Extra-flaky, tender and foolproof, with a rich natural butter flavor, our recipe and tips for an all-shortening (or part butter and part shortening) pie crust inspired by a Master Pie Baker and Chef will have you successfully making your own homemade buttermilk pie crust that will win rave reviews!
Best Ever Flaky Buttermilk Pie Crust Pastry:
An Essential Recipe for Baking
My sweet baking friends, once again I am beyond thrilled to share an essential baking recipe with you—Best Ever Flaky Buttermilk Pie Crust Pastry as part of my new How To Bake Series. You are going to love this foolproof recipe for an all-shortening and all-natural butter-flavored pie crust! Trust me. It’s phenomenal.
Today’s pie crust recipe was adapted from and inspired by a recipe from a true Master Pie Baker and chef, Chef Bill Greenwood’s prize-winning recipe for Great Buttermilk Pie Crust from his famous restaurant, Greenwood’s Restaurant, in Roswell, Georgia—known for his exceptional pies. The recipe was published with his blessing in BakeWise, by Shirley Corriher.
For my adaptation of Chef Greenwood’s epic recipe, I simplified the process of making a scrumptious flaky buttermilk pie crust while still offering up his tried and true method for an extra-flaky buttermilk pie crust as a variation. This variation employs the use of a rolling pin, along with a dough scraper, to gather and flatten the chilled fat in the flour mixture to create thin shards of fat throughout the dough, then proceeding to fold the dough in the same fashion as preparing puff pastry to create even more layers for an extraordinary extra-flaky pie crust.
For this recipe, I left no stone unturned! There are plenty of tips, variations and ingredient substitutions to make everyone happy. Your results, no matter which way you go with the ingredients or methods in preparation—all-shortening, or part butter and part shortening, or my simplified method or Chef Greenwood’s more involved method—will yield a tender, rich and buttery as well as flaky or extra-flaky buttermilk pie crust. No matter how you slice it, this recipe is flawless and foolproof. You simply will not fail.
Included in the recipe itself are directions for my Grandma Gigi’s easy method of fluting pie crusts beautifully. Soon after I learned this decorative technique, we coined it as the “Grand Royal Flute” or “Grand Royal Fluting” and I have used this simple, foolproof pastry crimping method or fluting technique ever since. When used for pies with a lattice crust, this especially pretty crimped edge resembles a crown. Therefore, the name is rather fitting. Your homemade pies will look stunningly beautiful.
When I first adapted Chef Greenwood’s recipe, it was incredibly easy to do by using an all-natural butter-flavored organic shortening, by Spectrum®, in place of the conventional butter-flavored vegetable shortening he called for in his original recipe. (Chef Greenwood’s recipe does not call for any butter, only butter-flavored shortening.) However, since then, Spectrum® has discontinued this product from their line or range. Therefore, I had to develop a way in which to incorporate all-natural butter flavor.
Since I follow a mostly vegan and vegetarian diet, I am no stranger to using nutritional yeast powder (or flakes) to create buttery and cheese-like flavors in various dips, dishes and desserts. So, into the recipe it went in the proportions I use in making my recipe for homemade vegan butter.
The secrets of our made-from-scratch recipe for Best Ever Flaky Buttermilk Pie Crust Pastry begin with the finest ingredients and methods to yield the most flavorful and flaky pie crust of your dreams. Mmm…with natural butter flavor, too. Sheer magic, people.
Now, briefly, let’s move on to the ingredients.
Why Spectrum® Organic All Vegetable Shortening made 100% from organic palm oil?
Because. Its organic, expeller pressed, non-hydrogenated (0 g trans fats) and it is a sustainably produced organic palm oil. In fact, this all-vegetable shortening is Certified Sustainable. In addition, this wonderful shortening is both corn and soy free with no artificial flavorings, colorings or additives. I simply love the performance of this stellar shortening as it produces the flakiest of pie crusts and the creamiest of buttercream frostings!
Below are links to Wicked Good Kitchen’s buttercream frosting recipes calling for Spectrum@ Organic All Vegetable Shortening. Don’t miss a single one!
