Butter Vodka Pie Crust
Mess Level: Moderate
Yield: 1 9 inch Pie Crust
Prep Time: 45 min
Cook Time: 45 min
- 1 Cup All Purpose Flour
- ½ teaspoon Kosher Salt
- 1 ½ teaspoons Sugar
- 1 Stick Butter
- 3-4 Tablespoons Ice Cold Vodka
- 3-4 Tablespoons Ice Water
- 2 Tablespoons Sour Cream (optional)
- Additional All Purpose Flour for Dusting
- Cut the butter into cubes, then pop the butter in the freezer to keep it cold.
- In a food processor or mixing bowl, combine the flour, salt, and sugar. Whisk or pulse to mix it.
- Add the butter cubes all at once and pulse or use a pastry cutter until just combined. Big chunks of butter are good, go for chunks between the size of a pea and a blueberry.
- Scrape into a mixing bowl and add the sour cream if using. begin to add the vodka and water alternating one tablespoon at a time. Mix gently with your hands as you go until it resembles dough.
- Be very careful not to overmix. When the dough seems like it’s close, you should be able to squeeze it rather than knead it into a ball.
- Pat the dough into a disc, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes or up to three days.
- Lightly flour your work surface and rolling pin. Begin rolling out the pie crust, rotating it after every short, roll to keep it from sticking to the counter. I like to use a bench scraper or metal spatula to rotate and scoot it loose. If the butter begins to get melty immediately transfer the dough back to the fridge till it’s cold and firm again.
- Add flour as needed to keep it from sticking. This is a very buttery pie crust and you will likely need patience and a good bit of flour to get it rolled out.
- When it’s rolled about ⅛ inch thick, use your floured rolling pin and loosely roll the pie crust around the rolling pin.
- Transfer the pie crust to the pie tin and unroll it. Trim the edges leaving a half inch overhang. Refrigerate the crust again for 10 minutes until it’s chilled enough to work with. Then crimp the edges. Parbake if needed, then fill and bake until golden brown, enjoy!
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Do I have to use vodka and why does it need to be cold?
- It will still be a fun party without it...
You are free to use just ice water, omitting vodka will not make a huge difference. However, if you use warm liquid it will melt the fat and then the flour will absorb it before baking and you will not have a flaky pie crust.
Can you really bake a pie in cast iron?
- You can do anything with cast iron!
You betcha but be careful, the darker the pan the darker the crust will get and more quickly too. Consider using glass, ceramic or tin as needed.
Can I roll it out between parchment?
- Only if you have enough...
Sure thing! I would still use a bit of flour, and consider that the parchment might not be big enough to accommodate the entire crust.
Why is there sour cream in this recipe?
- Sour cream... So sweet, so tender...
Sour cream plays the role of tenderizer in baked goods and gives the pie crust a little extra love. But feel free to leave it out if you don’t have it on hand, you just might need to add a little extra water if it’s too dry.
Doesn’t the butter need to be the size of peas?
- Who likes peas anyways?
Actually no, large chunks of butter will create air pockets as they bake which is what give you those flaky layers in the crust. Don’t go huge, you still want the butter incorporated but don’t worry about making all the pieces tiny either.
Ramblings of a Line Cook
Why use Vodka you may ask. Because Vodka prohibits gluten development in your pie dough which results in a flakier, more tender pie crust! And because I had some vodka on hand and remembered to put it in the freezer yesterday. Go figure, I remembered to freeze the vodka but can’t ever remember to take the chicken breast out to thaw.
The perfect pie crust often seems like the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. There are all these myths surrounding it, you don’t know what’s true and what’s not and overall the consensus is that the perfect pie crust is always just out of reach but maybe if you change one more thing you’ll get there.
That is nonsense! The perfect pie crust exists in many forms and one is not necessarily better than the others. As I’m writing this, I’ve just come from my shift at New Orleans School of Cooking where they swear by lard and use it by the pound. Lard makes a very flaky pie crust but it has relatively little flavor so it’s not my first choice.
Butter all the way baby… But long story short, butter is great, lard is great, vodka is great, and pie crusts are great because you can make them with or without any of these ingredients and be proud that you made a pie from scratch. And as we all know, “comparison is the thief of joy” and anything that keeps you from enjoying a slice of pie is not worth your time. So grab a bowl and some flour, and crank out that crust!