Butter and Shortening Pie Crust Recipe

by cakeduchess on November 24, 2010 · 21 comments

If you need a great pie crust recipe, I bet you could ask your mom and she will pull out a wrinkled and faded recipe from the past. Maybe your mom isn’t a hoarder. Maybe she tossed that priceless recipe. Look no further for that perfect pie crust recipe!
There is something about Thanksgiving. I get sentimental. I think a great deal about my childhood. Sometimes, it was perfect. My mom, my dad, and my little brother. We loved each other intensely. We had a huge extended family. Unfortunately, they were all across the Atlantic. So when it was holiday time, it was usually just us. And sweet Mariskaneni. Sometimes we were with our family that lived in Ohio. Those were great Thanksgiving and Christmases usually full of snow and lots of cousins.

Here’s my darling mom cooking her amazing turkey.
mom1 001
Here’s my dad carving his famous Sicilian turkey in the 1990’s.
dadturkey1 001

Mariskaneni was my mother’s aunt and she was like a grandmother to us. Most of our holidays were spent with her and her husband. She was an incredible Hungarian baker. I remember going next door to her house and always hearing the whizzing  of her mixer. And the sweet smells of Hungarian treats. Oh, the smells. I get dizzy with happiness just remembering. Sometimes she would let me help her roll out the dough or sprinkle the walnuts on the cakes.
You are probably in the throes of Thanksgiving preparations. Maybe you have been planning for weeks. Possibly you thought you had nothing left to do and then were asked to bake a pie. Don’t be intimidated in trying to make your own crust. It is worth the few steps. The flavor is incredible and there is a huge difference between a homemade crust and the ready-made roll out kind. Huge difference. This is the exact recipe from my great-aunt. I had to translate it from Hungarian with my mom. She believed in using shortening and butter. I have made crusts with only butter before. I kind of like pie crusts both ways.
My friends, if you have children, I urge you to bake with them. Even if it is making ready made cookie dough. Do it! Decorate it together. Have fun getting sprinkles every where!  Make your own holiday memories. Tonight, I got to make pie crusts with my mom and daughter. Tomorrow, I will begin baking with my daughter and our neighbor’s daughter. We will make a mess, and hopefully, not eat all our sweets. My little guy will sneak away, like he always does, with a chunk of dough to eat and to play with. We will make some more baking and holiday memories together. Beautiful memories…like the ones I have from my childhood.
There’s me with a missing front tooth, my brother, mom, and dad.
family 001

Ingredients for one double-crust 9 inch or 10 inch pie:

2 1/2 cups all purpose flour, plus extra for rolling
1 teaspoon salt
2 Tablespoons sugar
3/4 cup (a stick and a half) unsalted butter, chilled, cut into 1/4 inch cubes
1/2 cup of all-vegetable shortening (8 Tbsp)
6-8 Tablespoons ice water

Combine flour, salt, and sugar in a food processor; pulse it one time to mix. Add the butter pieces and pulse 4 times. Add shortening one tablespoon at a time and pulse each time you add a tablespoon. The mixture should resemble coarse cornmeal, with butter bits no bigger than peas. Sprinkle 6 tablespoons of ice water over flour mixture one tablespoon at a time. Pulse once after you add each tablespoon of water. If you pinch some of the crumbly dough and it holds together, it’s ready. If the dough doesn’t hold together, keep adding water, a tablespoon at a time, pulsing once after each addition, until the mixture just begins to clump together.
Clean off your counter really well or use a pastry board or a nice cutting board. Flour your hands generously. Take the dough out of the food processor. Tilt the rolling pin and sprinkle it with flour as you rotate the rolling pin. Divide the dough into two balls and flatten each into a 4-inch wide disks. Sprinkle a little bit of flour on each disk and then wrap both separately in plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 1 hour before rolling.  When you are flattening the disks, you are not working the dough. You are just simply flattening the shape into a disk. If you are making the pie that day, make sure you refrigerate for at least an hour. It can stay for up to 2 day in the refrigerator.
When it is time to roll the dough out to make my pie, I take it out of the refrigerator and I usually let my dough sit out for about 5 minutes before rolling. It’s hot here in Florida. Doesn’t take more than 5 minutes to get to the perfect rolling temperature.
On a lightly floured surface, form pastry into a ball; shape into a flattened round. (For two-crust pie, divide pastry into halves and shape into two rounds.) Roll pastry 2 inches larger than an inverted pie plate with a floured rolling pin. Apply light pressure while rolling outwards from the center of the dough. Every once in a while you may need to gently lift under the dough.   You have a big enough piece of dough when you place the pie dish upside-down on the dough and the dough extends by at least 2 inches all around. Fold pastry into quarter folds and ease into plate, pressing firmly against bottom and side. Be sure not to stretch the dough to fit.


* If you are only making a single crust pie, use a pair of kitchen scissors to trim the dough to within 1/2 inch of the lip of the dish. Tuck the overhang underneath itself along the edge of the pie dish. Use your fingers in a pinching motion, or the tines of a fork to crimple the edge of the pie crust.
*If you are making a double crust pie, roll out the second disk of dough. Gently place onto the top of the filling in the pie. Use a kitchen scissors to trim the overhang to an inch over. Fold the edge of the top piece of dough over and under the edge of the bottom piece of dough, pressing together. Finish the double crust by pressing against the edges of the pie with your finger tips or with a fork.
Use a sharp knife to cut vents into the top of the pie crust. The vents let the steam escape while the pie is baking.
You could do an egg wash on the crust to give it a nice finish.
On my next post, I will show you the pie I made for Thanksgiving.
If you are a visual person and need good photos, I really like Smitten Kitchen’s tutorial on rolling out the dough.

