Pâte Brisée Recipe for the Holidays

Scroll down for a step by step tutorial with images to make the best pie dough!

Ella Henry

Scroll down for a step by step tutorial with images to make the best pie dough!

Ella Henry, Food & Culture Editor

There are many different kinds of pie crusts, yet Americans tend to stick with one during the Thanksgiving season: pâte brisée, which translates to “broken dough.” This dough is high in fat content and can be used for both sweet and salty pies. Pie dough can be tricky, but don’t panic! As Tara Jensen, the author of A Bakers Year, once stated, “if a pie isn’t blackened in particular spots or its filling isn’t oozing out, it isn’t cooked correctly.”



2.5 cup AP flour 

1 tsp of kosher salt 

½ cup Crisco or vegetable shortening 

½ cup cold cubed butter 

6 tbsp ice water 



Stir the flour and salt together in a large bowl. Add in the Crisco or vegetable shortening and cut it into the flour with a butter knife. This process should take around 3-5 minutes. Once the Crisco is broken up into the dough so that it looks like they’re the size of small peas, add in the butter and continue to cut into the dough. Make sure you do not use your hands! This will make the dough warmer and lengthen the gluten strands, ultimately creating a tough dough. Though using a butter knife can be tedious and time-consuming, it creates the perfect flaky pie crust. The butter should be the size of slightly bigger peas, and the dough should look crumbly. It will not form a ball or hold its shape. Add in the cold water one tablespoon at a time and cut it into the dough just until it is soaked in. You can skip or add a tablespoon of water depending on how well the dough holds. When you get to the last two tablespoons of water, you may begin to carefully mix the dough with your hands until it just barely comes together. It’s crucial not to overmix! Split the dough in half (one part for the bottom crust and one for the top crust). Form both halves into disks and wrap them in plastic wrap. Either place them in the fridge or in a cold area for at least 45 minutes. Not only will this allow the dough to firm up so that it’s easier to roll out, but it will also allow the gluten to rest. Once rested, either roll out the dough on a floured surface or between two sheets of parchment paper. Assemble and bake your pie! 


Step 1: Flour and salt














Step 2: Cut in Crisco 














Step 3: Cut in butter 














Step 4: Add water














Step 5: Form into 2 disks