For those of you who make homemade pie crusts, what recipe are you using this Thanksgiving? What kind of flour is best?
The pie crust I make is from my grandmother. It is a form of German pastry. Because I grew up on this, I really don't like pie crusts that others make--they are thicker and less short. Here is the recipe:
1 cup flour (I use KA's AP flour)
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup shortening
1/4 cup cold milk
Mix dry ingredients and cut in shortening. Add liquid. Roll out fairly thin. Makes enough pastry for 8" single-crust pie. Doubled, the recipe makes enough for a 9" deep dish with upper crust.
You will get a lot of different answers to your questions!
I use all purpose flour.
1 1/2 cups flour
1 stick of butter
1/4 tsp salt unless you are using unsalted butter then use 1/2 tsp.
1 shot of vodka (3 tablespoons) and enough ice water to make it hang together.
Have the butter frozen and cut the length of the stick into 4 sections, then cut crosswise into little bits.
Put flour and salt into Food processor, add the butter bits and pulse until the butter is well mixed. Dump into a bowl and sprinkle the vodka on and then the ice water over the top tossing with a fork until it comes together. Form into a ball, flatten slightly wrap in plastic and chill for at least 30 minutes.
Roll out to fit your pie dish. Makes one crust. Double the recipe for a 2 crust pie.
I sometimes use crisco if I am short of butter....or half butter and half crisco....but my favorite is lard. However I have no other use for lard and don't make more than 5 or 6 pies in a year.
Since publication, I use the Cook's Illustrated Vodka pie crust and have been very pleased with the results. I do cut the butter back by one third, however, as I still find it plenty rich.
Also, I use unbleached white flour, preferably organic.
Bumblebeez - Do you make any other adjustments when you reduce the butter? I have just started using the Cook's vodka recipe and love it but I too thought it was a little rich.
Hmmm, off hand, I don't think I do, cocaty.
For me, pie crusts are still all about the feel and it is hard to state an exact recipe as the moisture content of flour varies. But the critical element is using vodka to replace some of the water so the dough remains pliable and will bake up flaky even if it gets soft while handling.
Still, pie crust dough techniques are ingrained in me quite thoroughly so if my dough gets too soft, I pop it in the freezer for awhile. I don't feel comfortable throwing out that technique because there's a little vodka in the dough- although, that is the technical reason it's there.
But I'm not as cautious as I would be if there weren't any vodka.
The reason for adding vodka to pie crust is so that the alcohol will evaporate in a flash and make the flakes in the crust more pronounced....also it adds a bit of an acid to the mix which aids in keeping the crust tender.
Pie crust should have a certain ratio of fat to flour....mess with that and you will begin to get a cakey crust...or one more like a cookie.
I never measure the water.....after adding the vodka I only add enough water to make a workable dough....if by chance your dough gets toos oft to work well, refrigerate of course....but I refrigerate any dough before rolling out.
I'd suggest you avoid King Arthur All-Purpose Flour because it has too much gluten (nearly as much as bread flour and much more than National Brands of all-purpose flour). I've seen way too many poor-quality crusts when judging foods at Fairs these days, mostly because people are using King Arthur All-Purpose Flour.
Every step of making pastry is about avoiding gluten-development, so use a low-gluten flour to begin with, otherwise you chance getting a tough pastry - especially if you add too much liquid or over-mix the dough. You can off-set some of the gluten in the King Arthur Flour by adding a little more fat to the recipe. Where fat coats the flour, the liquid can't penetrate to develop the gluten - hence the term "short crust". The fat mixed in the flour shortens the gluten strands developed.
Choose a bleached national brand all-purpose flour (Pillsbury or Gold Medal), or better yet, a southern all-purpose (White Lily, Martha White, Gladiola, or Red Band) which are better for making pastry, cake, quick breads and biscuits - where you don't want a lot of gluten-development.
I like the Cook's Illustrated recipe (using vodka) or Martha Stewart's recipe made in a food processor (link below).
Here is a link that might be useful: Martha Stewart Recipe
I use the old Joy of Cooking recipe, and they come out wonderful.
I'm going to have to try the vodka trick.
