Follow Ed Kimber's go-to method for the best pie crust, then also check out how to make shortcrust pastry and rough puff pastry.

You might be intrigued by the appearance of vodka in the ingredients for this pie dough recipe. When water and flour are mixed it activates the gluten, and gluten makes for a tough dough. By contrast, vodka has very little water content, which stops this from happening.

The method will also seem a little unusual, but the two-stage addition of butter helps to balance a tender dough with a flaky result. By rolling up the dough, you add even more flakiness. It’s a method I have borrowed after watching the custard tart bakers of Lisbon at work.

This recipe only makes the pie dough, look out for Edd Kimber's pie recipes coming up...


  • 300g plain flour, plus extra for dusting
  • 2 tbsp caster sugar
  • 250g unsalted butter, diced into 1cm pieces and chilled
  • 2 tbsp vodka


  • STEP 1

    Put the flour, sugar and 1 tsp salt into a large bowl and mix to combine. Add 1/4 of the butter and toss to coat. Using your fingertips, rub in the butter until it resembles fine breadcrumbs. This portion of the butter helps to make the finished pastry tender, the next portion adds the flakiness.

  • STEP 2

    Add the remaining butter and toss in the flour mixture. Using your fingertips, press each piece of butter flat. Put the bowl into the freezer for 10 minutes to firm up. Remove the bowl from the freezer and pour over 6 tbsp of ice-cold water and the vodka, stirring with a spatula to form a shaggy dough. Tip out onto the worksurface and bring together with your hands. If the butter in the dough is feeling soft, chill for 10 minutes.

  • STEP 3

    On a lightly floured worksurface, roll the dough into a thin rectangle (roughly 15cm x 40cm) then roll it up into a fat sausage. Cut the dough into two pieces and form into flat discs, wrapping in clingfilm and chilling until needed. Use both pieces for a whole-quantity recipe and one for a ½. Freeze whatever you don’t use for another time.

The ideal pie tin is a classic shallow 9in/23cm sloped-sided metal tin. The thin metal conducts the heat well and helps the bottom of the pastry crisp up. We’ve used vintage ones in this feature (look for them in secondhand shops) or you can buy good new ones from


Three photos of Edd Kimber, his One Tin Bakes book and a brownie in a tin
Edd KimberBaking columnist

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