If you want to make your spectacular pies even better, science is here to help.
Letting your butter sit in the freezer for 10 to 15 minutes can improve your crust.
When the water from butter evaporates from liquid to gas, it leaves little air pockets within the crust, giving it a flakier texture. The more air, the flakier the crust.
The globs of fat also help prevent the proteins in the crust from binding tightly and making it too dense, an unsavory quality for the treat to have.
You can also replace some of the water with vodka, rum, or bourbon.
A UCLA team experimented with different liquids to see which one could produce the most magical crust, testing water and beer against carbonated water and vodka. The clear (ahem) winner: vodka.
How? Though gluten gives pie the structure it needs, it's what makes you jab the crust to try and break it up. Like the chilled butter, vodka helps prevent the formation of tough gluten protein networks, helping it be flakier. Get their altered recipe on UCLA's Science and Food blog.