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Food Processor Pie Crust

Afraid of pie crust? Not with this food processor pie crust recipe! I had grand plans for this week’s Tasty Tuesday. I was going to make one of my favorite late summer dishes that I hadn’t made in forever that most people haven’t had before. Have you ever enjoyed Tomato Pie?

I didn’t think so.

Unfortunately, I’ve been down with a migraine since Sunday, so I haven’t been able to make all of this. I made the pie crust last night, but today the thought of food is just not appealing. So next week will be the conclusion of Tomato Pie. This week, I bring you the incredibly easy Food Processor Pie Crust – with my secret ingredient to a flaky crust.

How to Make Food Processor Pie Crust


This makes two pie crusts. For prep, you need to chill your butter, shortening, vodka, and water. I measure my water into a measuring cup, remove just a little, and add ice cubes to keep it cold. You also need to cut off two longish sheets of plastic wrap to wrap the dough in at the end

Place the flour, sugar, and salt into the bowl of your food processor. Make sure your butter and your shortening are well chilled. If your fats aren’t cold, they won’t have pockets in the dough, and it won’t be as flaky. Trust me on this one. Cut your butter and shortening into pieces, and toss them into the bowl, too.

Image shows pie crust ingredients.

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Pulse five or six times, until the mixture has pea-sized clumps, some smaller some larger. It’s important not to overmix this, as you want the dough to have those clumps of fat I mentioned earlier that will make steam pockets when it’s baked and create nice, flaky layers.

Now is when you want to add the liquid. The vodka goes in first, and ideally, you have this chilled, too. Why vodka? Well, mixing water and flour makes gluten which makes for a tough pie crust. Using alcohol – and a fairly flavorless one with vodka – reduces the water and creates less gluten and ergo a more tender crust. Ta-da!

While you are pulsing, add the vodka. Next will go the water. I’ll be honest I measure my water, less a little from what I need, and put ice cubes in the measuring cup with it to keep the water extra cold. Depending on the humidity, you may or may not need all your water, so watch carefully as you are adding water. As soon as you see the dough come together, stop.  Don’t add any more water, and don’t mix it anymore.

You can test if there is enough liquid by picking up a small handful of dough and squeezing it. If it stays together, you’re good to go. If it falls apart, you need more water. You want to err on the side of slightly more than slightly less water, as you can’t add water when rolling it out, but you can add flour. This was my biggest mistake when I first started making pie crusts – I was too afraid I would add too much water and so never put in enough.

Image shows pie crust pulsed to pea-size bits with liquid ingredients.

At this point, carefully remove the dough from the food processor, and place half onto one sheet of plastic wrap and the other half on the other sheet. Using the plastic wrap to cover it, carefully press the dough into two disks. Make sure they’re sealed in the plastic wrap, and place them in the fridge for 8 to 24 hours. Once they have fully rested, you can roll them out for pie. If I am making a double-crust pie, I will make one of my disks slightly larger than the other. If not, I keep them the same size.

Can you see the fat pieces in the dough?  That’s good pie dough right there!

Image shows pie dough covered with plastic wrap.
Prick the pie crust with a fork before baking

Food Processor Pie Crust

Skip the rolling pin! This Food Processor Pie Crust is your shortcut to flaky perfection. Pulse together flour and butter for a crumbly dough, then add a splash of water to bring it all together. No muss, no fuss, just a buttery, flaky crust ready to be filled with your favorite pie filling.
5 from 1 vote
Print Pin Rate
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Diet: Vegetarian
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Resting Time: 1 day
Total Time: 1 day 40 minutes
Servings: 8 servings
Calories: 337kcal
Author: Michelle

Ingredients

  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 tablespoon sugar optional
  • pinch salt
  • 3/4 cup unsalted butter chilled
  • 1/4 cup shortening chilled
  • 2 tablespoons cold water
  • 2 tablespoons vodka

