The Best All Butter Pastry Crust for Pies and Butter Tarts

 The Best All Butter Pastry Crust for Pies and Butter Tarts Recipe from The Lunchbox Season 

If you’re spending your day making Thanksgiving pies and All-Canadian Butter Tarts, you’re probably looking for an amazing pastry crust recipe. Since we have felt so good eating clean this fall, we thought, well, if we’re going to let white flour and sugar into our holiday regime, we don’t want any shortening in there mucking up the works. Go butter or go home! So, we came up with a recipe for The Best All Butter Pastry Crust for Pies and Butter Tarts. [You’ll find the printable recipe at the bottom of this post!]  Bea and I made three batches of this pastry dough yesterday! And, believe us, the two pumpkin pies, one apple pie, and twelve butter tarts that came out of this recipe were simply AMAZING….

As you can see by our visual DIY below, our process is simple: cube 1 cup butter and re-refrigerate; mix 2.5 cups flour, 2 tablespons sugar, and 1 teaspoon salt in a bowl or food processor; cut the cold butter into the flour to form a pea-sized meal with a pastry blender or in a food processor; remove the meal from a food processor if using; then, by the tablespoonful, add up to 1 cup of freezing-cold water, stirring with a spatula, until the dough forms a nice “shreddy ball;” with your hands, quickly form the dough into two equally sized rounds; wrap in cling; and refrigerate for at least one hour until ready to use.  [What? Didn’t memorize that? Don’t worry! There’s a printable recipe at the bottom of the page!]

 The Best All Butter Crust Visual DIY

That’s right! Easy as pie! Here’s our GOLDEN recipe:

The Best All Butter Pastry Crust for Pies and Butter Tarts

A delicious, simple all-butter pastry dough for your holiday pies and all-canadian butter tarts! This recipe yields pastry for 1 double crust pie or 2 single crust pies or 12 regular-muffin-tin-sized butter tarts.
Prep Time10 mins
Author: Roseanne Carrara, The Lunchbox Season


  • 1 cup cold unsalted butter
  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups ice water [you'll only use about half of it]


  • Cube the butter in 1/4 inch chunks and place it back in the refrigerator until ready to use.
  • In a large bowl or food processor blend the flour, sugar, and salt.
  • With a pastry cutter or food processor blend the butter into the flour mixture until you form pea-sized clumps or meal. [Remove the mixture from the food processor to a mixing bow]l.
  • Sprinkle about 1/3 cup of the water [without the ice] over the mixture and stir with a rubber spatula or scraper until the dough begins to gather together in larger clumps.
  • Continue sprinkling cold water by the tablespoonful and stirring with the spatula until the dough begins to form large clouds or stringly clumps. [You will need anywhere from 8-14 more tbs water. I typically use another 2/3 cup of ice water, such that the total water used is 1 cup.]
  • With your hands, gently knead the dough into a still-somewhat-stringy ball.
  • Divide the dough in half and wrap each ball in cling wrap, pressing down into a disk.
  • Refrigerate the dough for at least 30 minutes before rolling out.
  • Bake dough according to the directions in your recipe. [See the Notes below for suggestions.]


I find that the best way to roll pastry dough is between sheets of lightly floured wax paper.
Cold dough makes for flaky pastry, so re-refrigerate the dough after you have rolled it out and fitted it into the pie plate or muffin tins as you prep your fillings.
This all butter pastry tends to shrink a bit more than crusts with shortening. Especially with a single crust pie, roll your circle wide, and make sure there is a liberal overhang, or, lots to tuck around the outside edge of your crust.
For double crust pies, this pastry dough looks amazine when brushed over-top with egg yolk before baking.
Using a glass/pyrex dish enables you to check if the base of the pie is golden enough for your taste.
Typically, I blind bake a single crust dough at 400 or 425 before lowering the heat to 350 or 375 for the filled crust.
Typically, I bake a double crust apple pie at 400 or 425 for 20-30 minutes before lowering the heat to 350 or 375 for an additional 30-50 minutes.
For butter tarts, which I cook in regular sized muffin tins, I often bake at 400 for 10-15 minutes, remove the pan from the oven, let the oven cool to 350 [this takes at least 20 minutes, but you can wait an hour or more in between bakes], and then bake for anywhere from 10-30 minutes to allow for the crusts to go all golden on the bottoms and sides. Since moving the tarts around in the pan before they cool tends to cause spill-over of the ooey goey filling, it is best to use just one of your tarts as your "test" subject to check for doneness of the bottom and sides. If absolutely necessary, you can add a bit more of the sugar filling [if you have any] between the short hot bake and the longer slow bake. So far, I have found that the second low slow bake does not make my tarts burn on top or thicken too much inside.

XOXO, The Lunchbox Season

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