With strawberries crowding farmers market tables and plenty more summer fruit on the way, we've got pie on the brain. But homemade pie crust seems to be a culinary Mount Everest for so many of us. And those pretty and perfect store-bought crusts are so very pretty and perfect. Do you make or buy your pie crusts?
For purposes of comparison, we'll use Oronoque Orchard 9-Inch Pie Crusts and our own recipe for pie crust from scratch (get the recipe HERE). All costs were taken from Peapod Online Grocery. In the homemade cost, we don't account for the cost of salt or other typical pantry staples.
• Oronoque Orchard 9-Inch Pie Crusts
Package includes 2 crusts
PER CRUST: $1.75
• Homemade Pie Crust
Makes 3 crusts
4 1/4 cups all-purpose flour: $0.76
1 1/2 teaspoons salt: $0.00
2 tablespoons fine white sugar: $0.04
1 cup chilled butter: $2.00
1/2 cup chilled shortening: $0.72
1/2-3/4 cup ice cold water: $0.00
PER CRUST: $1.17
• Oronoque Orchard 9-Inch Pie Crusts: 0 minutes
• Homemade Pie Crust: Let's put this at around 20 minutes, which is longer than it takes some people but less time than it takes others.
Pie crust is definitely something that you get faster and better at making the more times you make it. To begin with, it feels very awkward and labor-intensive. But set a goal of making one pie crust a month all summer long and you'll see how quickly you improve.
Pie crust can also be frozen. It's easy to make a big batch, use what we need, and then freeze the rest of the dough in portions. You can even roll that extra dough into pie-ready disks so all you have to do when the pie craving strikes is thaw the dough a little, press it into a pie pan, and bake. In our minds, that's super convenient.
TASTINESS AND HEALTHFULNESS
The majority of store-bought pie crusts are lacking in flavor and more crumbly than flaky. There are some good ones out there; we especially like Trader Joe's crusts. You can also now find pie crusts that contain no hydrogenated fats or other nutritional bombs.
But we're still in love with homemade pie crusts. Love the flavor of an all-butter crust? Go for it. Have a fondness for crusts made with lard? Awesome. And yes, you might struggle with your crusts from time to time. But for the most part, even the most tattered-edged homemade crust will taste worlds above the store-bought version.
MAKE OR BUY?
Making your own pie crust is definitely something worth mastering. In terms of cost, tastiness, and healthfulness, it wins hands down. Convenience is more of a tie, with the store-bought edging ahead. But ultimately, we think it's worth the TLC it takes to make a good pie crust.
One other point in favor of homemade is that you get a top-crust.
OUR VERDICT: Make it!
What do you think?
Related: Make or Buy? Cake Mix vs. Homemade
(Images: Peapod and Faith Durand)