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Easy to make. Easy to roll out. Tender.
Milk Street Bowtie Foolproof Single-Crust Pie Dough

Foolproof Single-Crust Pie Dough

2½ hours 30 minutes active

Free

The prebaked crust was an unsolved mystery. Either the dough was dry and hard to roll out (but less apt to shrinking in the oven), or it rolled out fine, only to slump during prebaking. No amount of fiddling with the usual suspects — the type and amount of fat, flour and liquid — or the addition of strange ingredients such as vinegar, vodka and baking powder were going to get us to the finish line. We needed a fresh start. Inspired by a Japanese technique called tangzhong (in which a flour-and-boiling-water paste hydrates the dough while retarding gluten formation), we found that using a cornstarch gel made for a tender dough that came together effortlessly in a food processor. Another surprise kitchen staple — sour cream — turned out to weaken the gluten even more, resulting in even less slumping. The result was a bombproof pie dough that is simple to mix, rolls out easily, stands up to handling, bakes up light and flaky, and doesn’t slump or shrink when prebaked. This is the master piecrust we’ve all been searching for.

3 tablespoons water
2 teaspoons cornstarch
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons (159 grams) all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons sugar
¼ teaspoon kosher salt
10 tablespoons salted butter, cut into ½-inch pieces and chilled
2 tablespoons sour cream
Ingredients
  • 3

    tablespoons water

  • 2

    teaspoons cornstarch

  • 1

    cup plus 2 tablespoons (159 grams) all-purpose flour

  • 2

    teaspoons sugar

  • ¼

    teaspoon kosher salt

  • 10

    tablespoons salted butter, cut into ½-inch pieces and chilled

  • 2

    tablespoons sour cream

Directions
  1. 01
    In a small bowl, whisk together the water and cornstarch. Microwave until set, 30 to 40 seconds, stirring halfway through. Chill in the freezer for 10 minutes.
    See Demo
    Water and Cornstarch Mixture
  2. 02
    Once the cornstarch mixture has chilled, in a food processor, combine the flour, sugar and salt and process until mixed, about 5 seconds. Add the chilled cornstarch mixture and pulse until uniformly ground, about 5 pulses. Add the butter and sour cream and process until the dough comes together and begins to collect around the blade, 20 to 30 seconds. Pat the dough into a 4-inch disc, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour and up to 48 hours.
    See Demo
    Make the dough
  3. 03
    When ready to bake, heat the oven to 375°F with a rack in the middle position. On a well-floured counter, roll the dough into a 12-inch circle. 
    See Demo
  4. 04
    Hang the dough over the rolling pin and transfer to a 9-inch pie pan. Gently ease the dough into the pan by lifting the edges while pressing down into the corners of the pan. Trim the edges, leaving a ½-inch overhang, then tuck the overhang under itself so the dough is flush with the rim of the pan. Crimp the dough with your fingers or the tines of a fork, then chill in the freezer for 15 minutes.
    See Demo
  5. 05
    To blind bake, line the chilled crust with foil and fill with pie weights. Bake until the edges are light golden brown, about 25 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through. Remove the foil and weights and bake until the bottom of the crust just begins to color, another 5 to 7 minutes. Let cool on a wire rack for 1 hour before filling. Once baked and cooled, the crust can be wrapped in plastic wrap and kept at room temperature for up to 2 days.
    See Demo
    Blind Baking with Pie Weights
Tip: Don’t skip the sour cream; it’s key for a tender crust. And don’t skimp on the pie weights; use
 enough to come ¾ of the way up the sides.
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Foolproof Single-Crust Pie Dough

Get Ready to Cook

One

9-inch pie shell

2½ hours

30 minutes active

Tip

Don’t skip the sour cream; it’s key for a tender crust. And don’t skimp on the pie weights; use
 enough to come ¾ of the way up the sides.

Ingredients
  • 3

    tablespoons water

  • 2

    teaspoons cornstarch

  • 1

    cup plus 2 tablespoons (159 grams) all-purpose flour

  • 2

    teaspoons sugar

  • ¼

    teaspoon kosher salt

  • 10

    tablespoons salted butter, cut into ½-inch pieces and chilled

  • 2

    tablespoons sour cream

Step 1 of 5

Make the cornstarch mixture

3
tablespoons water
2
teaspoons cornstarch

In a small bowl, whisk together the water and cornstarch. Microwave until set, 30 to 40 seconds, stirring halfway through. Chill in the freezer for 10 minutes.

Step 2 of 5

Make the dough

1
​cup plus 2 tablespoons (159 grams) all-purpose flour
2
teaspoons sugar
¼
teaspoon kosher salt
10
tablespoons salted butter, cut into ½-inch pieces and chilled
2
tablespoons sour cream

Once the cornstarch mixture has chilled, in a food processor, combine the flour, sugar and salt and process until mixed, about 5 seconds. Add the chilled cornstarch mixture and pulse until uniformly ground, about 5 pulses.


Add the butter and sour cream and process until the dough comes together and begins to collect around the blade, 20 to 30 seconds.


Pat the dough into a 4-inch disc, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour and up to 48 hours.

Step 3 of 5

Roll out the dough

When ready to bake, heat the oven to 375°F with a rack in the middle position.


On a well-floured counter, roll the dough into a 12-inch circle. 

Step 4 of 5

Put the dough in a pan

Hang the dough over the rolling pin and transfer to a 9-inch pie pan. Gently ease the dough into the pan by lifting the edges while pressing down into the corners of the pan.


Trim the edges, leaving a ½-inch overhang, then tuck the overhang under itself so the dough is flush with the rim of the pan.


Crimp the dough with your fingers or the tines of a fork, then chill in the freezer for 15 minutes.

Step 5 of 5

Blind bake the dough

To blind bake, line the chilled crust with foil and fill with pie weights.


Bake until the edges are light golden brown, about 25 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through.


Remove the foil and weights and bake until the bottom of the crust just begins to color, another 5 to 7 minutes. Let cool on a wire rack for 1 hour before filling.


Once baked and cooled, the crust can be wrapped in plastic wrap and kept at room temperature for up to 2 days.

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