I bake a lot of pies and hand pies. And more often when I am feeling a little lazier, a whole lot of galettes. Almost exclusively, I turn to my foolproof All Butter Vodka Pie Dough recipe. Because it works. It's a reliable and solid recipe that is easy to make and bakes up like a buttery, tender and flaky dream. However, I recently started using this easy, tender Cream Cheese Pie Dough in a bunch of my pie, hand pie and galette recipes. This pie dough is ultra tender, fabulously flaky and brings a bit of mystery. It needs to shared with the world.
This Cream Cheese Pie Dough recipe stems from my classic All Butter Vodka Pie Dough but is a difference experience altogether. There are new flavors and textures happening in this dough, giving it that something extra.
Cream Cheese transforms pie dough into a rich and tender experience
All I did here was slightly adapt my original recipe pie dough recipe. The vodka is still in there to give it that signature flaky crust. If you aren't down with vodka, you can sub in apple cider vinegar. Both help create a more tender dough and evaporate faster than water when baking, resulting in a flakier crust. Ice cold water works too. Don't stress, it's gonna be great no matter which direction you go.
Key ingredients for a perfect pie crust recipes
- Real Butter - It just tastes better. I use high quality, European style butter with a higher fat content for its superior flavor and stability in high heat.
- Vodka or Apple Cider Vinegar - Both options help to create a more tender dough and evaporate faster than water when baking, resulting in a flakier crust. Be sure it's ice cold for the best mixing results.
- Sugar - Gently sweetens the pie dough, leveling out that buttery flavor with a hint of sweetness.
- Fine Sea Salt - Enhances the buttery flavor and allows the mild sweetness to come through in a balanced flavor combo.
As always, I use high quality, European style butter with a higher fat content in my pie dough recipes. It gives pie dough a superior flavor and texture that can't be matched. The changes comes from the incorporation of cream cheese and pulling back a bit on hydration, since the cream cheese itself has a lot of moisture. I use a little less salt and that's it. We still use the same techniques and tools. The changes are minimal but the end results are major.
Benefits of Cream Cheese in Pie Dough
- Taste: The cream cheese adds a richer, tangy undertone that compliments sweet fruit fillings beautifully. And would add a creamy compliment to savory fillings.
- Texture: The cream cheese gives the pie dough an almost velvety texture. It feels more luxurious and tender. The edges don't have quite the same crisp breakage in the bite as my traditional pie dough. But, the flakiness is still there and the crust is unbelievably tender.
- Workability: I'd say this Cream Cheese Pie Dough is actually a bit easier to work with than my traditional pie dough. The cream cheese lends a pliability that makes it roll out smoother and more easily.
I can't pick a favorite between this recipe and my All Butter Vodka Pie Dough recipe, they are so different and offer their own delights. But, I truly love having the option of this Cream Cheese Pie Dough when I want to add a little luxury to my pie, hand pie and galette recipes.
Techniques for making perfect pie dough
Keep your cool
Keeping the butter and vodka or apple cider vinegar ice cold, ensures a more tender pie dough. This allows the ingredients to mix up rustically, without over-blending.
Don’t over-mix your pie dough
Mix pie dough together until it just starts to come together in crumbly, pea sized granules. If you completely mix the butter into the flour, the pie dough will be tough. Texture and crumbly bites will create air pockets that puff up and expand in the heat. Resulting in a flakier, cripier pie crust.
How to tell if pie dough is properly hydrated
Once sufficiently mixed, the Cream Cheese Pie Dough should look mealy with small, pea-sized crumbles. The dough should just come together when you gently squeeze a fistful together. gently squeeze it together. This is the best test for checking pie dough hydration!
Using this easy pie dough recipe in my Cherry Hand Pies with Cream Cheese Crust and Apricot Almond Galette with Cream Cheese Crust recipes resulted in some of the best pairings I've ever made. The Cream Cheese Pie Dough gives the hand pies and galette an elegant cheesecake flavor. The addition of cream cheese just really elevates the whole pie dough.
That interplay between the cream cheese and stonefruit is really something special to be experienced. I suspect this pie dough would be pretty spectacular with my Ricotta, Potato & Spring Pea Galette or my Huckleberry Hand Pies.
Next time you bake a pie, try taking things up a notch with this easy, elegant and tender Cream Cheese Pie Dough.