The Washington Post

Flaky Cream Cheese Pie Crust

Flaky Cream Cheese Pie Crust 8.000

Laura Chase de Formigny for The Washington Post; styling by Marie Ostrosky for The Washington Post

Chef on Call Jul 16, 2008

Rose Levy Beranbaum says this crust holds its shape better than any other pie dough. Keeping the elements as cool as possible helps make a perfect pie crust. Wear food-safe latex gloves, and/or handle the dough as little as possible. You can keep a bowl of ice water near the work surface to dip your hands into; that will help keep them cool.

This recipe substitutes cold heavy cream for the water used in Beranbaum's original Perfect Flaky and Tender Cream Cheese Pie Crust recipe, as printed in her "The Pie and Pastry Bible" (Scribner, 1998).

Active time: 15 mins; Total time: 1 hour, 45 mins

Make Ahead: The dough needs to be made and chilled at least 30 minutes and up to 3 hours in advance of baking.

Storage Notes: The prepared dough can be tightly wrapped and refrigerated for up to 3 days and frozen for up to 3 months.

8 - 10

When you scale a recipe, keep in mind that cooking times and temperatures, pan sizes and seasonings may be affected, so adjust accordingly. Also, amounts listed in the directions will not reflect the changes made to ingredient amounts.

Tested size: 8-10 servings; makes enough for a 9-inch, 2-crust pie

  • 1 1/2 sticks (170 grams/6 ounces) cold unsalted butter
  • 2 cups plus 3 tablespoons pastry flour (285 grams; may substitute 1 1/2 cups bleached all-purpose flour (188 grams) plus 3/4 cup (100 grams) cake flour]
  • 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt or table salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder, preferably Rumford or other non-sodium-based brand
  • 4 1/2 ounces (128 grams) cold cream cheese, cut into 3 to 4 pieces
  • 3 tablespoons cold heavy cream
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar

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Cut the butter into 3/4-inch cubes, transfer to a small bowl and freeze for at least 30 minutes or until solid. In a large bowl or 1-gallon resealable plastic bag, whisk together the flour, salt and baking powder until combined, and freeze for at least 30 minutes.

To the bowl of a food processor, add the flour mixture and pulse for a few seconds to mix well. Add the cream cheese and process for about 20 seconds; the mixture should resemble a coarse meal. Add the frozen butter cubes and pulse until the butter pieces are no larger than a pea. Add the heavy cream and vinegar and pulse until the dough is in pea-size pieces. Divide the dough in half and transfer to 2 separate 1-gallon resealable plastic food storage bags. (If desired, spray the inside of each bag with nonstick cooking spray to keep the dough from sticking.)

Working with one bag at a time and leaving it unsealed, knead the mixture through the bag by pressing with the heel of your hand to help the dough come together. Remove the dough from the bag and knead it lightly just until it is slightly stretchy when pulled. Flatten the dough into a disk, return to the resealable plastic bag (see NOTE), squeeze all of the air out, seal and refrigerate for at least 45 minutes and up to overnight.

When ready to make a pie, remove one dough disk from the refrigerator and let sit for up to 10 minutes, if necessary, to become pliable enough for rolling.

Place the dough disk between two large pieces of parchment paper and roll it out to a 12-inch wide and 1/8-inch thick circle, rotating the dough a quarter-turn regularly to ensure even thickness of the pie crust. Work quickly so the dough remains smooth and cool. (If you do not have parchment paper, lightly dust your work surface and rolling pin with flour.)

Carefully drape the dough over the rolling pin and then unroll it over a 9-inch pie plate. Trim the border just short of the edge of the plate. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes and up to 3 hours.

Repeat with remaining dough, if needed.

Recipe Source

From cookbook author and baking instructor Rose Levy Beranbaum.

Tested by Rose Levy Beranbaum.

Email questions to the Food Section.

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Nutritional Facts

Calories per single crust: 1,344

% Daily Values*

Total Fat: 90g 138%

Saturated Fat: 54g 270%

Cholesterol: 250mg 83%

Sodium: 545mg 23%

Total Carbohydrates: 117g 39%

Dietary Fiber: 4g 16%

Sugar: 2g

Protein: 17g

*Percent Daily Value based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

Total Fat: Less than 65g

Saturated Fat: Less than 20g

Cholesterol: Less than 300mg

Sodium: Less than 2,400mg

Total Carbohydrates: 300g

Dietary Fiber: 25g

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