixture to gently coat it.
  4. Then use a pastry blender to cut the butter into the flour.
  5. You should have various-sized pieces of butter, ranging from sandy patches to pea-sized chunks, with some larger bits as well.
  6. Drizzle in about half of the ice water mixture and stir lightly with a fork until the flour is evenly moistened and the doughstarts to come together.
  7. If the dough seems dry, add a little more ice water, 1 to 2 tablespoons at a time.
  8. The dough will still look a bit shaggy at this point.
  9. If you grab a small piece of dough and press it slightly with your hand, it should mostly hold together.

My grandmother taught me how to make pie dough. Her secret ingredient (aside from her loving touch) was a splash of cider vinegar. The vinegar helps relax the dough, which makes it easy to roll it out and fit it into the pan. This all-butter crust still amazes me every single time I make it. The various-sized chunks of butter melt as the dough bakes, leaving little voids that create layers and layers of flaky crust.

Making a piecrust from scratch takes a bit of courage, but once you’ve done it, you will never want to turn back. When making piecrust, practice makes perfect. As soon as you feel more comfortable, you will start making and freezing piecrusts, so that you can pull one out of your very own freezer (instead of the freezer at the grocery store!) when you’re inspired to bake; see the Tip.




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