Best Ever American Buttercream
Best Ever Decorator’s Cream Cheese Buttercream
Chocolate Fudge Silk Buttercream
Pink Champagne Buttercream
Best Ever Baileys® Irish Cream Buttercream
Vanilla Silk Buttercream Frosting
Meanwhile, my favorite nutritional yeast powder, by Whole Foods Market®, is an excellent source of niacin, riboflavin and folate as well as a full spectrum source of amino acids. In addition, there are no flavors, artificial colors, sweeteners or preservatives added. Furthermore, this nutritional yeast is kosher, vegan, low fat and low sodium. What’s not to love?
By the way, the links in this post and recipe are not affiliate links. I am just sharing my favorite brands of products for this recipe with you all.
Although plenty of tips are included in today’s recipe, I will be posting a few more articles on pie pastry making as part of my How To Bake Series. Next, I will be posting How To Make Pie Crust with essential tips for success. So, please stay tuned.
My friends, this spectacular recipe for Best Ever Flaky Buttermilk Pie Crust Pastry will blow your mind. Consequently, everyone will think you are a rockstar pastry chef! It is the ideal all-shortening (or part butter and part shortening) pie crust to both frame and complement any sumptuous pie filling with its rich, tender, flaky or extra-flaky layers—even in savory applications.
Although I have not tested my gluten free variation for this recipe using my own GF flour blend, I will be adding it to this recipe soon as an option. So, please stay tuned my GF baking friends.
My dear readers, whip up a batch or double-batch of Best Ever Flaky Buttermilk Pie Crust today and bake the pie you have been dreaming of with a rich, buttery and flaky or extra-flaky crust. You will be so glad you did!
Happy pie baking!
Below are Pinterest-friendly sized images to pin at Pinterest:
Extra-flaky, tender and foolproof, with a rich natural butter flavor, our recipe and tips for an all-shortening (or part butter and part shortening) pie crust inspired by a Master Pie Baker and Chef will have you making your own homemade pie crust that will win rave reviews!
- 1½ cups (about 188 g) unbleached all-purpose flour, plus extra for rolling dough
- 10 tablespoons (120 g) all vegetable palm shortening
- ¼ cup (60 ml) buttermilk
- 1 tablespoon (about 12 g) granulated cane sugar
- 1½ teaspoons (3.3 g) nutritional yeast powder
- ½ teaspoon (2.4 g) fine-grain sea salt
- 2 to 3 tablespoons (30 to 45 ml) purified ice water, as needed
- Chilled purified water, to make ice water
- Ice cubes, to make ice water
Special Equipment & Supplies
- 9-inch (23 cm) round pie plate or pan
- Rolling pin
- Dough scraper (also known as bench or pastry scraper, or dough cutter)
- Soft natural pastry brush
- Wax paper, for rolling dough, optional
- Aluminum foil, to prevent over-browning of crust
- Pie crust shield, to prevent over-browning of crust, optional
Prepare and Chill the Flour and Shortening Mixture: Place flour in medium mixing bowl. Meanwhile, after measuring shortening, cut it into ½-tablespoon (6 g) pieces and gently toss into the flour until well coated and evenly distributed. Place bowl in freezer to thoroughly chill, about 25 to 30 minutes.
Prepare and Chill the Buttermilk Mixture: In a 1-cup (250 ml) glass liquid measuring cup, combine the buttermilk, sugar, nutritional yeast and salt. Stir until sugar, nutritional yeast and salt granules dissolve, about 2 minutes. Cover and place in refrigerator to keep chilled until ready to use.
Work Shortening into the Flour: Remove bowl from freezer. Using pastry blender or cutter, cut the shortening into the flour until mixture resembles a coarse meal with large pea-size pieces. Place bowl in refrigerator to chill and rest for 5 minutes.
Prepare the Pie Crust Pastry: Remove flour and buttermilk mixtures from refrigerator. Immediately, add the chilled buttermilk mixture to the flour mixture and lightly stir in and toss with a fork. With a rubber spatula, gently knead the dough in the bowl to incorporate the buttermilk without overworking it. As needed, add ice water by the teaspoonfuls (5 ml) just until the dough starts to hold together when kneading gently. Shape the dough into a 6-inch (15 cm) diameter disk. Wrap tightly with plastic food wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 to 2 hours or overnight.
