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Hot Water Pie Crust

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3/4 cup solid vegetable shortening
1/4 cup softened butter
1/4 cup very hot water
2 tablespoons milk
2-1/3 cups all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt

Hot Water Pie Crust

Yes this fabulous flaky and tender pie crust recipe is made with hot water. It's so simple and perfect.

  • Easy

About This Recipe

Before we get to this recipe for Hot Water Pie Crust, a little history lesson  and some food science.

I have been making hot water pie crust for decades. The process is actually quite simple: combine flour and salt, with a little bit of sugar if you are making a dessert pie. Cut in butter or shortening with a pastry blender or two knives. Then add ice cold water until a dough forms, roll it out, and put it in a pie pan.

But did you know you can break all of those rules and make a really tender and flaky crust?

My family found a variation of this recipe in an old Good Housekeeping cookbook. And I have stuck by it ever since, after making some pretty significant changes in amounts and the types of ingredients used.

This is a hot water pie crust. That means that all of the rules are broken. First, you whip together shortening and hot water and milk to make a fluffy mixture that looks like whipped cream. Then you add the flour all at once and stir until a dough forms.

Because this pastry is made backwards, beginning cooks don’t have to worry about overworking the dough, or keeping it cold, or cutting in the shortening too much or too little.

It’s simply foolproof.

So if you are afraid of pie crust, try this recipe. If you can measure ingredients and manipulate a fork, you’re golden!

I use this full recipe to make Beef Cheese Slab Pie, Italian Meatball Spinach Pie, Ham and Cheddar Slab Pie, and Bacon and Cabbage Tartlets. Half of it is used for Fabulous Cheese Quiche, Fudgy Peanut Butter Mousse Pie, and Truffle Tart. I used to make half of the recipe for one-crust recipes, but then realized that I could freeze the other half so I wouldn’t have to start from scratch when I wanted a single crust pie. So always make this full recipe and freeze the other ball. You’ll be much more willing to make pies if you have a crust ready in the freezer. Just let it thaw at room temperature for a couple of hours before you are ready to bake, then roll it out and continue with the recipe.

Tips for best Hot Water Pie Crust:

  • It may seem like the shortening and liquid mixture will never come together. But you just have to keep going. Eventually it will combine into a fluffy mass that looks like whipped cream. Do not skimp on this step as it is necessary for a good pie crust.
  • When you add the flour mixture, add it all at once and stir and stir. Don’t stop stirring until a dough forms.
  • Roll out the dough between two sheets of waxed paper to a 12″ circle. That way you don’t add extra flour to the dough so it won’t be tough.
  • EASE the dough into the pan. Do not pull or stretch it or it will shrink. Press the down down into the pan gently, from the sides.
  • There will be overhang. Do not trim this off. Fold the overhang into the pie pan, pressing it into the sides. Make sure you leave enough dough above the edge of the pan so you can make a fluted edge.
  • Then flute the edges, pressing the dough between your fingers. You can also press the dough into the top of the pan using a fork.
  • If you are filling a tart pan with removable bottom, as in the picture, do the doubling the sides trick, then run a rolling pan across the edges of the pan to make the pretty fluted edges.
  • To bake the crust for a no bake filling, top the crust with parchment paper and add pie weights or uncooked dried beans in and even layer, mounding them a bit higher at the edges so the crust doesn’t slip down the sides. (You can never use the dried beans for any other purpose again.) Bake the Hot Water Pie Crust at 400°F for 10 minutes, then carefully remove the parchment paper. Bake for another 4 to 6 minutes or until the crust is lightly browned.

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Add the shortening and butter to a very large bowl. Add the hot water and milk.


Now, using a fork, whip the mixture together. This will take about 5-7 minutes. Work the fat and water together until it forms a smooth and fluffy mixture that looks like whipped cream. This will seem, at first, like it will never work, but keep at it. If you just don't feel you can do this, you can whip the mixture together in a food processor. When the mixture is smooth and fluffy, transfer it to a bowl and add the flour and salt.


When the mixture is smooth and fluffy, add the flour and salt. Again, using the fork, work the mixtures together until a dough forms.


Gather up the dough and form into two balls. Put the balls into plastic bags and chill for 3 to 6 hours.


Now place one of the balls between two sheets of waxed or parchment paper and flatten it.


Now get your rolling pin and flatten the dough, starting from the center. Gradually work the dough until it is about 1/4" thick. It should be a 12" circle.


Carefully peel away the top layer of waxed or parchment paper. Do this by holding one side of the paper and peel lit away, holding the paper close to the pastry.


Holding the paper, flip the dough into a pie or tart tin. Carefully peel the paper away, again holding the paper close to the pastry. If it rips or tears, don't worry; you can patch it together.


Ease the pastry into the pan. That means don't stretch it, or it will spring back and shrink in the oven.


If you're making a one crust pie, then fold the edges into the sides on top of the pastry that's already there to form a rim about 1/2" high. Press the dough on the sides together. Flute the edges by holding your thumbs and pointer fingers together on both hands, pinching the dough as you move around the pan. Keep the other half of the dough in the fridge or freeze it until you're ready to make another pie.


If you're making a two crust pie, don't flute the edge. Roll out the other ball of dough just like you did the first, using fresh pieces of waxed or parchment paper. Fill the pie, then pull off the top piece of paper. Put the top crust on the filling, peel off the paper, then fold the edges of the dough together. Flute the dough.


That's it! Follow the recipe for baking instructions. And pat yourself on the back. You've made pie crust!


Linda is a bestselling cookbook author and home economist who has written 54 books (53 cookbooks and Medical Ethics for Dummies) since 2005. She has worked for Pillsbury since 1988, on the Bake-Off and other projects. Linda has been a web presence since 2002, developing recipes and teaching people how to cook.

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