As far as we’re concerned, every season is pie season. However, the impending holidays are when this favorite dessert truly shines. Take command of the single crust with our tried-and-true steps for success—especially ones you may not have heard before, like testing the dough for proper temperature before rolling it, and thoroughly chilling and freezing the shell. Our easy crimping technique creates an edge sturdy enough to withstand baking and filling, and decorative enough to impress. Additionally, any lingering fears of blind baking (making a golden brown, crisp, and flaky base for cream and custard pies and tarts) will be squelched accordingly.
Lay the disk of chilled dough on a clean, dry, lightly floured work surface. Sprinkle disk lightly with flour if it is tacky. Starting in the center, roll once away from you. If the dough splits at the edge, it’s too cold; cover it with plastic wrap and rest for 10 minutes at room temperature.
Rotate the dough one-quarter turn and repeat rolling. Continue to rotate and roll until the dough is the right size and thickness. Dust round with flour as necessary to prevent sticking, and flip the dough over halfway through. Adjust as necessary to make an even circle.
Transferring by hand can stretch and tear dough. Instead, place your pin at one end of the dough and loosely roll the dough around it. Then drape the hanging edge of the dough over one end of the pie plate and gently unroll it into place.
Stretched dough will shrink in the oven. Fit the dough by using one hand to support the overhang and the other to gently press the dough into the plate. Work your way around the pie.
Torn dough? Don’t panic. To patch it, trim a little excess dough from the overhang, moisten this scrap with a bit of water, and press it into the fissure.
Use scissors to trim the overhanging dough to a uniform ½ inch.
Tuck the dough under to form a thick, even, stable edge on the lip of the pie plate.
For a fluted edge, pinch the dough into ridges around the rim between the index finger of one hand and the thumb and index finger of the other hand. Work your way around the perimeter of the pie, using gentle downward pressure to help the crust adhere to the lip of the pie plate.
Refrigerate the shell for 40 minutes so the gluten in the flour can relax, thus minimizing shrinkage when baked. Freeze the dough for an additional 20 minutes to solidify the fat in the dough, giving the dough more time to set in the oven.
If your recipe instructs you to pre-bake the crust before adding the filling, line the chilled pie crust with a double layer of aluminum foil, covering the edges to prevent burning.
Fill the crust with pie weights or pennies and bake in a 375-degree oven for 25 to 30 minutes. After baking, carefully remove the weights and let the crust cool (for a partially baked crust) or continue to bake for 10 to 12 minutes (for a fully baked crust).