Crazy for Crust

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Nov 06

My Favorite All Butter Pie Crust {step by step photo tutorial}

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All Butter Pie Crust Tutorial with step-by-step photos | crazyforcrust.com

I kind of can’t believe that my blog is called Crazy for Crust and I do not have one dedicated crust post. I mean, I make lots of crust, and lots of pie, but I’ve never done a pie crust tutorial. It’s time to change that!

I’m going to break down my favorite pie crust recipe for you, step-by-step, with photos. I’ve been using this pie crust recipe for about 5 years now, and it is my absolute favorite one.

Now, let me tell you a secret: you don’t always have to use a scratch crust. You are perfectly welcome to bring Pumpkin Pie to your mother’s house for Thanksgiving using a refrigerated crust (Pillsbury is my favorite). In fact, I’ve done that myself. But sometimes you want to do it from scratch – and I think everyone should be able to make a pie crust. I know so many people are scared of the dreaded pie crust – but there really isn’t anything scary about it. It’s easier than you think. Making your own will taste great – I promise. Even if it’s not the prettiest thing in the world – it’s going to taste better than store bought. And I’ll tell you  a secret: half the time my crust isn’t the prettiest. And you know what? I don’t care. It tastes great just the same.

Now, to make a good pie crust you need a few things: fat, water, flour, and salt. You can use a few different kinds of fats for pie crust, the most popular being butter, shortening (Crisco), or lard. Now, I’m going to go against the grain and tell you my crust is all butter. I don’t like lard. I don’t like Crisco. I’ve got nothing against either of those products (in fact, I do use Crisco occasionally) but I don’t like them in my pie crust. I love butter so that’s what I use. And guess what – I’m bucking tradition even more – I use SALTED butter. I always use salted in my cooking…that’s just me. You can totally do this with unsalted butter, but add 1/4 teaspoon more salt.

Okay, are you ready for a step-by-step pie crust tutorial? This post is very photo heavy, but you’re going to see the crust every step of the way. Let’s get started!

When you start making a pie crust, you need to think ahead a little. Everything needs to be COLD. Cold butter and ice water are the keys to a successful crust. Before you start, dice your butter and then put it back in the refrigerator. Then fill a measuring cup with ice and water.

All Butter Pie Crust (1 of 13)

Add your flour and salt to your food processor. (Remember, if you’re using unsalted butter, add an extra 1/4 teaspoon of salt.)

Now, if you don’t have a food processor, don’t fret. You can do this by hand with a pastry cutter. I’m just really, really lazy. If you’re using a pastry cutter, just whisk the flour and salt first.

All Butter Pie Crust (2 of 13)

Add your butter. It’s COLD, straight from the fridge. Don’t touch it too much. Don’t go answer the phone. Cold, straight from the fridge to the food processor!

All Butter Pie Crust (3 of 13)

Pulse a couple of times. If you’re using a pastry cutter, now is the time to hope you’re been working your arms. Put some muscle into it!

This is what it will look like:

All Butter Pie Crust (4 of 13)

Add your ICE water. Not the ice, just the cold water. Start with 2 tablespoons.

All Butter Pie Crust (5 of 13)

Pulse a few times, let it run a few seconds. I always add a third tablespoon of water at that point, always. But, depending on altitude and humidity and your kitchen and the star alignment, you might not need the third…or you may need a fourth. Run the processor and your mixture should go from this:

All Butter Pie Crust (6 of 13)

To this:

All Butter Pie Crust (7 of 13)

If it’s not coming together add more water, but wait to see if it comes together. You do not want a wet dough. It takes a few seconds for it to turn into the ball.

At this point, I do something unconventional: I don’t chill it yet. *gasp*

I hate rolling chilled dough. Like, I’d rather eat beets. So instead, I roll out my dough, put it in my pie plate, THEN chill it while I make my filling. This dough is sturdy enough to roll right away, and if it’s rolled out, it chills faster. Win-win, in my book.

(FYI, I do the same thing when I make sugar cookies!)

Okay, so now you have a dough ball. Turn it out onto a cutting board or a silicone baking mat (like a roul’pat or a silpat) that’s been dusted with flour. FYI, if you’re using a cutting board or marble slab, you’ll need more flour. Silicone is better if you have it – less sticking with minimal flour, which is your goal. The more flour you add, the tougher your crust is going to be.

