Foolproof Vodka Pie Crust- (Adapted from America’s Test Kitchen/Cook’s Illustrated)

This is my adaptation of Cooks Illustrated/America’s Test Kitchen’s “foolproof pie dough” crust originally published in Cook’s Illustrated’s November 2007 issue.  While I have their print compilation of all the 2007 recipes, J. Kenji Lopez-Alt posted it as well on Serious Eats.  My version of this vodka pie crust is slightly different in that I prefer to use lard instead of vegetable shortening.  It imparts a better texture, flavor, and has no trans fats.  In the video, I happen to be out of both and I use some schmaltz (chicken fat) instead. This is one of the recipes we tested as part of our YouTube video series investigating 3 different ways of making pie crust.

Our comparison videos

Here is part one of the two-part series.  I go through each recipe up to the point of rolling out and baking the vodka pie dough and two others:

In part two, I roll out each recipe and give commentary on how easy each recipe is to work with.  Finally, I bake and taste each crust and share my feedback.

Here’s the recipe in print.

Tasting and lessons learned

This vodka pie crust is super easy to work with and tastes great!  The vodka in the recipe completely bakes off and there is no taste of it remaining at all after cooking.  The vodka adds the benefit of making the crust simple to roll out.  I’ve used this recipe many times in my pies since 2007 and it’s usually my go-to recipe.  When I first used it, I worried that it would be hard to work with because it is somewhat tacky as you roll it out, but if you use just a bit of flour on your work surface and rolling pin, it’ll flatten out like a dream.  Rolls out easier than the Bon Appetit & Milk Street Recipes

When I subbed schmaltz over my normal lard, it did occasionally drip oil in the oven off of the top crust.  You should be doing it regardless, but make sure you have a pan to catch any drips that might come off.  I did not run into that issue when I used my normal lard or shortening.

This is a fantastic recipe and remains my favorite to this day.  Highly recommended!

Patrick Jaszewski

Culinary Tyrannosaurus, passport stamp collector, home cook, pilot, strength enthusiast, bilingual, coffee roaster, recovering homebrewer. Committed to DIY ethic. Minnesota native transplanted in Pennsylvania. Thunderbird MBA Alumni and Golden Gopher. Undyingly positive and open minded. Drives Jill crazy by questioning everything.

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