All-Butter Pie Shell


Joanne Chang uses two techniques to ensure a flaky and tender texture in this dough: starting in a stand mixer and finishing by hand. This two-step method allows the flour to hydrate in the mixer and then form buttery layers by hand. Use this pie shell for Chang's festive Pecan-Pumpkin Cream Pie.

Active Time:
20 mins
Total Time:
3 hrs 25 mins
Makes 1 (9-inch) pie shell


  • 1 cup all-purpose flour (about 4 1/4 ounces), plus more for work surface

  • 2 teaspoons granulated sugar

  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

  • 1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon cold unsalted butter (4 1/2 ounces), cut into 1/2-inch pieces

  • 1/4 cup cold milk

  • 1 large egg yolk


  1. Stir together flour, sugar, and salt in bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Add butter; beat on low speed until flour holds together when pinched and there are pecan-size lumps of butter throughout, about 45 seconds. Whisk together milk and egg yolk in a small bowl; add to flour mixture. Beat on low speed just until mixture barely comes together, about 30 seconds. (Dough will be very shaggy.)

  2. Dump dough onto a clean work surface, and gather it into a tight mound. Using palm of hand, smear dough on work surface, piece by piece, until most butter chunks are smeared into dough and dough comes together. Gather dough into a tight mound. Wrap with plastic wrap; press down to shape into a 1-inch-thick disk. Refrigerate dough disk at least 1 hour or up to 4 days.

  3. Unwrap dough; roll out into a 12-inch circle on a well-floured work surface. Place dough inside a 9-inch pie plate, and trim edges to leave a 1/2-inch overhang. Crimp edges. Refrigerate pie shell, uncovered, at least 30 minutes or up to 4 hours.

  4. Preheat oven to 350°F. Line pie shell with parchment paper, and fill with pie weights or dried beans. Bake in preheated oven until pie shell sides are light brown, 35 to 40 minutes. Transfer pie shell to a wire rack; let cool completely with pie weights still in shell, about 1 hour. Once cool, remove weights and parchment. Pie shell can be stored, uncovered, at room temperature up to 4 hours.

Make Ahead

Pie dough may be prepared through Step 2, wrapped in an additional layer of plastic, and frozen up to 1 month. Defrost in refrigerator before using.

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