The Southern Agenda

How to Achieve Pure Piecrust Perfection

Three expert tips

Illustration: Illustrations by Tim Bower

No matter what the scandalous (and since overturned) results at 2014’s Kentucky State Fair might indicate, you won’t find the best piecrust at the store. Chef Lauren Mitterer of WildFlour Pastry in Charleston, South Carolina, who prepares more than 100 crusts a week, shares her tips.

gg0216_southernagenda_021. Add ice-cold water first.
“If you start with the water before adding the dry ingredients, you won’t have to mix as much, because you aren’t trying to get that little crumbly bit at the bottom of the mixing bowl.”

2. Use butter and shortening.
“Butter is going to make the crust flaky, but shortening is going to make it tender. Our crust has a little more shortening than butter—probably sixty to forty percent.”

3. Freeze your dough in the pie tin before you bake it.
“If your dough is only refrigerator cold, it’ll be at room temperature by the time you’ve added the filling, which means the fats will already be melted.”