For a double crust pie:
2 cups flour (I use unbleached white)
1 tsp salt
2/3 c Crisco - I use the sticks; costs more and there's more packaging, but oh so easy
5 tsp water, more or less
Combine flour and salt in a bowl. Cut in half the shortening with a pastry blender. Then the other half. Then sprinkle on the water; you may need more or less, depending on the weather, I guess. Gather into a tidy ball and stop handling it. Wrap ball in wax paper and refrigerate at least an hour. You can keep it a long time in the refrigerator or freezer.
I am pie crust challenged. I use the Cook's Illustrated vodka recipe with half butter/half lard and it turns out very well.
I make SharonCB's pastry, it's wonderful to handle and doesn't need to be chilled before rolling, although Sharon said she chilled it an hour or so and it was even easier to handle.
I use half butter and half lard when I can get lard, or all butter if I can't. I do mix the dry ingredients with the fat in the food processor, but I add the liquid and mix it in by hand, I always over process with the food processor and it gets too warm and has to be chilled, which takes even more time than I would have spent mixing it by hand!
NATHAN'S NEVER FAIL PASTRY
These quantities make enough pastry for 3 double-crust pies or 3 1/2 dozen tart shells - muffin size.
5 cups flour
1 teasp salt
2 teasp baking powder
1 lb (454 grams) Tenderflake lard
2 teasp white vinegar
1 egg - slightly beaten. Add water to vinegar and egg to make 1 cup
1) Mix together flour, salt and baking powder. Cut in lard until crumbly (using two knives.)
2) Add liquid and mix gently with hands. (I use a fork to help me here.) Roll into a ball.
3) Roll out amount needed on a floured board. Refrigerate or freeze remainder.
Source: 'I've GOT To Have That Recipe'
Doubleday Canada - Victoria, B.C. 1986
sharoncb's tip: After step two I often put it in the fridge for an hour to make it firmer and easier to roll out.
I use tupperwares recipe..used for years. 2c flour,1/4t salt,2/3 c crisco,cold water enough to make a ball.Thats it good everytime
Thank you all for your recipes!! I am going to try them all!! You guys are the best!!
Nathan's and the Vodka recipes are both in my to-try binder.
I often make Ina's Crostata when I make an apple pie. It's easy and instead of putting it in a pie plate, it's just plopped on a silpat or parchment paper on a baking sheet. The pastry is so rich and flaky.
For the pastry:
1 cup all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons granulated or superfine sugar
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 pound (1 stick) very cold unsalted butter , diced
2 tablespoons ice water
For the filling:
1 1/2 pounds McIntosh, Macoun, or Empire apples (3 large)
1/4 teaspoon grated orange zest
1/4 cup flour
1/4 cup granulated or superfine sugar
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground allspice
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) cold unsalted butter, diced
For the pastry, place the flour, sugar, and salt in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade. Pulse a few times to combine. Add the butter and pulse 12 to 15 times, or until the butter is the size of peas .
With the motor running, add the ice water all at once through the feed tube. Keep hitting the pulse button to combine, but stop the machine just before the dough becomes a solid mass. Turn the dough onto a well-floured board and form into a disk. Wrap with plastic and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.
Flour a rolling pin and roll the pastry into an 11-inch circle on a lightly floured surface. Transfer it to a baking sheet.
For the filling, peel , core , and cut the apples into 8ths. Cut each wedge into 3 chunks. Toss the chunks with the orange zest . Cover the tart dough with the apple chunks leaving a 1 1/2-inch border.
Combine the flour, sugar, salt, cinnamon , and allspice in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade. Add the butter and pulse until the mixture is crumbly. Pour into a bowl and rub it with your fingers until it starts holding together. Sprinkle evenly on the apples. Gently fold the border over the apples to enclose the dough, pleating it to make a circle.
Bake the crostata for 20 to 25 minutes, until the crust is golden and the apples are tender. Allow to cool. Serve warm or at room temperature.
My mother-in-law used vinegar in her pie crusts. I'm guessing it serves the same purpose as vodka, only it's much less expensive. I noticed that the Nathan's pie crust has vinegar in it.
I'm wondering about the egg. Some crusts call for eggs, some don't. What purpose does the egg serve?
DH is the primary pie baker in our family. I don't think he pays nearly as much attention to technique as I do, but he has such a great time making pies, especially apple pie, that I don't worry about whether he uses the best technique. His recipe includes sharp cheddar cheese. I don't know where the cookbook is that has the recipe, but it's from a collection of State Fair of Texas winning recipes. When I have more time I'll find the book and post the recipe if anyone wants it.
