Delicious recipes from the kitchens of the Butler sisters

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

The Best Pie Crust


This recipe can be easily doubled for a double crust pie.


  • 1 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons granulated sugar
  • 10 tablespoons butter, frozen
  • 1/2 cup sour cream (not lowfat or light), plus an additional tablespoon or three if needed


  1. In a medium bowl, lightly whisk together the flour, salt and sugar. 
  2. Using the large holes of a box grater, grate the butter into the dry ingredients.
  3. With a fork, toss the butter and flour mixture until the butter pieces are all evenly coated with flour. Don't break down the butter pieces in this step, just lightly toss until they are coated with flour.
  4. Spoon the sour cream into the bowl. Using the same fork, mix the sour cream into the butter/flour mixture by pressing the fork down into the sour cream in order to mash the large clumps of sour cream into the flour and butter. A commenter suggested using a pastry blender which will help incorporate the sour cream a bit better. The sour cream won't mix in like a traditional pie crust with ice water. But take care not to overwork the dough trying to get the sour cream mixed in - if the butter pieces get too small and overprocessed, the crust will be tough. 
  5. After a few turns with the fork, it is easiest to use your hands to pull the dough together. It will look a bit shaggy but as you press it together (quickly and firmly so the the butter pieces don't melt), it should start to form a cohesive ball. 
  6. If it still seems overly dry, add a teaspoon or so of sour cream at a time until it comes together. 
  7. It's ok if there are still a few dry spots or cracks in the dough. The mixture should not be overly wet or sticky. At the same time, it shouldn't be falling apart either. It should hold together when pressed (see the pictures below). Many of you have had to add quite a bit more sour cream. That's ok as long as the crust isn't overly saturated (then it will be dense and gummy). Much of that depends on how you measure flour - if you pack the flour into your measuring cup, you'll obviously need more sour cream (try to measure the flour with a light hand). 
  8. At this point the dough can be rolled out on a lightly floured counter or it can also be pressed into a flat disc and wrapped in plastic to be refrigerated for 1-2 days or frozen for up to a month. 
  9. To roll out, lightly flour your countertop and using firm, even strokes, roll from the center outward, turning the dough a quarter turn every few strokes. The less you mess with the dough the better - even rolling - so try not to overwork it. Roll it out to a thin crust as quickly as possible. 
  10. Roll the dough over the rolling pin and unroll it onto the pie plate. Gently lift up the edges of the pie crust and settle it into the bottom of the pie plate without pressing or smushing. 
  11. Trim the edges to within 1/4-inch. Fold the short overhang underneath the top edge of the pie plate and crimp all the way around. 
  12. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes before using. To blind bake (prebake the pie crust), line the refrigerated crust with foil and fill with dry beans or pie weights. Bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes. Gently remove the foil and beans/weights and return to the oven to bake for another 10-12 minutes until nicely golden.
Recipe Source: Adapted and perfected from The Kitchen by Mel's Kitchen

My Favorite Pumpkin Pie


I like to prebake the pie crust; it helps eliminate some of the gummy bottom crust common in pumpkin pie but if that doesn't bother you, you can forego that step and pour the filling into the unbaked pie shell. If you do that, still refrigerate the pie crust for an hour or so after placing it in the pan so it doesn't shrink while baking.

Also, if you are using homemade pumpkin puree, make sure it is as smooth as possible (run it through a blender or food processor again). 


  • 1 single crust pie shell for a 9-inch pie plate (this is my favorite pie crust recipe)
  • Filling:
  • 2 cups (or 15-ounce can) pumpkin puree (see note)
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup lightly packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • Pinch of cloves
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 large egg yolks
  • 2/3 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup milk or half-and-half


  1. Roll out the pie crust (see this post for a step-by-step) and gently place it into a 9-inch pie plate, trimming and fluting the edges. Cover and refrigerate for at least an hour (or up to a day or so). 
  2. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Line the crust with foil and pour in dried beans or pie weights (I've even used wheat berries) until completely full. Bake the pie crust for 15 minutes. Gently remove the foil and weights (or beans) and bake another 10 minutes until the dough no longer looks raw on the bottom. Remove from the oven while preparing the filling.
  3. In a large bowl, whisk together the pumpkin, sugars, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, cloves and vanilla until well-combined. Add the eggs, cream and milk and whisk until smooth (don't overmix or the pie will have a tendency to crack). 
  4. Place the pie shell on a baking sheet and pour the filling into the warm pie shell.
  5. Bake for 10 minutes, without removing the pie, reduce the temperature to 350 degrees F and bake for 45-55 minutes longer until the pie is set and golden on top. If the crust starts to overbrown, cover it with foil strips or a pie shield partway through baking. 
  6. Serve with a dollop of sweetened whipped cream, if desired.
Recipe source: Mel's Kitchen