All Butter Pie Crust (8 of 13)

Press it into a disk with your hands, flour your rolling pin and roll it out into a circle.

All Butter Pie Crust (9 of 13)

Keep rolling…

I like to pick mine up and flip it over and around every few rolls until it gets too big to do that. This is important because that way you know it’s not sticking to your surface. There is nothing worse than rolling out the perfect dough and have it crack and break when you go to pick it up.

Roll it until it’s about 1/4″ thick. Or, well, this thickness:

All Butter Pie Crust (11 of 13)

In the 3 times I made crust last week I could not find a ruler. #damnkids

The easiest way to transfer your crust to your pie plate is to roll it up on the rolling pin. If you’ve moved your crust around a bit, it should roll up no problem.

Note: you have to hold your rolling pin with a finger so it doesn’t unroll. Just a word of advice. Otherwise you’ll have a pile of unrolled crust. Not that I’d know or anything…

All Butter Pie Crust (12 of 13)

Put it in your pie plate. Press it to fit, gently. This crust fits best in a 9″ pie plate. Beware: not all pie plates are the same size. Some are 9 1/2″, some are 10″, some are 7″. Be sure what size you have before you start. If I’m using a 10″ pie plate I double the recipe and use 2/3 of the dough.

All Butter Pie Crust (13 of 13)

I like to lay the overhang flat around the pie rim, then fold it under if possible. It won’t be overhung that much around the whole pie plate. Some will be flat, some will have enough to fold under.

All Butter Pie Crust (1 of 6)

On the left I had enough to fold over, there in the center, not so much. That’s okay!

Now you decide how you want your edges. Crimped? Forked? (I’m sure there’s an official word for “forked” but whatever, I like making up my own vocabulary.)

All Butter Pie Crust (1 of 2)

BTW, that was a fun shot to get. {Look ma, no hands on the camera!}

This is what your crimped pie looks like:

All Butter Pie Crust (2 of 6)

Or make it pretty with a fork:

All Butter Pie Crust (3 of 6)

And it will look like this when you’re done:

All Butter Pie Crust Tutorial with step-by-step photos | crazyforcrust.com

Another way I like to dress up my pie edge is to make a second crust and use small cookie cutters to cut shapes and put them around the edges. Stars, maple leaves, santa stockings, whatever. Last year I used the back of an icing tip to make round circles using this method:

{Pumpkin Bread Pudding Pie}

Pumpkin Bread Pudding Pie 3 wor

 

If you want to do that method, you’ll need a second pie crust.

Also note: I only ever fill this pie crust and bake. I’ve never blind baked it for a custard filling.

Then all you have to do is fill your pie and bake it! Here’s a tip so your pie crust isn’t too brown after baking (I hate a dark crust!): Tear off strips of foil that are about 1 1/2″ thick. (No need to measure, just guesstimate.) Tear those in half and wrap them around the pie, like this:

pecan pie foil1

{That Toffee Chocolate Pecan Pie recipe is coming Friday!}

Then bake the pie, as directed. About 10-15 minutes before the pie will be done, remove the foil. So many recipes say to add the foil if the pie is getting too brown, but how are you supposed to do that without burning your fingers? (Um, you can’t. That’s a fact.) Make a preemptive strike – cover first, then remove so the edges can brown to a normal color.

And hey, all you crust haters who eat the filling and throw away the crust: this will make you like it,  I bet. I bet you hate it because it’s brittle and burned…if you follow that tip it won’t be! :)

So, that’s it. My Favorite All Butter Pie Crust. What will you fill yours with?

All Butter Pie Crust Tutorial with step-by-step photos | crazyforcrust.com

I hope you love this pie crust as much as I do!