Instructions

  • Chill butter, shortening, vodka, and water. Measure water into a measuring cup, remove just a little and add ice cubes to keep it cold. Cut off two longish sheets of plastic wrap to wrap the dough in at the end.
  • Place the flour, sugar, and salt into the bowl of food processor. Make sure butter and shortening are well chilled. If fats aren’t cold, they won’t have pockets in the dough, and it won’t be as flaky. Cut butter and shortening into pieces, and toss them into the bowl, too.
    2 cups flour, 1 tablespoon sugar, pinch salt, 3/4 cup unsalted butter, 1/4 cup shortening
  • Pulse five or six times, until the mixture has pea sized clumps, some smaller some larger. It’s important not to overmix this, as you want the dough to have those clumps of fat that will make steam pockets when it’s baked and create nice, flaky layers.
  • Add the liquid.  The vodka goes in first, and make sure it's chilled. Next will go the water. Depending on the humidity, you may or may not need all your water, so watch carefully as you are adding water. As soon as you see the dough come together, stop.  Don’t add any more water, and don’t mix it anymore.
    2 tablespoons vodka, 2 tablespoons cold water
  • Test if there is enough liquid by picking up a small handful of dough and squeeze it. If it stays together, you’re good to go.  If it falls apart, you need more water.
  • Carefully remove the dough from the food processor, and place half onto one sheet of plastic wrap and the other half on the other sheet. Using the plastic wrap to cover it, carefully press the dough into two disks.
  • Make sure they’re sealed in the plastic wrap, and place them in the fridge for 8 to 24 hours. Once they have fully rested, you can roll them out for pie.

Notes

  • In adding the sugar, if I am making a sweet pie, I’ll add the full 1 tablespoon; if a savory pie, I’ll add just a little.
  • Using alcohol – and a fairly flavorless one with vodka – reduces the water and creates less gluten and a more tender crust.
  • For more tips and tricks, be sure to read the full article above.
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Nutrition

Serving: 1serving | Calories: 337kcal | Carbohydrates: 25g | Protein: 3g | Fat: 24g | Saturated Fat: 13g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 3g | Monounsaturated Fat: 7g | Trans Fat: 2g | Cholesterol: 46mg | Sodium: 3mg | Potassium: 39mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 532IU | Calcium: 10mg | Iron: 1mg

This site uses an online source to provide nutrition estimates as a courtesy. If you need exact values, please calculate yourself.

Have you ever made a food processor pie crust? What’s your favorite method?

Image shows close-up picture of pie dough covered with plastic wrap.

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  1. Amy says:

    I tried to make this pie yesterday and the dough come out so wet that I only added 3 tablespoons of water and even sprinkled some extra flour in.

    • Michelle says:

      Hmm, I’ve never had that issue, but a couple thoughts. First, it’s summer and humid, so that always affects how much flour and liquid you need in all your recipes. When it’s really humid, I’ll up the flour a bit to account for that – or decrease my liquid. If it was really wet before you added much water, it sounds like your butter may have melted potentially, which will make your dough seem wetter. It has to be really cold and solid and only pulsed together just until it gets to pea size chunks. Here’s hoping the dough turned out ok for you even though it was wet. Let me know if either of those suggestions helps. Pastry dough can be tricky!

  2. Kelly says:

    Thanks for the recipe, the vodka sounds interesting. I will have to try this soon.

  3. […] also means it’s quicker to make than a lot of other pies.  I made the crust using my favorite pie crust recipe, but you could definitely do this with a store bought crust, as […]

  4. Michelle says:

    Sandra – A crust makes a big difference. I was told by a friend that this method actually came from a Cooks Illustrated test. I didn't know that when I posted it. A (male!) friend of mine taught it to me a few years ago, so go fig!

    Anon – I should have known tomato pie was a southern thing. All the good stuff is, right?

  5. Anonymous says:

    Georgia girl here. Yes, LOVE tomato pie. Delicious!

  6. Sandra says:

    A good, flaky pie crust really makes the pie! I can't wait to see your tomato pie, since no, I've never heard of it before. I hope you feel better soon!

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