{ 20 comments… read them below or add one }

Cristina - Teenie Cakes November 24, 2010 at 7:08 am

Beautiful post about your family and how close you’ve all stayed with one another, especially about your relationship with your brother. It’s holidays like this that make some of those special memories, especially with the kids – that they will cherish as they get older.

Thank you for sharing this pie crust recipe using both butter and shortening. I’ve heard that using shortening or lard with butter for the crust makes it perfectly flaky. I may give your recipe a try tomorrow.

Happy Thanksgiving to you and your lovely family! :)


Yesim November 24, 2010 at 8:05 am

very nice story, wish you and your family happy thanksgiving.. enjoy!!


Lindsey @ Gingerbread Bagels November 24, 2010 at 10:30 am

Lora, I so enjoyed reading your story, it was so sweet yet there were moments of sadness that I can definitely relate to. I can’t tell you how much I loved hearing about your childhood and the memories you have of your family. And more than anything, I loved the pictures you shared, so sweet! (especially the picture of you and your brother!)

Thank you for the wonderful recipe. Even though I’m not a pie person, your crust sounds absolutely wonderful. The old recipe I have from my great grandmother is also a butter and shortening recipe. :)

I hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving my sweet friend! :) xoxoxo!


Liana @ femme fraiche November 24, 2010 at 11:43 am

What a beautiful story. I think with time we learn to accept the pain and move on from it. Your pictures are very sweet. And your Great Aunt reminds me of my Zia that grew up just blocks away from me too! Happy Thanks!


Barbara November 24, 2010 at 11:53 am

Moms always have the best pie crust recipes! I love all the old photos…what memories.
Happy Thanksgiving!


Lizzy November 24, 2010 at 12:11 pm

Love your Thanksgiving memories! Wishing you and your mom a fabulous Thanksgiving! I’m blessed to have two new foodie friends~


Jason Phelps November 24, 2010 at 12:39 pm

You can’t go wrong with that pie dough recipe. I had to laugh when I saw it. I use something almost the same. The butter and shortening way seems to be a minority, but it makes a killer crust.

Here is my pie post from earlier in the week.

Happy Thanksgiving!



Annie November 24, 2010 at 12:54 pm

I too make a butter/shortening pie crust and have found that it is the best. You get that just right balance of flakey and buttery. Great post!


Pretend Chef November 24, 2010 at 2:15 pm

It’s nice to hear that your family can come together for the holidays and enjoy one another and the common ground you each share, your love for family. Enjoy your Thanksgiving and that pie crust! You make it sound too easy!


Evan @swEEts November 24, 2010 at 5:17 pm

Love your family pictures and lovely post :) Have a wonderful Thanksgiving Lora!!


Kristen November 24, 2010 at 5:23 pm

This was such a sweet post about your family. Thank you for sharing your memories. I always combine fats in my pie crust. Butter with lard or shortening makes the best flakes.


Carolyn November 24, 2010 at 5:35 pm

Thank you for the glimpse into your life. My parents divorced too, and it was bitter for a while, but my mother offered the olive branch a few years ago when she invited my dad to her wedding. And he returned the favour! Now they aren’t going to hang out, but at least it’s much friendlier.
I love pie crust with both butter and shortening too, and a great little tip from King Arthur Flour is a tbsp of buttermilk powder.


Angie's Recipes November 24, 2010 at 6:12 pm

That looks like a great pie crust! And thanks for sharing some sweet moments of your family and life.
Happy Thanksgiving!


blackbookkitchendiaries November 24, 2010 at 7:12 pm

that looks so gorgeous!!.. happy thanksgiving!


happywhennothungry November 24, 2010 at 7:41 pm

Thank you for sharing some of your childhood photos and memories! My mom’s pie crust is quite similar. Thanks for sharing and Happy Thanksgiving :-)


Susan November 24, 2010 at 8:05 pm

It must be the holiday baking that awakens so many family memories and long held feelings for family members! Making a good pie for the Thanksgiving feast is a must, isn’t it? My pies are in the oven right now, as I browse the blogs! Looking at all the comments, I’m struck by how many ‘little tricks and tips folks have for making crust! My only rule is to use cold Crisco, ice water, and never touch the crust unnecessarily. Works for me every time – I can’t wait to see your pies!


Foodessa November 24, 2010 at 10:33 pm

Although I came in on your future post of pecan pie…I thought it was best not to miss out on a post you mentioned to be important to you. After having read and paused for a minute…I was reminded about the purity of memories.
Lora, reading about you and the closeness to your family brought a pang in my heart because I too have parents who are not together and unlike your situation…they’ve never made peace.
All this to say is that no matter how difficult these situations are…I try to always focus on the positive and I am truly blessed with the people that surround me…especially my Mommy who was a great baker…and yet did not particularly like making pie crusts. I guess that’s where my aversion to making dough crusts comes from. LOL

Alright…I’m ready now to go feast on that pecan pie you’ve made ;o)

Ciao for now,


RJ Flamingo November 25, 2010 at 12:56 am

What beautiful – and sometimes bittersweet – memories, Lora. So wonderful for the holidays to have such meaning. And by the way – this is my *exact* favorite pie crust! You’re right, it’s always perfect!


Sandra November 25, 2010 at 1:25 am

Great post. Thanks for sharing your family. Have a relaxing holiday.


The Mom Chef November 25, 2010 at 1:37 am

Aww, that was wonderful. I loved learning about your family and seeing firsthand where you developed your love for cooking and baking. Thanks so much for sharing this bit of your life with us.


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