One of the hallmarks of the Cook's Illustrated recipe is that the vodka allows the dough to get soft, room temperature, yet still bake up flaky. With the half butter and crisco mix without vodka, allowing it to come to room temperature will make a leaden unflakey dough - which is why it must remain chilled at all times and hence, why bakers use marble pastry slabs to keep the dough cool.
If using part butter in a recipe without vodka, the dough must at all times stay cool. I use cookie sheets and plastic wrap to pop cut-outs back in the freezer for a few minutes while I roll out.
But since using the vodka, it is no longer necessary. The full article in Cook's goes into all these details.
Making an all butter crust is even more difficult to keep cool and that is why many use part crisco, for a more fail proof dough.
The reason many can't make a pie crust well is probably because they don't keep the dough chilled enough. Using all crisco certainly makes it much easier but many like the flavor of butter and of course, nutritionally lard and butter are much healthier than shortening.
Here is the recipe from Cooks Illustrated. Read the opening statement that they wrote. It explains the reason they used vodka and how it works. Adding the flour in two separate additions is also key to a flaky crust.
I collected pie crust recipes for many years and have tried them all. Some are more like a cookie crust, some are hard to roll, some end up tough. I think the perfect crust is different for many. I always just wanted a light, flaky, buttery and easy to roll crust, after all, it's purpose is to hold the wonderful filling.
Foolproof Pie Dough from Cook's Illustrated
The trick to this pie crust is the inclusion of vodka. Eighty-proof vodka, which is 60 percent water and 40 percent alcohol, adds moistness to the dough without aiding in gluten formation since gluten doesn't form in ethanol. Although the recipe includes 8 tablespoons of liquid, the alcohol vaporizes during baking, resulting in a tender crust that only contains 6 1/2 tablespoons of water. Because of the extra liquid, the dough will be moister than most standard pie doughs and will require up to 1/4 cup more flour.
- makes one 9-inch double-crust pie -
2 1/2 cups (12 1/2 ounces) unbleached all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon table salt
2 tablespoons sugar
12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/4-inch slices
1/2 cup cold vegetable shortening, cut into 4 pieces
1/4 cup cold vodka
1/4 cup cold water
1. Process 1 1/2 cups flour, salt, and sugar in food processor until combined, about 2 one-second pulses. Add butter and shortening and process until homogeneous dough just starts to collect in uneven clumps, about 15 seconds (dough will resemble cottage cheese curds and there should be no uncoated flour). Scrape bowl with rubber spatula and redistribute dough evenly around processor blade. Add remaining cup flour and pulse until mixture is evenly distributed around bowl and mass of dough has been broken up, 4 to 6 quick pulses. Empty mixture into medium bowl.
2. Sprinkle vodka and water over mixture. With rubber spatula, use folding motion to mix, pressing down on dough until dough is slightly tacky and sticks together. Divide dough into two even balls and flatten each into 4-inch disk. Wrap each in plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 45 minutes or up to 2 days.
Vinegar (an acid) in a pastry softens gluten strands and helps keep the pastry tender.
A recipe that includes an egg is best used where you need more structure - when making a hefty filling for a meat pie, for example. The protein in the egg will reinforce the structure.
-If you use a food processor, freeze the fat.
-Add the fat in two halves. Add the first half and mix it thoroughly into the flour, creating tenderness. Add the second half as larger pieces and only mix lightly. The first addition coats the flour and shortens the gluten strands. The second addition will melt during baking creating steam. When the steam escapes, it lifts the layers of pastry for that characteristic flakiness. Now you have the best of both worlds - tender and flaky.
-Always keep mixing to a minimum. As soon as lumps of dough adhere to each other, stop mixing.
-Add as little liquid as possible!!! Even as little as 1-teaspoon of water extra can develop more gluten and you'll get a tough pastry. Excessive gluten-development also makes the dough sticky, which makes it harder to roll out.
-COLD, cold, cold. Keep everything cold.
Water plus flour = gluten development. Vodka is half alcohol which does not develop gluten, so by using vodka as part of the liquid, it's possible to make a crust with less water and still have it workable. Alcohol also is acedic and acts much like vinegar or lemon does in softening the gluten strands.
