The best store-bought pie crust, according to a pastry chef

Sometimes, we’ve got our Ina Garten hats on and feel like cutting butter into pie dough by hand. Other times, we want a gorgeous, flaky crust without the arm workout.

From our own extensive “research,” we enjoy Trader Joe’s Pie Crust ($4), which, much like Pillsbury Pie Crust, you roll out and mold into your pie plate. We like its buttery taste and flaky crumb—and the fact that we can pretend to get fancy by crimping the edges. All this aside, there’s no denying that it doesn’t really compare to the flavor of homemade.

So we turned to our resident baking expert Erin McDowell, author of The Fearless Baker. She gave us a brilliant tip: “I recommend folks check with a local fave bakery,” McDowell said. “Sometimes they will sell their dough, especially around the holidays!” She added that it will also brown better, because it has no preservatives.

RELATED: Cinnamon-Roll Pie Crust

We called the two bakeries in our neighborhood and lo and behold, they both said they’d sell us some dough balls—as long as we gave them a couple of days’ notice. The only remaining question is…pumpkin or pecan?

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