Butter Pie Crust


September 4, 2011 by Flora Dawn

Out of all the desserts I make, I must admit, pie is my favorite.

There is something extremely comforting about perfectly ripened, slightly sweetened fruit, encased between layers or flaky, buttery crust. Or a smooth, velvety pudding pie topped with whipped cream or meringue. Let’s face it, pie is perhaps the perfect dessert.

And yet, few home bakers will tackle making pie crust from scratch. Instead they avoid making pies altogether or attempt to make “homemade” only after heading to the grocery store for a mix or refrigerated crust.

I must admit, I have never purchased one of those mixes or refrigerator pie crusts, so maybe they are better than they sound (but I seriously doubt it).

I’ve always made pie crust from scratch. It does take a little practice and patience, but it’s definitely doable. And I encourage you to give it a try.

I have made several different gluten-free pie crusts, however, one of my kids has multiple food allergies and accommodating all of her allergies is a bit difficult. And let’s face it, after too many substitutions, what you are left with is hardly the traditional, original-tasting dessert.

After numerous failures, I have found a really great tasting, flaky, and yes, buttery pie crust that is gluten-free, egg-free, and nut-free! It is based on a recipe from food blogger and pastry chef Tara Barker.

Like all pastry recipes, this does require the usual patience and time. You have to chill the ingredients and refrigerate the dough before rolling. And yes, making pies from scratch will most likely mess up clean kitchen counter-tops (and if your like me, your floor, sink, and oven as well). But the end result is worth the hassle.

I used a food processor to make this dough, however, if you don’t own one you can use a pastry blender or fork to combine the ingredients.

This dough is nice to handle and rolls with ease (at least as long as it’s chilled). And if it cracks or gets tears you can easily patch it your fingers. And that’s all before it even goes into the hot oven. It comes out nicely browned, and when you bite into it, it tastes just like pie crust should.

A perfect piece of pie, or in my case a pocket pie, is so worth the effort.

I used this dough and Freezer Apple Pie Filling I had stowed away from last fall to make some amazing (and I think adorable) pocket pies. The pocket pie press was at Target for around $5 but similar tools can be found at Williams-Sonoma and Sur la Table. I can’t say it worked perfectly, but it did produce cuter pocket pies than I could have otherwise.

Butter Pie Crust

Makes one double crust (or enough for about 8 pocket pies)

  • 12 tablespoons cold butter ( 1 1/2 sticks)
  • 2 cups pastry flour blend
  • 1 teaspoon xanthan gum
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 cup cold cream cheese
  • 5 tablespoons very cold water
  1. Cut the butter into half-tablespoon size pieces. Wrap in plastic wrap or place in a covered container and freeze until frozen solid. Place dry ingredients (flour blend, xanthan gum, salt and baking powder) in resealable freezer bag or covered container and freeze until chilled thoroughly, about 30 minutes.
  2. Place the flour mixture into the bowl of a food processor and pulse several times or until combined. Add the cream cheese and pulse several times. Add butter pieces and continue to pulse until butter is incorporated and no pieces are larger than pea-sized. Add the ice water through the chute and pulse until a dough is formed. Remove dough from food processor and knead until a dough that holds together is formed; you can do this on the counter or place the dough inside the freezer bag and squash it together (saving your hands from getting really messy).
  3. Divide dough in half, and wrap each half in plastic wrap, pressing down to form discs. Place in refrigerator until thoroughly chilled, at least two hours.
  4. Roll dough into an approximate 10-inch circle, turning and dusting with cornstarch as necessary to prevent from sticking.
  5. Depending on the pie recipe you are using, you might have to adjust cooking temperature and times, but I typically bake pies in a preheated 400 oven until the crust is browned (for my pocket pies that was 25 minutes).






33 thoughts on “Butter Pie Crust

  1. Lynn says:

    This is the best gluten free pie crust I have tried so far. We had quiche for dinner and chocolate cream pie for dessert. Thanks!

  2. […] was until I saw a post my sister did on a gluten free pie crust she made and love. I knew if my sister was happy with this pie crust, it must be really good. I decided I […]

  3. Nora says:

    I was really excited to see that there was a great recipe for gf pie crust but my hopes fell when I saw that you use cream cheese in the recipe. I cannot use gluten, casein, or soy in my ingredients. Have any suggestions? Nora

    • Flora says:

      I have posted two other pie crust recipes that worked for me. This one uses shortening and has no dairy ( http://bit.ly/sqwdBu). This recipe uses butter, but I am guessing you could substitute your favorite non-dairy shortening or spread in this one (http://bit.ly/bWwcgc). These two recipes tasted great and can be pressed in the pan if they don’t roll perfectly.

  4. Tami says:

    I made this for a Apple Struesel Pie for Thanksgiving…Everyone LOVED it, including my gluten-eating family! My grandma asked me for the recipe and even if I could eat gluten, I would never eat a gluten pie crust again! A-MAZ-ING! THANK YOU!

  5. Christina says:

    I just tried this, SO GOOD!!! I have the Breville mini pie maker from Williams Sonoma and it has been so difficult to find a crust that doesn’t break when trying to fit it into the maker (you have to be quick, because the maker is hot.) EVERYONE loved the crust and ate multiple pies. I easily made it vegan by using Earth balance baking sticks and tofutti cream cheese. Thank you so much!!!!!

