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Flaky Cream Cheese Dough – Hand Pie Dough

Cream Cheese Dough is super simple to make and a great recipe to have in your repertoire. It’s tender, flaky and rolls beautifully. This is my go-to hand pie dough because it is tasty yet sturdy.

cutting rounds from cream cheese dough
Cream cheese dough rolls beautifully without splitting or crumbling. It’s perfect for making hand pies.

Have I ever told you about my love affair with all things pie? Ha, ha! Of course I have.

I believe that a really great pie is impossible without a really great crust. Of course, once you master the Perfect Pie Crust you could use it for every pie you make.

Me? I like to choose a specific crust for the type of pie I’m baking. That super tender and super flaky Perfect Pie Crust is exactly what I want for Glazed Maple Apple Pie.

But if I’m making a savory galette or pasties I prefer to use an awesomely delicious Rye Pie Crust .

This dough is made with cream cheese and butter and it’s my go-to hand pie dough. I use it to make Glazed Blueberry Hand Pies, Sour Cherry Almond Hand Pies, Roasted Strawberry Hand Pies and Fried Tequila Peach Hand Pies.

Why Cream Cheese Dough is a great hand pie dough:

Why is cream cheese dough the perfect dough for hand pies? Because this recipe makes a crust that is not too tender or too flaky.

Yes, Yes, tender and flaky is generally exactly what we want in a pie dough. But hand pies are, you know, “handled” a bit more.

  • A super tender crust might crumble apart as you pick up and eat a hand pie.
  • A super flaky crust can be a bit brittle and break apart when rolling. This can be a problem when you need to roll, cut and shape individual pies.
  • Instead of a mixture of all purpose and cake flour, this recipe uses only all purpose flour. This makes a dough with a more sturdy structure that can stand up to the rolling, cutting and shaping required for hand pies.
  • A little sugar is added for flavor, browning and tenderizing
  • Instead of all butter, or 1/2 butter and 1/2 shortening, this recipe uses 1/2 cream cheese and 1/2 butter.
  • The cream cheese adds flavor from the milk solids.
  • The cream cheese has protein so the crust will brown better. Since hands pies are in the oven for much less time than regular pie, faster browning is needed for a golden crust.
  • Because cream cheese is less brittle than butter, the dough rolls easily without cracking.
  • There is some butter in the dough for flavor and flakiness.

Scroll through the step by step photos to see how to make Flaky Cream Cheese Dough:

a bowl of flour with chunks of cream cheese on top
Toss the cream cheese into the flour and work it with your fingers until the pieces are as small as a pea.
a bowl of flour with slices of butter on top
Toss the cold, sliced butter on top of the flour. Work the butter with your fingers, leaving some large flakes of butter intact.
a hand showing flakes of butter in pie dough
Those flakes of cold butter will help form the flakes in the final dough.
a cup of water being added to pie dough
Pour the cold water in all at once
a hand mixing pie dou
Toss the flour and water, then use your fingers to work the flour and water together into a dough.
A hand mixing pie dough
The dough will be a bit “shaggy” when it’s mixed. Don’t over mix. The loose flour will be absorbed as the dough chills.
pie dough ready to be chilled.
Before resting and chilling the dough will be a bit rough.
Chilled pie dough ready for rolling
After chilling for a few hours or overnight the water is absorbed by the flour for a smoother dough. The dough ready to roll.
a hand holding a blueberry hand pie
Flaky, yet sturdy Cream Cheese Dough is perfect for making hand pies.

If you love this recipe as much as I do, I’d really appreciate a 5-star review.

cherry almond hand pies

Flaky Cream Cheese Dough

Yield: Enough for 2 crust pie
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes

A great flaky pastry made with cream cheese and butter. This dough rolls beautifully

Ingredients

  • 2 3/4 cups (13.75 oz 385g) all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon (.5 oz, 14g) granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon table salt
  • 1/2 cup (4 oz, 112g) cream cheese, cut into 1" chunks
  • 1 stick (4 oz, 112g) unsalted butter, cold and cut into 1" chunks
  • 1/2 cup (4 oz, 120ml) cold water

Instructions

  1. Whisk together the flour, sugar and salt in a mixing bowl.
  2. Toss in the cream cheese. Using your fingers, mix the cream cheese into the flour until it resembles coarse corn meal.
  3. Toss the butter into the flour and use your fingers to work it in. Allow the flakes to break up into slightly smaller pieces. Work quickly so the butter doesn't get warm. Don't break the butter down completely. There should be some large flakes remaining.
  4. Pour the water onto the flour all at once and toss to combine. Gently work the dough just until it comes together. Form the dough into a rectangle or square, wrap and refrigerate for at least 2-3 hours, or make it the day before and let it rest overnight.
  5. The dough can be frozen for up to 3 months.

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Did you make this recipe?

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Shirley

Sunday 20th of November 2022

You did not mention the oven temp or how long to bake it!

Eileen Gray

Sunday 20th of November 2022

That will depend on the recipe you are using. This recipe is for the dough, but how you fill the dough and what the filling is, etc will determine the cooking. For example, I use this dough for Blueberry Hand Pies and for Fried Peach hand pies.

Verna

Sunday 16th of October 2022

Excellent, I made apple and cherry hand pies and this crust was fantastic.

Wendy

Friday 30th of September 2022

Hi!…would this pastry be OK for a tart mold…I want to make some strawberry Tarts..and it has to stand up to being blind baked!

Wendy

Sunday 2nd of October 2022

@Eileen Gray, Thank you!….I will try the ‘Short dough’ it sounds delicious!

Eileen Gray

Saturday 1st of October 2022

Yes, you can use this dough for a molded tart. It can be blind-baked. Since it's a fairly soft dough I would line the pan with foil or parchment and fill with beans or pie weights or sugar so the dough doesn't collapse before it sets. For strawberry tarts a better dough might be my Short Dough. It's the best for fruit tarts.

Andy

Monday 23rd of May 2022

I don’t understand why you didn’t include oven temp and amount of baking time. I’m supposed to guess? Yet you asked for 5 stars.

Wendy

Friday 30th of September 2022

@Andy, This recipe is for pastry only…if you decide to use it…your final recipe will give you temperature and times!

Eileen Gray

Tuesday 24th of May 2022

Because the time and temperature will depend on what you're making with the dough. The time will be very different if you make hand pies versus a deep dish apple pie.

Sylvia

Saturday 26th of March 2022

Wonderful! Just like my mom used to make. Thank you! I love all sorts of pies, especially hand pies.

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