Room temperature doesn't make for a tough dough, excess water and excess handling (as in kneading)develops gluten and makes for tough dough.
BUT....with a source of fat which is very soft at room temperature, a well chilled dough will make it easier to roll with less handling.
Many many times I have not had time to chill a pastry crust before rolling and most of the time they were as tender and flaky as one that had been chilled.....but lots trickier to roll out without breaking and to get into the pan without tearing.
I suspect that even more then the recipe, the skill of the baker is what makes for a flaky crust. Pastry crust...pate brise...is properly just shortening, flour and liquid enough to hold it together. All other additions are to make the dough easier to shape...additions such as egg, or oil or baking powder.
Of course, exceptions are sweet crusts with sugar, egg and cream.
As they used to say about someone who could make a good pie, "she has cool hands"....meaning she didn't over handle the dough and warm it with her hands and cause the shortening to liquify.
I agree the skill of the baker plays a large part as well. I really admire cooks who roll the perfect crust onto the pin, and unroll it perfectly into the pie plate. That is not me!
Practise makes perfect! And think of what wonders you can create with that practise!...an ugly crust tastes as good as a perfectly rolled and crimped crust!
Thank you Linda C, for that last post. I am the person too scared to even TRY making homemade pie crust.
Even with all of this great information and these recipes, I'm afraid.
Then I read your last post and realize- Hey, it isn't brain surgery! My family will appreciate me trying and will be too busy eating the pie to pay attention to the fact the pie crust isn't perfect.
I can never get the bottom crust in without a few patches. No one sees them.
I find that most recipes aren't enough for a nice crust and edging so for a single crust I make 50% more.
Less stress that way!
BB: I do the same thing. My ceramic pie dishes are very large.
Like Annie, I use Nathan's Never Fail Pie Crust recipe and have never been disappointed. I use all lard and it comes in a 1# tub so it doesn't have to be measured out. I've rolled this as thin as paper and never had it crack or break when moving it to the pie pan. Tender, tasty and just great.
BB, I often do that too, because I like "deep dish" pies. Actually, I'm not crazy for pie crust, but I like the filling, so a deep dish pie is just up my alley.
As has been mentioned, the bottom crust doesn't show. If you want the top crust pretty do as I showed Amanda when she baked her Grand Prize winning rhubarb pie a few years ago at the fair. We rolled out the dough, cut out shapes (her's were maple leaves) and used that as a decorative "top crust". Beautiful, delicious and you don't have to try to roll that perfect top crust.
I do agree that it has more to do with technique and cool hands than a lot of things. I almost never chill my dough, I use way more water than called for, I use my fingers to break up the butter and I've rarely made a crust that wasn't very flaky. When I was making pies for the French Market Flea Market I'd be making fifty to a hundred six inch pies and ten to twenty regular pies. I had no room or time to chill all that dough. At this point I don't really need to measure any more, but I use the basic 2 1/2 cups of unbleached flour to one cup of butter. I also use about a half teaspoon of salt or bit more. I don't use sugar. I really do have cool hands so it's easy for me to flake the butter into nice long thin 'sheets'. Then I sprinkle with ice water and toss between adding water until it just starts to cling to itself. Then gather into ball, lightly, roll quickly and again.. lightly, then into pan, tuck, crimp fill and bake. All of it is done with what's called a 'deft hand'. I just means that you treat the dough rather like you treat biscuit dough. Handle as little and lightly as possible.
I know I'm in the vast minority but I've tried the vodka recipe two or three times and there is just a taste about it that I don't care for. Almost like it negates the butter taste. Sort of like an all crisco crust. I have used half crisco and that's ok, but I usually just use all butter. Lard is nice but I don't get it often.
I'm a little late to this discussion. :) I was reluctant to try the vodka method because I already have a pie crust recipe that is never-fail for me. I believe it's due to the butter/shortening to flour ratio, a bit of vinegar, and knowing when to stop adding liquid and how to handle the dough. Plus refrigerating first to let everything rest.
I decided to follow the Cooks Illustrated recipe to the letter, except at the very end when my dough was already sticky and there was still unincorporated liquid at the bottom of the bowl. I poured it out. It was a very suspicious weird mass of dough. I refrigerated it for a couple of hours, then cut off a small piece of a disk, rolled it out (like soft Play Dough) and baked it. I was totally blown away by the flakiness. It was like magic.