Roll and Shape Pastry to Line Pie Dish or Pan: Before rolling dough, allow wrapped dough to sit out at room temperature on work surface to soften slightly and become malleable, about 3 to 5 minutes. When ready to roll, unwrap the dough. On lightly floured surface, with lightly floured rolling pin (or between two sheets of plastic food wrap or wax paper), roll dough out to a 13-inch (33 cm) diameter circle and 1/8-inch (.32 cm) thickness. After rolling, transfer to large baking sheet and return to the refrigerator until firm, about 10 to 15 minutes.
Carefully transfer chilled dough to 9-inch (23 cm) pie plate or pan so that it drapes across the pie pan loosely. Holding the excess or outer edge of the dough, ease it in with freehand until it falls down into the center. With kitchen sheers or sharp paring knife, carefully trim the dough to create an overhang of 1½ inches (about 4 cm) that extends beyond the outer edge of the rim of the pie plate or pan. Fold overhang of dough under itself so that the folded edge is flush with the rim of the pie plate or pan. Crimp or flute edge decoratively as desired.
To Create “Grand Royal Fluting” for a Decorative Edge: Working with index fingers of both hands, pinch dough between fingers and up against sides of pie plate or pan along the top edge. Continue working around the perimeter in equal increments. With one index finger, move around perimeter and gently press down in each “valley” of the fluting to ensure each valley and ridge is smooth and even.
Refrigerate until dough is firm, about 20 to 30 minutes. Before baking, use the tines of a fork to prick holes over the bottom and sides of the pastry about 20 times. This technique is called “docking” and will allow steam to safely escape during baking without the pastry puffing up in the center of a filled pie. Carefully fill pie crust with filling.
At this point, bake the pie according to the single-crust pie recipe that is being followed calling for an unbaked pie shell.
Yield: Makes enough dough for one 8- or 9-inch (20 or 23 cm) single-crust pie.
Make Ahead Tips: Pie crust pastry can be stored in refrigerator for up to two (2) days when wrapped well in plastic food wrap and in freezer for up to two (2) months when wrapped dough is placed into a heavy-duty freezer bag. Be sure to label and date before freezing. To thaw pie crust pastry, transfer to refrigerator the night before using. Let dough soften slightly at room temperature before rolling out, about 3 to 5 minutes.
If desired, omit granulated cane sugar to prepare crust for savory pies.
If using nutritional yeast flakes, pulverize to powder before measuring and using in recipe.
IMPORTANT: If pregnant, nursing, have any health condition or taking medications, consult your health care practitioner before using any nutritional yeast products.
If desired, roll pie crust pastry between two large sheets of wax paper. Refrigerate on baking sheet until firm. This will make removing the wax paper and placing into pie plate or pan easier—especially if working in a warm kitchen.
If baking pie crust with a baked filling, place pie plate or pan on top of a parchment-lined baking sheet to catch drippings and prevent oven mess during baking.
To prevent over-browning of edge of pie crust, cover with connected strips of aluminum foil or use a pie crust shield.
Total time above does not include chilling times or the time for the option of refrigerating dough overnight before rolling out before baking.
How to Measure All-Purpose Flour for this Recipe: This tip is provided for bakers who do not own a kitchen scale and will be measuring flour by volume rather than by weight. First, aerate flour by stirring it in the container. Then, simply use the dip and sweep method by dipping a dry measuring cup into the flour and level off the top with a straight edge of a metal icing spatula. (The straight edge of a knife from a flatware set can be used as well.) This should yield about 125 grams per 1 cup of flour. Use a sheet of wax paper as a liner on your work surface to measure flour so that the excess can easily be funneled back into flour bag or container.
To Make Double Pie Crust Recipe: You will need the following ingredients in the amounts below to bake a pie with both a bottom and top crust or lattice top. This recipe is essentially 1¾ recipes since the top crust requires less pie crust pastry than the bottom.
