Flaky Pie Dough

black pie plate, polka dotted napkin, fork, bouquet of flowers with ribbon setting on wooden grape tray.

Who doesn’t like Flaky Pie Dough?

Have you ever tasted a deliciously prepared pie with golden flaky pie dough?  I sure have. When I do, I instantly feel flaky pie dough envy! Yep, serious envy.   Admitting this required action, which put me on a search for a new pie dough recipe.  

Out With The Old

For years, I’ve made my pies with a recipe handed down to me from my lovely Zia (Aunt).  I used her recipe over and over again. My pies were delicious and enjoyed by my family and friends.  The results were satisfying, tasty and I was pleased with the flaky pie dough it created. Until now.  

Handwritten recipe on memo paper.

Let the Search Begin for Flaky Pie Dough

I began searching through my own collection of favorite cookbooks; my tried and true Betty Crocker’s Cookbook, The Complete Italy, “The Beautiful Cookbook”, and The Joy of Cooking.  I didn’t know what recipe I was searching for, but knew there had to be an ingredient better than shortening, lard, vegetable oil and ….. 

Three cookbooks setting on a counter.

Internet vs. Pinterest

From there I reviewed recipes found through internet searches.  I quickly rejected many recipes, much to my frustration. Moving on to the Food Network and finally Pinterest.  Google is an amazing search engine as is Pinterest. Yet, time after time, my research results are better with Pinterest.  How about you?  

Finding the Recipe

Pinterest can be delightfully distracting.  My home page is filled with pins customized to my unique interests and hobbies.  After a quick look at these new pins I moved on to my search for a flaky pie dough.  

The screen soon filled with recipe after recipe.  I narrowed my search down looking for those with 4 to 5 star ratings.  Ultimately deciding on Seriously Eats recipe entitled, “ Pie Dough the Old-Fashioned Way Recipe” by Stella Parks.

When the link opened, I immediately noticed there were 300+ comments on this recipe.  She writes about the recipe, tells why it works, includes a 5 minute video tutorial and shares the recipe.  

Making the Flaky Pie Dough

The ingredients include; flour, sugar, kosher salt, cold water and butte … yep, not shortening or oil.  Following Stella’s instructions, I combined the dry ingredients whisking them thoroughly. My butter was set out earlier to soften.  I cut the butter into ½ inch by ½ inch cubes and coated them with the flour/dry ingredient mixture.  

 

ingredients for flaky pie dough. Flour, Kosher salt, butter, water, sugar

Squish

Once the butter was coated with the dry mixture, I began squishing each cube between my fingers.  Enjoying it and finding it oddly therapeutic, oh lol. Working my way through tossing the squished cubes in the dry mix as I worked.  I was surprised there was no cutting the butter into the flour.

two mixing bowls with flour and butter cubes inside

Adding the Water

Adding the water was next.  I poured it slowly and in a circular pattern around the mixture in my bowl.  Using a spoon, I combined the wet and dry ingredients together and then began kneading the dough using the side of the bowl to help it combine.  When the mix formed a loose ball, I removed it to my work station.

Mixing bowl with kneaded pie dough ball

Rolling and Preparing the Dough

I generously floured my work surface and gently kneaded my dough.  Next was creating layers by rolling, folding and booking the dough.  I’d never done this before. Yet, it makes perfect sense. How else would one achieve flaky layers?  

Rolling the dough into a rough rectangle, I then folded the length into thirds and then in half.  Because I planned to make an apple pie and a few tarts sized pies, I cut the layered dough in half as I prepared to roll out the bottom crust.  

Rolled out pie dough

Amazing!

Working with this recipe I found the dough to be soft, pliable, no tearing or sticking.  It was amazingly easy to work with. Like nothing I had ever tried before. I was thrilled!  Keeping in mind Stella’s suggestion to maintain the dough’s temperature. To warm and the dough would become sticky.  Also, I kept my work surface generously floured.  

After rolling the bottom flaky pie dough, I moved it over and onto my pie plate.  As promised, it was an easy process. I will admit I’d had my doubts. With other recipes I would often tear my dough and need to piece it back together.  Not with this recipe!  

work station with pie plate with bottom pie crust and kitchen scissors

Apple Filling

I decided to go the semi homemade route and used several cans of apple pie filling.  Now, I know what you’re thinking…why, oh why? Why would I go to all this trouble finding and making this delicious flaky pie dough recipe, only to use spiced up apple pie filling?  Convenience.  

pie with apple filling, no top crust.

