Have you ever made pie crust from scratch? I was afraid to even attempt it for many years after watching my mother make them when I was younger. It was easy enough, but that was a lot of work and can be a daunting task; measuring out all of the ingredients and rolling out the dough. And if you don’t get the ingredients just right, or you overwork the dough, the crusts don’t turn out well. Besides, why make them from scratch when grocery stores carry frozen ready-to-fill shells or ready-to-use flat crusts in the dairy section.
Fast forward several years and I got on a freezer cooking kick to stock my freezer. I wanted to make a few homemade chicken pot pies, so I went on the search for a recipe to make a huge batch of pie crust dough.
I tweaked a recipe that sounded like it would work, by substituting butter-flavored vegetable shortening for the butter. Shortening is suppose to be better than butter for making flaky pie crusts. Then I added some vinegar, because it helps keep the dough from getting tough and also helps create a flaky pie crust.
I was extremely pleased with this pie crust! It’s perfect for either sweet or savory pies. It’s rich, buttery and flakey, and it freezes beautifully, so it’s a huge timesaver when you need homemade pie crusts. I figured the pie crust ended up costing about 50¢ each.
I actually enjoyed making the dough. This recipe cuts down on the tedious measuring, which is what I hate about baking, by using a full can of shortening and a 5# bag of flour with 2 cups removed. Brown sugar could be substituted for the white sugar.
Using a pastry cutter to cut the shortening into the flour is so much easier on the hands and wrists than a fork. (The pastry cutter can also be used to quickly chop herbs and nuts, too)
How to Make Pie Crust in Bulk
Makes 20 single pie crusts
- 5 pounds flour (minus 2 cups)
- 4 tablespoons sugar
- 7 teaspoons salt
- 3 pound can butter-flavored vegetable shortening
- 4 tablespoons vinegar
- 4 eggs
- 2 cups water
- Pour the flour into a large bowl, then remove 2 cups of flour and dump it back in the bag.
- Stir the sugar and salt to the flour.
- Use a fork or pastry cutter to cut the shortening into the flour.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the vinegar, eggs and water. Or skip the bowl and pour the vinegar, eggs and water into the empty shortening can, and then whisk together.
- Pour the liquid mixture into the flour mixture and then blend with a fork or pastry cutter until the dry ingredients are moistened.
- Using your hands, lightly blend the dough making sure there is no dry flour in the bottom of the bowl, and then form dough into a ball. Don’t overwork the dough.
- Cover the bowl and chill for at least 15 – 30 minutes.
- Divide the dough to make 20 baseball size dough balls. The easiest method I have found short of weighing each dough ball, is to divide the dough into 5 parts, then cut each one into fourths.
- To freeze, wrap each dough ball in plastic wrap or sandwich bag, then store the individual crust bags in a freezer bag for up to one year. I like to flatten the balls a little to make thawing quicker.
I just eyeballed the 5 clumps of dough to get them as close in size as possible, then cut each in fourths. If you do weigh the dough balls, they are about 7.5 ounces each.
In the photo below, I have 12 individual crust dough balls packaged and ready to freeze on the baking sheet. They freeze a lot faster when they are put on a baking sheet in a single layer, before putting a freezer bag.
One of the dough balls in the container is for the single crust Shaker Lemon Pie I am making tomorrow and the other 7 dough balls will be rolled out and and put in pie pans, before freezing.
Make Your Own Frozen Pie Crust Dough
Take a dough ball out of the freezer, or two if your pie will have a top crust. Allow the dough to thaw in the fridge or on the counter. When thawed, but still cold, sprinkle flour on your work surface and rolling pin, and then roll the dough out to the desired size.
Finish your pie with a beautiful pie edge design.
Don’t waste the scraps after trimming the pie crust. Use a cookie cutter to cut out pretty shapes to decorate the top of the pie. Or save the scraps after each pie making session until there’s enough to make another pie.