My Favorite All Butter Pie Crust

Yield: 1 pie crust for a 9" pie

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup butter, diced and chilled (I use salted butter, see note)
  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2-4 tablespoons ice water

Directions:

  1. Make sure your butter is diced and cold before starting. Make sure you're using ice water also.
  2. Combine flour and salt in food processor. Pulse once to mix. Alternately, whisk in a large bowl if you are not using a food processor.
  3. Add butter and process until it resembles coarse crumbs. Add 2 tablespoons of water and pulse, a few times. I always add a third tablespoon of water and pulse until the dough forms a ball. This takes a few seconds. If you find your mixture is too dry, you can add another tablespoon of water. Turn out the dough onto a lightly floured surface.
  4. Alternately, without a food processor, cut your butter in using a pastry cutter. Work in one tablespoon of butter at a time, then turn out the dough onto a floured surface.
  5. I recommend using a silpat or roul'pat or other similar silicone surface for rolling. But you don't have to, you'll just have to use more flour. Press the dough ball into a disk and roll to about 1/4" thickness. Be sure to flip and rotate your dough as you go so it does not stick to your surface. Roll out the dough to a few inches larger than your pie plate (about 12" for a 9" pie plate).
  6. Place in pie plate and press to fit. Tuck under any overhang and crimp or use the tines of a fork to decorate the edges. Chill until ready to fill.
  7. This pie crust is great for filling and the recipe makes 1 crust that fits comfortably in a 9" pie plate. For a bigger pie plate or for a double crust, double the recipe.

Notes:

If you are using unsalted butter, increase salt to 1/2 teaspoon.

If you double the recipe for a 2 crust pie: start with 3 tablespoons of water and add more as needed. The rest of the items can be doubled exactly.

Need some pie ideas to fill your crust with? Check out my Pie Recipe Collection or these pies:

Frozen Pumpkin Meringue Pie

Blueberry Crumble Pie

Macadamia Nut White Chocolate Pie

Sweets from friends:
Snickerdoodle Chess Pie by Something Swanky
Peanut Butter Pie with White Chocolate Ganache by Wine & Glue
Blueberry Crumble Cream Pie by I Wash, You Dry

Or check out my Crazy for PIE Pinboard!

83 Responses to “My Favorite All Butter Pie Crust {step by step photo tutorial}”

  1. Betsy @JavaCupcake posted on November 6, 2013 at 2:25 am (#)

    I’ve been a Pillsbury pre-made pie crust girl for… well, forever. Until I tried the Pioneer Woman’s recipe that used shortening. Then, my dough worked. HOWEVER, now that you’ve laid out the process so easily for us here using BUTTER… I’m going to give your technique a try. Which, also means I need to buy a new food processor. I’ve broken the last 3 I’ve owned. But hey – a baker needs her tools, right? HAHA ;)

    Thanks for a great tutorial, Dorothy!

  2. Laura @ Lauras Baking Talent posted on November 6, 2013 at 3:59 am (#)

    I have only made a regular pike crust with crisco, but definitely want to try this method. Love the step by step photos! Thanks for sharing :)

  3. tanya posted on November 6, 2013 at 5:18 am (#)

    You make it look so easy! I prefer homemade and the food processor makes it so much easier! Great step by step Dorothy!

  4. Tieghan posted on November 6, 2013 at 5:36 am (#)

    So perfect, Dorothy!! I am all about all butter and I also almost always use salted butter (it’s all Costco sells and I buy it in bulk!)! Thanks you for all these awesome step-by-step photos!

  5. Erin | The Law Student's Wife posted on November 6, 2013 at 6:06 am (#)

    Awesome, awesome, awesome Dorothy! I do a butter/shortening blend, but I’m moving towards all butter (my grandma’s perfect crust is all shortening, but I miss the butter flavor too much not to include it!) Yours looks so perfect, there is definitely something to this all-butter game. Good thing the holidays will give me plenty of time to experiment ;-)

  6. Melissa {Persnickety Plates} posted on November 6, 2013 at 6:10 am (#)

    Such a pretty post :) I’m a salted butter girl, too. And, last time I made a chicken pot pie I tried to add the foil at the end and def burned my fingers. Then had a rant about how that was a really stupid idea.

  7. Faith @ Pixie Dust Kitchen posted on November 6, 2013 at 6:12 am (#)

    I’m so happy that this recipe uses all butter, because the idea of using shortening just sounds gross to me. Like, what actually is shortening? I use salted butter too… I’ve tried using unsalted for baking and buying salted just for eating, but honestly I don’t really notice a difference at all between salted and unsalted. So I stick with salted.

  8. Kelli @ The Corner Kitchen posted on November 6, 2013 at 9:30 am (#)

    Awesome post, Dorothy! And so perfect for holiday time. I’m all about the all-butter crust…yum!!