After it melted in my mouth, I decided that I didn't like the taste (compared to my other recipe). It was WAY too sweet and I really couldn't taste the butter. Flakiness is good, but if the flavor isn't right (e.g., an all-shortening crust), then it's a no-go for me.
I just made another batch. Same proportions, except salted butter instead of unsalted (call me provincial, but I prefer the stronger taste of salted butter), a pinch of salt and a pinch of sugar. Instead of dumping all the water+vodka into the bowl, I added a few tablespoons at a time until it seemed like enough. Something about the vodka makes it saturate the mix more than just water.
After chilling for a couple of hours, I just baked a bit on its own. I think I may have a winner this time. Flaky as the first batch, but it tastes great and no cloying sweetness. This is basically my old recipe (sans vinegar) but using vodka for half the liquid.
One more thing: Is it possible to be too flaky? As I've been munching on this test piece, I realize that it's so flaky that it bursts into flakes when I put a fork in it or bite into it. I'm thinking of making little jam tarts, basically tiny turnovers, and wonder if they will hold their shape while being consumed.
I don't think "too flaky" ever is a problem!!
With pie crust, you can't really ever follow a recipe to the letter....because flour is different and the moisture in the air varies and some butter contains more water and....and..
Also remember that the taste of the vodka matters. If it's not a good "wheaty" tasting vodka, your crust will taste different.
I find myself eyeing that bottle of vanilla vodka and wondering what that would do to a pie....?
Lindac, you're right, there are variables we can't really control (e.g., the humidity). I guess I should have said I was intentional about following the vodka recipe, even when my brain said, "Two Tbs. of sugar? Ugh!"
Flaky is a great experience in your mouth. The problem can be getting it from the plate to your mouth. My crust was fragile--not crumbly--flakes eager to part company with one another. Call me crazy, but I could have used just a teensy tiny bit of gluten in there.
I'm glad this thread was resurrected. I made a recipe that made 4 single crusts. Upon reading this thread, I agree with Bumblebeez and Barnmom......the crust recipes aren't big enough! I had lots of patching with my crust. I didn't like it at all. It was tough and hard.
From now on, I'm going to do Nathan's pie crust.
Thanks for posting your experience with the Vodka crust. I wouldn't want my crusts tasting sweet.
I like a good pastry better than the filling! I think Mom used the Tenderflake recipe, and I always chose the butter tarts with the least amount of filling because her tart shells were so good!
I'm going to make a quiche with the latest batch I made. Don't know how all that flakiness will fare with the blind baking and wet filling, but it ought to taste good anyway, right?
For me, the crust was ruined with all the sugar. It just tasted wrong. Also, I just don't like the taste of unsalted butter.
A good pastry *is* generally better than the filling. Unless it's blackberry or boysenberry pie and then the filling makes me delirious.
Would you post your crust recipe Linelle? Might as well add it to the others here.
3 c. flour
1/4-1/2 tsp. salt
3/4 c. butter
1/2 c. Crisco
1 tsp. cider or white vinegar
1/2-3/4 c. ice water
The above is the recipe I've been using without fail--not once--for 30+ years. I used to cut the butter and Crisco in with a pastry blender. I add the vinegar to the cup of ice water (tap water with a couple of ice cubes). Then I would add water slowly, mixing with a fork, until there was enough. I can't tell you the exact amount, I just know what it's supposed to feel like. I form this into 4 disks (enough for two double-crust pies) and pop into the fridge for a few hours or overnight or into the freezer until I'm good and ready.
All I did with this last batch is pulse the flour/salt and butter/Crisco in the processor, then put in a bowl. Instead of water+vinegar, I slowly added a mix of equal parts water and vodka. I left out the vinegar, because I'm not sure if it would throw off the chemistry. Quite amazing how quickly the main mix became saturated compared to just water. Formed into two disks and refrigerated.
The quiche is cooling. Blind baking went well. The proof will be in the tasting in a little bit.
The quiche was okay, but the crust was divine.
Yes, I know some people who are crazy for the pie crust, like my mother. I always eat the filling out of the pie and Mother snitches all the crust around the edge because I never eat it, I'm all about the filling!
