Help with All-Butter Pie Crusts

Joined Dec 30, 2020
I’m learning to make flaky all-butter pie crusts, and have had pretty consistent (hilariously bad) results all three times. I’m not sure what’s going wrong and would be super grateful for this community’s feedback on what’s causing it. Here's a couple pics of my latest crust for reference: .

I’m using Erin Jeanne McDowell’s recipe and have watched her crust video a few times. My dough looks/feels pretty good until it hits the oven... and then all three crusts have become boiling butter lakes. The end result is almost like a thick taco salad bowl, except way harder and less... edible. I also noticed lots of shrinkage when I remove the weights/parchment and let it fully bake.

I’ve tried to reduce the amount of water as much as possible each try and extend the chill times, but it hasn’t really made a difference in the end result. Any feedback on what should I change to avoid this? Thanks for your help!
Joined Feb 18, 2007
How long are you letting the dough rest?
Personally I think it's helpful to use a blend of shortening and butter as you develop your skill/ability. I am notoriously bad at pie crust (I always add too much water and rush it so it's tougher instead of tender). I would recommend the crust recipes from the Pie and Pastry Bible by Rose Levy Beranbaum for a beginner.
Joined May 5, 2010
Pie dough is notorious for making people believe it's easy to work with but the truth is that pie dough needs several rests not just one. Yes, you make the dough, mold it into a disk, wrap it and allow it to rest before rolling it out.
After you take it out from the fridge, it's going to be stiff. If you try to roll it, you'll have cracks. Allow the pie dough to sit out covered for 10 minutes before you roll it.
So, you've used ample flour and a rolling pin to roll the dough put larger than the pie tin.
Now...allow this to rest for 5 minutes before you drape it into the tin.
Do not try to pull the dough or stretch it if it's not large enough.
Take the dough back to the floured board and roll it larger.
Pulling and stretching dough makes it's shrink during baking.
Allow to rest again before baking.
Blind baking requires the dough to be pricked with a fork all over, then covered and weighted.
Allow to rest yet again.
You will be surprised what these simple rest times will do for your dough.
Joined Oct 16, 2018
I would supplement chef Ross' comment with two important pieces of additional info. The longer you can allow your dough to rest the first time,the better - overnight is ideal. It allows the flour to fully hydrate to its maximum potential,and allows the gluten chains to start to relax.

And as a final step before blind baking the crust, after forming your crust, pop it in the freezer for half an hour before baking. The warmer the butter is,the faster it will liquify and run out of the crust. In fact, the colder you can keep all of your equipment and ingredients at every step, the better - some people even keep their flour and bowls in the freezer.
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