I made two chicken pot pies last night, and the crust turned out like a giant cracker. Not soft and flaky at all like the store bought ones.

I think I have identified two probable reasons:

1) I skipped the egg was at the end. So the top layer was just really dry.

2) I probably overworked the dough. I used the pizza dough setting on my breadmaker which takes 90 minutes.

I used butter that was almost frozen. And I chilled my water in the freezer for 10 minutes before mixing. I think I did those parts right.

Next time I will try just working the dough by hand and handling it as little as possible. And I definitely won't skip the egg wash.

My question is: Next time I do this, how can I know if I've done it right without just simply cooking the pie directly. This was a TONNE of work. It would be nice if I could focus on mastering the crust before I make another pie. Can you just cook a crust by itself in the oven to see what happens?

Edit: After reading some related topics, there seems to be a technique called "blind baking" which may be what I'm looking for.

Should I just omit the filling and keep baking crusts until they start turning out the way i want?

  • 2
    I think you're first instinct is correct; it was quite overworked.
    – Giorgio
    Mar 8, 2017 at 21:20
  • 2
    And for a pot pie, you shouldn't need to blind bake before filling.
    – Giorgio
    Mar 8, 2017 at 21:21
  • 2
    You can just bake scraps or cutouts of crust by themselves, I've seen these frosted into cookies ("pie crust cookies" should get you suggestions) or otherwise used as small snacks, savories, or a base for toppings. you can work out your pie crust recipe by itself before risking a whole dish in it. On the other hand, if you fail... you can probably make nice actual crackers out of the dough, which work fine as long as you're not expecting them to be something else.
    – Megha
    Mar 9, 2017 at 0:22
  • 2
    I am very surprised to read your description. "I used butter that was almost frozen. And I chilled my water in the freezer for 10 minutes before mixing" sounds like you were making a pie crust dough. "I used the pizza dough setting on my breadmaker" sounds like you were making a bread dough. Can you please post your recipe?
    – rumtscho
    Mar 9, 2017 at 9:31
  • 2
    do not use your bread machine for pie dough. In fact never ever use a bread machine not even for bread.
    – Alaska Man
    Mar 9, 2017 at 10:47

1 Answer 1


You started out great with cold cold butter and water and then you beat the livin crap out of em for 30 min.

You are making a pie crust. The thing that makes pie crust flaky is that the small little pieces of butter, shortening, lard remain intact and then are gently flattened when you roll out the dough.

( good quality lard is best but a combination of butter and shortening will do ).

The butter, shortening, lard are not mixed into the flour, they are coated with flour and when you GENTLY roll your dough out you squish them so that you have little layers of lard and flour. When you bake them the lard steams between the layers of flour creating a flaky crust.

Butter has low melting point so it should be nearly frozen, If you insist on butter cut it into very small pieces and the put it in the freezer. it is best to chill shortening and lard as well.

Cut your butter into your flour/salt mix with a pastry blender cut it together until the lard is in small little pieces about half the size of small peas. Add ICE water ( water with ice cubes in it but you just spoon out the amount you need ) in small increments until it a shaggy dough. (You want it so you can grab a little in your hand a squeeze and it will just hold together.)

You do not need a mixer but if you use one use it just enough to bring the dough together to the shaggy state.

Divide the dough into portions appropriate for your pie plate. gently form it into a ball, gently press it flat. Wrap it in plastic and chill it in the fridge before rolling it out. Roll it gently , do not over work it.

Use the egg wash, cut it with a little water or milk. If you find it is browning to much brush it on part way through the baking time. Do not brush the edges.

Once you do it a few times it will not be a "tonne of work" and you can make enough to keep some in the fridge for a while or freeze some.

  • This is definitely the answer! I did it like this last night and it turned out absolutely BEAUTIFUL.
    – roo
    Mar 9, 2017 at 19:26
  • one follow up question: assuming a make the pie perfectly, will the structure be harmed if it sits at room temperature for a long time before being cooked in the oven? like say I want to bring one to my friends house as a gift, uncooked, and its an hour long drive or something. Is it safe as long as I dont move it around?
    – roo
    Mar 10, 2017 at 1:17
  • 1
    sitting a little bit should be ok as long as room temp is not to high. In a hot car you may melt the fat and that could change its behavior but i have never done it so it is only a guess. send me a chicken pot pie.
    – Alaska Man
    Mar 10, 2017 at 5:00

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