Perfect Pie Dough

Perfect Pie Dough


I used to think that the only people who could make good pies were my Nané, competitive fair pie bakers, and, of course, chefs.  Despite meticulous adherence to classic pie dough recipes, every time I made pie dough it would crack and crumble and more would end up on the floor than in the pie plate.  After years of unsuccessful attempts (ok, I usually only tried once per year around apple picking season), I threw in the towel and swore off pie baking.  Why spend a morning getting frustrated by dough that was too stiff, too soft, too crumbly, or too buttery (can anything be too buttery?) when I could opt for the quick, simple, and tasty cousin of the pie: fruit crisp.  I love crisp so much I would make it with any type of leftover spring and fall fruit: apples, peaches, pears, plums, you name it I’ve tried it.

My pie boycott was full steam ahead until three weeks ago.  I had a birthday party to attend and did not want to go empty handed.  I contemplated baking a cake, but people can be fussy about cake.  When one of my friends gave me her leftover fresh picked strawberries and rhubarb, I knew that my pie boycott was over… Sure I could make a crisp, but a pie would be prettier.  And hopefully tastier.  So I scoured the internet in search of a recipe for the perfect pie dough.  And I am happy to say that I found it! Not only was this pie dough easy to make, but it rolled like a champion.  Arrivederci dry, brittle pie dough, ciao smooth, buttery, creamy, melt-in-your-mouth pie dough that makes you want to bake a new type of pie every week.  Seriously, it even stays together when you cut the pie, take it out of the pie plate, and place it on a dish – amazing!

For this recipe you will need some special baking equipment:  a rolling pin, a food processor, a zester, and a silicone baking mat.

Perfect Pie Dough


  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 8 ounces cold cream cheese (cut into small pieces)
  • 1 cup cold butter (2 sticks) (cut into small pieces)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 to 4 teaspoons sugar (depending on how sweet you want the dough)
  • 2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar (if you don’t have apple cider vinegar use white vinegar)
  • 2 to 4 teaspoons cold water

Step 1: Sift the flour into a medium size bowl.  Add the salt and sugar to the food processor.  Stir 10 times, gently combining the dry ingredients.

Step 2: Add the cream cheese and cold butter chunks to the dry ingredients.  Toss gently, coating the cream cheese and butter chunks with flour.

Step 3:  Pour the flo

ur/salt/sugar/butter/cream cheese mixture into the food processor.  Pulse 5 to 7 times for 1 second intervals, until the butter and cream cheese are in small pieces.  *Be careful not to over mix here!

Step 4:  Add the vinegar and 2 teaspoons cold water to the food processor.  Pulse 2 to 5 times.  The dough should start to form into a ball.  If the dough does not form a ball, add another teaspoon of cold water, and pulse 2 or 3 times.

Step 5:  Once the dough forms a ball, remove (carefully) from the food processor.  Divide the dough into two parts.  Roll each piece of dough into a ball and flatten gently to resemble a disc.  Wrap each piece in plastic wrap and place in the fridge for 20 minutes.

Step 6:  When the dough has chilled, remove the dough from the fridge.  Place one piece on silicone baking mat.  Gently coatthe rolling pin with flour and roll the dough into a circle, 2 inches wider than the pie dish you are using (i.e. if you are using a 9 inch pie plate, roll the dough so it is 11 inches in diameter so that you have extra dough to join the crusts together and make and edge).

Step 7:  Place first piece of dough in your pie plate.  Poke the dough about 10 times with a fork.  Add your filling.  Repeat step 6 with the second piece of dough, and get creative!  This dough is super easy to work with and works great if you want to make a decorative top like a lattice top.