I'm not going to buy vodka for no use other than pie crust, although I did buy one of those little airline sized bottles to try this crust, Nancy has never steered me wrong. But I won't drink it and neither does anyone in my family, so I'd pay the $20 or whatever for vodka and it would sit in my cupboard for the rest of my life. I did think the crust was as good as any I've made, but not good enough to keep a special ingredient on hand for that single use.
I'm glad your crust worked out well for you, though, since you are a pie crust lover.
When all's said and done, I think I may return to my original crust recipe. The vodka dough just handles weirdly and wants to turn soft/gooey if you don't work fast enough. However, I might just sneak in a tablespoon or so of vodka, just to see if flakiness is increased, but not at the expense of handling.
BTW, you can buy a pint of vodka for not very much $$. It will keep a lifetime and can be used for medicinal purposes in an emergency. ;-)
linelle, if I lived in another state, the vodka would be cheaper, but here in Michigan it's taxed like crazy. I've been known to bring a bottle back from Chicago, but that's illegal. Ahem.
Here a pint is $11 and that's for the cheap Popov stuff. Another poster said you had to have good vodka, that affected the taste, so that ups the price.
And I'd rather die of whatever ailment than to ever drink vodka, LOL, although I did spring $22 and buy a bottle to make Lemoncello. We drank a little of it mixed with cranberry juice and I ended up dumping most of it out after about 14 months in my refrigerator, I'm told THAT won't last forever.
Hey, I wonder how lemoncello would work in pie crust, for a lemon meringue pie. Hmmmm.....
I have been making the vodka pie crust since it was first posted here. I think it makes the flakiest pie crust that I have ever made and I have been making pies for over 40 years. I don't detect any taste of vodka and I buy the cheapest stuff on sale, $7, because that is all I use it for.
I have listed a link to the orginal recipe. The only change I made was not to add the sugar, we don't like sweet crusts and I mixed it by hand with a pastry cutter. I have always chilled the dough before rolling. It seems to help it roll out easier. And one thing I remember being told as young as 10 years old when I was learning, keep all ingredients cold.
Here is a link that might be useful: Cook's Illustrated's Foolproof Pie Dough
I have realized that the bottom crust is crisper when baked on my pizza stone. Just made a rhubard pie for Mother's Day, yum. I use an all butter crust recipe and am very happy with it. My weaving skills, however, leave something to be desired!
OK, so LindaC says the brand of vodka matters but Clare says it doesn't. I didn't really taste the vodka when I made it, but maybe it was the sweeter crust that masked the flavor of vodka....
I really kind of liked it better sweet, at least for fruit pies, but I don't know if I'd like it sweet for something like quiche.
The FLAVOR of the vodka matters.....the cost really doesn't. Some vodka has what I cal a wheaty taste.....some does not.
The vodka I currently like the flavor of is Sobieska.....certainly not expensive!
And Annie....the lemoncello would have lasted a very long time, out of the refrigerator even. I have an opened bottle that's easily 3 years old in my liquor cupboard.....I am sure it's still good. And think how good that would have been in a crust for a lemon pie.
LindaC, I'm told that the homemade lemoncello doesn't last as long because it's really just lemons mixed with vodka and allowed to steep, while the commercial stuff is distilled or whatever the heck they do to it.
I'm afraid I'd be no good at tasting vodka, it all tastes vile to me. I did find the lemoncello tolerable, but not so much that I really WANTED to drink it. Still, it might be great in crust for a lemon meringue pie.
Hi guys! Sorry to resurrect this topic yet again, but I finally managed to make a pie with the vodka recipe and it turned out extremely flaky. Which is GREAT.
But it doesn't taste right. It tastes bizarre. I don't know if it's the sugar addition or what? Now I do admit I used cheap vodka. Could that also be factor? Some people here said they also didn't like the taste. What is it that we are detecting is off? Too much sugar? I mean, to me it doesn't taste SWEET, it just tastes off. Or rather, it doesn't taste like butter, and aren't pie crusts always supposed to taste like salty butter?????
Did you use unsalted butter? Was you butter fresh? It's hard to know why it tastes off to you. They do recommend using a good vodka, so that could be your problem also.
I've made the recipe many times and never had an off flavor.
I did NOT use unsalted butter actually. I used salted and halved the salt to compensate.
The crust just doesn't taste like typical pie crust.