  9. Ashley M. | Our Full Table posted on November 6, 2013 at 10:00 am (#)

    Im all about the butter too! Well done Dorothy!

  10. Averie @ Averie Cooks posted on November 6, 2013 at 10:27 am (#)

    Wow. Amazing. SO HELPFUL! Pinned!

    “I hate rolling chilled dough. Like, I’d rather eat beets. ” <— and to think I was sitting right next to you when you did eat one. Lol

    I am not a fan of making pie crust and this is so helpful and inspirational. So many great tips. Thank you! Pinned to my Tutorials board.

    • Dorothy Kern replied on November 7th, 2013 at 5:21 pm

      Thanks so much Averie! Ah, beets. At least I can say I don’t like them and I know I don’t now, ha!

  11. Kayle (The Cooking Actress) posted on November 6, 2013 at 10:55 am (#)

    LOVELOVELOVE this recipe!!!! I’m so not chilling my dough until it’s in the pie plate from now on. Because…girl…rolling out chilled dough suuuuucks!

    • Dorothy Kern replied on November 7th, 2013 at 5:20 pm

      I know right????

  12. Lisa @ Wine & Glue posted on November 6, 2013 at 12:50 pm (#)

    I really need to get comfortable making my own pie crust. Just think of all the fun I could have decorating the top!! Thanks so much for the link love!

  13. Jenn@eatcakefordinner posted on November 6, 2013 at 3:04 pm (#)

    I am so terrible at making pretty pie crusts. Thanks for the step-by-step. I love that it can be made in a food processor.

  14. Wendy | Around My Family Table posted on November 6, 2013 at 3:08 pm (#)

    My mom used to decorate her crust too- and sometimes we would put cinnamon and sugar on the scraps and bake them. Great tips!

  15. angela@spinachtiger posted on November 6, 2013 at 4:06 pm (#)

    You make your pie crust just like i do and I also use the Demarle Roul Pat. I love it. The bread pudding pumpkin pie looks amazing. It would be way too dangerous to have around the house.

    • Dorothy Kern replied on November 7th, 2013 at 5:15 pm

      VERY dangerous! Thanks Angela!

  16. Tahnycooks posted on November 6, 2013 at 4:54 pm (#)

    This is just in time! A great crust is the perfect foundation to a perfect bite! Beautiful post!

  17. Alyssa posted on November 6, 2013 at 6:45 pm (#)

    This crust looks great! I always use salted butter when cooking as well. I have always used a pre-made crust, but I will have to try this sometime.

  18. cecilia posted on November 6, 2013 at 7:01 pm (#)

    How long do you need to bake this crust?
    Thanks for the awesome tutorial!!

  19. Pamela posted on November 6, 2013 at 7:26 pm (#)

    Thank you, thank you, thank you! For the love of (fill it in :-))–I have NEVER been able to make a pie crust. Seeing this post has pointed out all my mistakes. No processor, but not afraid……

    Actually looking forward to making pies now–maybe even some type of pumpkin :-) (I’m the one that doesn’t like pumpkin but loves all your posts.

    Thanks again!!

  20. Jennifer Dirling posted on November 6, 2013 at 7:57 pm (#)

    I cannot wait for that toffee chocolate pecan pie!!! With your crust recipe I’m actually excited to try pie making. I’ve never done homemade pie crust. Only pills bury crusts and only pumpkin pies at. Thanksgiving HaHa. can’t wait to try some of your recipes!

  21. Pat posted on November 7, 2013 at 7:45 am (#)

    Just searched your site (crazy for CRUST?)this weekend when I wanted to make apple pie!! What, no pie crust recipe? A few days late, but will have it for next time. Thanks

    • Dorothy Kern replied on November 7th, 2013 at 5:07 pm

      I have an apple pie recipe, with a crust! I’ve just never done a stand-alone one before, I don’t know what took me so long! Thank you Pat!

  22. Zainab @ Blahnik Baker posted on November 7, 2013 at 7:58 am (#)

    So beautiful and perfect. You make it look so easy. I need to learn how to decorate the edges..your crimped is stunning.