Top Crust

This recipe for flaky pie dough was easy to work with and I decided to create a lattice top pattern.  I cut thick strips of dough using a pizza cutter and laid the first layer onto my pie.   

In the past, adding the next layer had always been tricky, resulting in cracks and torn stripes.

Not this time!  I had no trouble at all!  The pattern went together quickly and easily.  Although, I should have spent more time with the layout and worked on an even pattern.  My poor crooked lattice wouldn’t win any prizes, lol. I moved the pie into the refrigerator to chill and relax, before baking.

Pie with lattice top

Freshly Baked

The baking process was uneventful, the pies were flaky and had a lovely golden tone.  I was excited to photograph them and couldn’t wait to have a taste. Before I could photograph or taste them they needed time to cool.  

Three pies resting on a white quilt setting on a table

Recipe

I highly recommend this recipe.  Stella Parks recipe is perfect in every way and has become my go to flaky pie dough.  As I write this, I’ve already photographed and tasted its yumminess. If you make pies you must go to Stella’s site, Serious Eats and give her recipe a try. You won’t be disappointed.  Please, share your thoughts with me in the comment section. Please follow us on Facebook, Instagram, twitter and Pinterest.  Click on the button below and it’ll take you to Serious Eats and this recipe.

Photography

I approached this shoot with enthusiasm, looking forward to putting my creativity to work.  I envisioned several different sets, set variations, camera angles and lighting. Oh yeah, and props.  

Planning

An old world Tuscan inspired theme began developing as I considered my options.  Months before I purchased an old vintage rolling pin and knew it would be perfect for this shoot.  I also had several woven wraps that could be used to provide that old world feel. Which were purchased years ago when my grandson was born.  I wrapped him in these stretchy wraps for his newborn photoshoot.  

Crumpled, shaped and oven toasted parchment paper could be used to accentuate my “winner” subject.  If you’ve read my other blog posts, which I sincerely hope you have, you know I will add floral sprays, ribbons, cloth napkins and sprinkle ingredients in, here and there.  

 

Background

I felt an old wooden table or surface would work well and continue the Tuscan feel.  The vintage rolling pin is a medium toned wood, the pie crust is a soft golden tone and I felt a much darker and rustic wood could bring it all together.  The old grape tray and an equally old grape box immediately came to mind.  

Lighting

I envisioned moody lighting with shadows.  Wonderful shadows. My main lighting would be to the right of the set and I would use speedlights with snoots and/or a flashlight to emphasize the main pie.   My goal was to style the sets to encourage your eye to fall first on the main pie and then moving throughout the set. Allowing glimpses of strategically placed props within each set and always returning your eye to the beautiful pies.

Gorgeous Photography

I was thrilled with the set variations, lighting and the beautiful photographs.  I hope you’ll agree. Please tell me what you think by dropping a comment below.  

 

black pie plate, polka dotted napkin, fork, bouquet of flowers with ribbon setting on wooden grape tray.
Lattice apple pie wrapped with parchment paper, flowers, vintage rolling pin and fabric draped setting on wooden grape tray.
Apple tarts in a grape box with flowers
lattice apple pie, 3 forks, vintage rolling pin, 3 apples, flowers setting on grape tray.
Apple Pie and three tarts arrange inside a wooden grape box with parchment paper and a kitchen towel with 3 forks
3 Lattice apple tarts wrapped with parchment paper, flowers, vintage rolling pin and fabric draped setting on wooden grape tray.
Three tarts, draped fabric, 3 forks, vintage rolling pin, and flowers setting on wooded grape tray.
three tart sized apple pies with lattice top crust on grape tray with fabric and flowers.

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4 Responses

  1. Sounds like an amazing recipe! I was surprised when you said you didn’t cut the butter into the flour! But like you said…it makes sense to layer it! 🙂 Your pie photos are phenomenal!

    1. Thank you for your visit and comment.
      I too, was surprised the cutting wasn’t part of this recipe.
      Thank you for your lovely compliment on my photography!

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