The Simple Way To Elevate Store-Bought Pie Crust

The perfect way to celebrate a holiday, serve up at a family gathering, or to simply culminate a delicious meal, pie is a popular dessert. (In fact, the treat is so entrenched in U.S. culture, apple pie is essentially part of the national identity.) And as any true connoisseur will tell you, one of the most notable — though sometimes overlooked — characteristics of a good pie is the crust. Flaky, buttery, and perfectly golden brown, an artfully arranged crust not only looks impressive but also plays an important role in holding the tasty treat together.

There are many recipes out there for a good pie crust, but often it just isn't practical to make one from scratch. According to Land O' Lakes, pie crust mishaps are quite common, and it takes both patience and practice to master this skill. Issues like tough or overly dry, crumbly dough can be incredibly frustrating to come up against when baking pie — especially since they have more than one cause. When in doubt (or even if you're just running a little short on time), a store-bought crust is a safe and simple bet, but you'll want to add a little something extra to enhance it. 

Add some flair to your plain pie crust

One of the most important ingredients in baked goods, for both flavor and texture, is butter. The dairy adds a rich taste while also creating those classic flaky layers you're likely searching for. The Institute of Culinary Education explains the science behind this, sharing that as butter melts during the baking process, it creates air pockets that give pastry and pie dough its flaky texture. Of course, with pre-made pie crust the butter is already included, but you can add a few simple touches to make it just as delightful as a crust you spent hours creating from scratch.  

Try crushing buttery shortbread cookies (such as Walkers) in a food processor, and then pressing the crumbs gently into your raw pie dough. Allrecipes explains the extra moisture from the cookies can help prevent the store-bought crust from drying out, while also adding delicious flavor. To double down on that moisture, you can brush the crust with melted butter before adding the shortbread cookies, or skip the cookies entirely and go all-in on butter.

On top of your butter and cookie combo, a dash of spice like cinnamon, sugar, or another ingredient that will compliment your pie's flavor will take the dessert to the next level and help transform your run-of-the-mill crust into a customized one that is sure to garner plenty of compliments at your next potluck.