    • Dorothy Kern replied on November 7th, 2013 at 5:06 pm

      The fork is the easiest way! :)

  23. Laurie F. posted on November 7, 2013 at 9:04 am (#)

    Dorothy, your steps are very thorough, and would prevent even a novice from making a mistake. I wish I had these printed instructions to hand out when I once taught eight 9-year olds how to bake pie at a friend’s daughter’s birthday party. My mom was a great pie baker, and passed her skills along to me and all my sisters, and we always used just salted butter for the shortening. Then we would use the leftover dough to make “cookies” by sprinkling them with sugar and cinnamon before baking. Yum!

    • Dorothy Kern replied on November 7th, 2013 at 5:03 pm

      I used to love those – JoAnn used to make them when she’d make her berry pies! :) Thanks Laurie!

  24. Stephanie @ Stephanie's Az Kitchen posted on November 7, 2013 at 10:36 am (#)

    Love that it can be made with a food processor too…. just in time for pie season (Thanksgiving/Christmas) :) Love short cuts in the kitchen that don’t involved processed food! As always great work on your blog!!! :D

    • Dorothy Kern replied on November 7th, 2013 at 5:02 pm

      The food processor is my saving grace Stephanie!

  25. Pat Croft posted on November 7, 2013 at 12:04 pm (#)

    I couldn’t find how much butter/flour you used?

    • Dorothy Kern replied on November 7th, 2013 at 5:02 pm

      If you look towards the bottom of the post (above all the comments) you can see the pink outlined box – that’s the recipe and you can print from there. It’s 1 stick butter, 1 1/4 cups flour.

  26. Jocelyn @BruCrew Lifec posted on November 7, 2013 at 3:24 pm (#)

    Great post…love all the step by step pictures! I don’t mind making crust…I just have become lazy and use a store bought one all the time now ;-)

    • Dorothy Kern replied on November 7th, 2013 at 5:00 pm

      (I do too. A lot!)

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  28. Pat Croft posted on November 8, 2013 at 6:55 am (#)

    thanks:) now i am going to make it:)

  29. Gerry @ Foodness Gracious posted on November 8, 2013 at 2:33 pm (#)

    Great step by step! It’s going to get pie crazy in a few weeks :)

    • Dorothy Kern replied on November 10th, 2013 at 4:53 pm

      Yes, yes it is! :)

  30. Aimee @ ShugarySweets posted on November 9, 2013 at 6:37 pm (#)

    I’m so pie crust challenged. Seriously. How about you make up about a dozen of these, wrap them individually and send them to me. K? No bueno??? Oh, I will try again, with your recipe in hand :)

    • Dorothy Kern replied on November 10th, 2013 at 4:45 pm

      I so would if I could Aimee!! :)

  31. Patty posted on November 11, 2013 at 11:37 am (#)

    I’ve been using the food processor and butter for many years, but always chilled the dough before rolling, which we both know is a major pain. Hubby is going to a guys night in tonight, and I was asked to make two pecan pies, so I tried your method, including rolling them out on a silicone mat, (a first time for that, too). It was life changing! I kid you not; I was able to roll the dough out so evenly, that there were no scraps to trim off of the edges. That creates a wee bit of a problem, because, I’ve always made cinnamon sugar pinwheels with the pie dough scraps. Somehow, we’ll live without them, because I’m never going back to chilling before rolling!
    Thanks, Dorothy, for teaching this old baker two new tricks.

    • Dorothy Kern replied on November 11th, 2013 at 7:30 pm

      I know, the no scraps is a problem, lol! Now you just need to double the recipe to make everyone happy, ha! Thank you so much for letting me know the method worked! It’s so nice to hear the successes. :)

  32. allison posted on November 11, 2013 at 3:55 pm (#)

    i don’t own a food processor, but i make lots of pie, only i use frozen butter and grate it into my chilled flour- no pastry cutter needed

    • Dorothy Kern replied on November 11th, 2013 at 7:29 pm

      I love grating chilled butter. It’s so awesome!

  33. Julie @ Lovely Little Kitchen posted on November 15, 2013 at 8:36 pm (#)

    These pie crust tips are so helpful! Feeling very inspired to get up off the couch and make a pie! Love your blog.

  34. Kristi @ My San Francisco Kitchen posted on November 17, 2013 at 7:27 pm (#)

    Oh my gosh, I wish my pie crust turned out like this!! BEAUTIFUL! Next time I am using your recipe!!