2½ cups plus 2 tablespoons (328 g) unbleached all-purpose flour
1 cup plus 1½ tablespoons (210 g) all vegetable palm shortening
¼ cup plus 3 tablespoons (105 ml) buttermilk
1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons (about 21 g) granulated cane sugar
2½ teaspoons (5.5 g) nutritional yeast powder
Scant 1 teaspoon (about 4.2 g) fine-grain sea salt, or ¾ teaspoon regular table salt
3½ tablespoons to ⅓ cup (about 52 to 80 ml) purified ice water, as needed
Extra unbleached all-purpose flour, for rolling dough
Divide into 2 pieces. Form each piece into ball, then flatten into disk and wrap in plastic. Chill for at least 1 to 2 hours or overnight.
To Make Part Butter & Part Shortening Pie Crust: In lieu of all shortening at 10 tablespoons (120 g), simply substitute 5 tablespoons (about 71 g) chilled unsalted butter cut into small cubes and 4 tablespoons (48 g) all vegetable palm shortening as well as reduce purified ice water to about 2 tablespoons (30 ml) and nutritional yeast powder to ¾ teaspoon (1.65 g). (The ice water is reduced since butter contains milk.) If using part butter, the nutritional yeast powder may even be omitted.
Chef Greenwood’s Method for Extra-Flaky Pie Crust: For this method, you will need a rolling pin and dough scraper (also known as bench or pastry scraper, or dough cutter) to blend the flour and shortening (or flour, butter, and shortening) together. It is the flattening of the chilled fat(s) with the rolling pin, and the subsequent folding of the dough in the same fashion as preparing puff pastry, that makes this crust extra-flaky.
Spill the chilled shortening and flour mixture (or chilled butter, shortening and flour mixture) from the bowl onto clean working surface. With a floured rolling pin, roll over the mixture to flatten and coat the pieces of fat with flour. Wipe any shortening (or shortening and butter) off the rolling pin and place back into mixture.
Using a dough scraper, gather mixture together and then roll over it again with rolling pin. Work very quickly to keep the mixture cold. Once again, gather the mixture together with dough scraper and then roll over it again with rolling pin, for a total of 3 times of flattening and coating the fat(s) with flour using rolling pin. At this point, the mixture will look shaggy (sort of like paint peeling off a wall). Using dough scraper, scrape dough together and place back into the bowl. Place bowl in freezer to chill and rest the dough for at least 5 minutes.
Remove dough from freezer. Immediately, add the buttermilk mixture and lightly stir in white a fork. Gently knead the dough in the bowl to incorporate the buttermilk without overworking it. As needed, add ice water just until the dough starts to hold together when kneading gently. Remove dough from bowl and place on work surface.
Flatten the dough out and then fold it together to layer in similar fashion to making puff pastry. (In other words, fold the top one third portion down, the bottom one third portion up, to overlap, and both sides to the center overlapping again.) Flatten dough again and refold the same way. Shape the dough into a 6-inch (15 cm) diameter disk. Wrap tightly with plastic food wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 to 2 hours or overnight.
Although Wicked Good Kitchen encourages all-natural, pure and organic ingredients, the following substitutions can be made:
Conventional butter-flavored vegetable shortening may be substituted for the organic palm shortening. If using, omit nutritional yeast powder.
Imitation butter flavoring may be added in lieu of nutritional yeast for butter flavoring.
Conventional buttermilk may be substituted for the organic buttermilk.
Regular table salt may be substituted for fine-grain sea salt.
Kosher salt may be substituted for fine-grain sea salt. Simply use ¾ teaspoon (2.1 g) kosher salt in lieu of ½ teaspoon (2.4 g) sea salt.
Wicked Good Kitchen highly recommends selecting organic ingredients whenever possible.
For this recipe, and all our baking recipes calling for unbleached all-purpose flour, we highly recommend the pure and Organic Unbleached All-Purpose Flour by Hodgson Mill® because it is naturally white and contains no additives. We also highly recommend Spectrum® Organic All Vegetable Shortening made from 100% organic palm oil and Nutritional Yeast Powder by Whole Foods Market® in addition to organic grass-fed butter, buttermilk, granulated cane sugar and fine-grain sea salt.
Recipe Adapted From and Inspired By: Chef Bill Greenwood’s prize-winning recipe for Great Buttermilk Pie Crust, from his famous restaurant, Greenwood’s Restaurant, in Roswell, Georgia—known for his exceptional pies. Recipe published with his blessing in BakeWise, by Shirley Corriher, page 347.
Original Recipe Source: WickedGoodKitchen.com
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