Use Vodka to Moisten Pie Crust Dough

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How can I make the perfect pie crust?

Use Vodka to Moisten Pie Crust Dough

One of the most talked-about recipes from Cooks Illustrated and is their recipe for pie crust, in which half the added liquid is vodka. Most reviewers who have tried making this recipe report extraordinarily good results, with no trace of vodka taste left in the finished product.

The reason this works is that gluten develops when water is combined with dry flour, and gluten causes pastry to become tough and chewy. Using an alcoholic liquid like vodka, where the alcohol evaporates off in cooking, allows a moist, easily-workable dough to develop layers of un-moist, low-gluten flakiness while baking.

The originator of this recipe discusses his technique in a blog post at, which is also the most spectacularly detailed and readable exposition of pie crust physics you're ever likely to encounter. The blog post also gives a link to the original Cooks Illustrated recipe, in case you're inclined to give it a try.



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