    • Dorothy Kern replied on November 18th, 2013 at 6:54 am

      Thanks Kristi!

  35. Anna posted on November 18, 2013 at 5:40 am (#)

    I’m going to have to give this one a test run. Thanks for sharing!

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  39. Melissa posted on December 4, 2013 at 7:41 pm (#)

    We typically always go with Pillsbury. BUT, this year my mom decided at 7:30 pm on Thanksgiving Eve that she wanted me to make a pie crust from scratch for her pumpkin pies. I just stared at her for a minute. Then I grabbed my computer and looked up this tutorial. Thank you Dorothy- my pie crusts were not as pretty as yours, but they tasted great and you’re right- this is fairly easy recipe :)

    • Dorothy Kern replied on December 5th, 2013 at 6:49 am

      Awesome! And believe me, half the time mine aren’t pretty. :) But they taste good! Thanks for your comment!

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  43. Beate posted on January 22, 2014 at 7:22 pm (#)

    Love, Love, Love your pie crust. My husband said now this pie crust is awesome. He told me to throw out my other pie crust recipes. Thank you.

  44. Phoebe posted on January 27, 2014 at 2:17 pm (#)

    I just have to tell you, this is the best pie crust recipe! I’ve only used it for quiches so far, but one day soon I’m going to have to make a real pie! thank you, thank you, thank you Dorothy!! :)

    • Dorothy Kern replied on January 27th, 2014 at 4:02 pm

      Yay!! That makes me so happy. :)

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  46. Sarah posted on March 4, 2014 at 4:48 pm (#)

    I like my crusts to be sweet. Would it be ok to add sugar? If so, how much? Thank you!

    • Dorothy Kern replied on March 4th, 2014 at 5:59 pm

      I’ve never done that, but I think it would be okay to add a tablespoon or two. Let me know how that goes – I’d love to know!

    • Amy replied on August 18th, 2014 at 8:27 am

      Hi, Sarah. I always add 2 tablespoons sugar and it’s Tasty.

  47. Allen Vergakis posted on March 30, 2014 at 11:52 pm (#)

    Thank you for all of the wonderful recipes. You’re giving this old man something to do. God bless you and your loved ones, Allen.

  48. Kelly posted on April 1, 2014 at 11:27 am (#)

    Thanks for the recipe, I will try this next time I make a pie.

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  52. Suzanne posted on May 13, 2014 at 7:50 am (#)

    You have saved my sanity with your tip about rolling out the dough before chilling….makes all the difference in the world, and no more tears over dough I can’t budge. Thanks!

    • Dorothy Kern replied on May 13th, 2014 at 11:23 am

      You’re welcome!! Thanks Suzanne!

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  54. Daniela Mary Gantuangco posted on June 2, 2014 at 9:06 pm (#)

    LOL! I made the crust and it turned to a HUGE bubble! I put too much! But it ended up YUMMY!!!

    • Dorothy Kern replied on June 3rd, 2014 at 6:45 am

      Oh no! Did you blind bake it? I’ve never done that, but you have to be sure and poke it with a fork first, so that it doesn’t bubble up!

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  56. Mav posted on July 13, 2014 at 11:11 am (#)

    Tried the crust. went good for the first time. I’m very happy :) Thanks for sharing.
    will try rest of your recipes too

    • Dorothy Kern replied on July 13th, 2014 at 3:17 pm

      I’m glad you enjoyed it!! :)

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  59. Jessica posted on September 2, 2014 at 7:04 pm (#)

    I used this as a bake-and-fill crust….. not sure what that that’s technically called, haha. I baked it at 475 for about 12-15 minutes I think, and it was amazing. I filled it with coconut banana cream pie :)

    • Dorothy Kern replied on September 2nd, 2014 at 7:07 pm

      Awesome Jessica! Glad to know that worked!!

  60. Kim and Kira posted on September 17, 2014 at 10:19 am (#)

    This recipe is so easy and so good!! I will never use another pie crust recipe or store bought crust again!  This was AMAZING!!!  Than buoy so much!

    • Dorothy Kern replied on September 17th, 2014 at 5:54 pm

      Yay!! It’s absolutely my favorite!

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