  6. Lily says:

    Is it okay to freeze the dough overnight before rolling it out and making it in the morning?

    • Flora says:

      I would leave it in the fridge if it’s just for overnight, I have done that before. If you freeze it, you’ll have to let it thaw some before it will roll out. But either way will work.

  7. Kate K says:

    So excited to try your recipe, as every gf pie crust I’ve tried has been a disappointment! (Pie was my fave pre-gf food, too, and I made awesome crust!) I have a question, though. Since you put salt and cream cheese (which has salt in it) in this recipe, do you use unsalted butter? I’m wondering if regular butter would result in a too salty crust? (I don’t like sweet crusts, but just want to make sure about the unsalted or salted butter) Thanks!!

    • Flora says:

      I only use unsalted butter. If you use salted butter I would eliminate the additional salt in the recipe. I agree that a salty tasting crust wouldn’t be very appetizing.

  8. Kate K says:

    Thank you so much for your response, Flora. I am so glad I asked. When I see butter in a recipe, I assume ‘salted’ butter rather than unsalted. I will be trying the crust in a few days. 😉

  9. Marje says:

    I was really excited to read your gluten free pie crust recipe until I realized it was gluten free but not Lactose free because my husband is both gluten & lactose intolerant. Got a GOOD gluten & lactose free pie crust recipe?



  10. […] leading up the Pie for Friends deal, so anything tricky?  Out of the question. I opted to adapt this recipe, while ignoring a lot of their suggestions.  Probably not a great idea, as you will see […]

  11. Abby says:

    I really want to try this!! My family has “pie day” the day before thanksgiving, and this looks like the perfect crust for my mom’s perfect pumpkin pie!
    Flora, I just wanted to let you know how much of a life saver your blog has been for me and my sister! There really isn’t that many good recipes out there when it comes to GF baking. I really appreciate what you’ve done!

  12. […] In Flora’s Kitchen, the pie recipe calls for a pastry flour mix, you can use a pre-made mix, such as Jules Gluten Free or your own favorite brand.  Kanna Aoki, my artist pal extraordinaire, suggested this site (okay, look at her art work too–it is fun, energetic and if you are from the San Francisco Bay Area, you’ll recognize some images). […]

  13. Wendy says:

    I am really looking forward to making my pumpkin pie with this crust, especially since last year’s crust was such a dissapointment. What I really wanted to say after reading the other comments was how ironic it is that so many of us were so good at pie dough before becoming gluten free. I actually specialized in homemade bread before the switch.

    • Flora says:

      Wendy, I really think yeast breads and pastries are the most difficult to make gluten-free, especially if you were a good baker before going gluten-free because you have a high standard of what it “should” taste and look like. I hope you like the pie crust recipe and your family can once again enjoy a tasty pumpkin pie!

  14. Hannah Johnson says:

    Flora do you know how long it would take to blind bake this crust?

    • Flora says:

      Hannah, I haven’t tried to blind bake this recipe yet, but typically I would prick it with a fork all over, refrigerate or place it in the freezer until chilled and then bake it for about 15 minutes with weights (foil and some beans) and then remove the weights/foil and bake until lightly browned, about 10 more minutes.

  15. Aaress says:

    I’ve lost count of all the gluten free crusts I’ve tried over the last five years. At last I’ve found one that tastes simply delicious….and is actually flaky!

    Thank you SO much for posting this recipe!

  16. […] I didn’t modify her recipe any so you can visit her site to view the recipe. The gluten free Butter Pie Crust is adapted from In Flora’s Kitchen. This was my first time making a gluten free pie crust. […]

  17. Haben says:

    So after i’ve prebaked the unfilled weighted pie crust, and i’ve then put in the filling, do I go ahead and bake the pie again for the amount of of time that I would normally bake my pie? For example, when I make pies with regular all purpose flour, I sometimes do prick the crust and prebake it, as you noted in your instructions. Then I put in the filling and bake again, for anywhere between 30 and 45 minutes depending on which pie I’m making. Can this crust be baked for such a long time?

    And I want to say thank you for sharing your wonderful recipes. I’m trying to prepare healthier meals for my family by cutting out gluten and refined sugars. I make pie every week and instead of sugar I use some raw honey and if I can only make a delicious gf crust, I swear my kids can have sweet potatoe pie for breakfast every morning if they want because it would be healthy.

  18. Lindsay says:

    This is absolutely the best gluten free pie crust I have tried and tasted to date! Came out so delish!!!! Thank you for sharing!

    • Flora Dawn says:

      Lindsay, Thanks for letting me know that you enjoyed the recipe. It’s my favorite gluten-free pie crust too!

  19. Janet Bartee says:

    could you use almont flour in this recipe . I am to have no grains so am not able to eat the cake flour

    • Flora Dawn says:

      No, almond flour has a lot more fat in it, and I don’t think it would work. I am trying to find a good almond flour pie crust though, as my husband is now eating grain-free. I would look for Paleo pie crust recipes. Good Luck!

  20. Bonnie Heuvelman says:

    I can’t get to the link for the pastry flour blend. Help!

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