Flaky Pie Crust

This recipe comes straight from the book “The Joy of Vegan Baking” by Colleen Patrick-Coudreau.  It makes enough for two cursts.  You can freeze the other half in a ball to be thawed and used at a later date, or as I do, I buy the tin pie plates and make extra, freezing the crusts that I don’t need until a later date (it saves time and headache when you need a pie crust in a pinch!

I don’t have pictures for this one as of yet, because I had crusts stored in my freezer and I’ll be using one of those for the pumpkin pie recipe.  When I run out of crusts, I’ll post some pictures to go along with the recipe, but in the meantime, here are the instructions:

Yield:  2 9″ pie crusts
Prep Time:  45 minutes
Bake Time:  will depend on the type of pie

2 1/2 cups spelt flour
1 tsp agave nectar
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/2 cup vegetable shortning
1/2 cup non-dairy butter
1/3 cup + 1 tbsp ice water.

This can be made by hand or using a food processor and the latter is much easier.  Make sure you don’t overprocess the ingredients, which could make for a tough inedible crust.  Follow the directions and you should have no problems.

Prior to beginning, make sure all the ingredients are cold.  You can put everything in the freezer about 30 minutes prior to preparing.  When  you put everything in there, you can measure out more than the 1/3 cup of water, just in case you need a little extra.

Cut the shortening and butter up in to 1/2″ chunks prior to freezing it, so you have to fuss with it as little as possible once frozen.  The reason for this is that you want the fat to stay as cold as possible, and the more you handle it, the more it will warm up.

Combine the flour, agave and salt in the food processor and process for 10 seconds.  Scatter the (already cut up) shortening over the dry ingredients and pulse in 1 to 2 second bursts until most of the fat is the size of small peas.  With the machine turned off, slowly drizzle the ice water over the top.  Pulse until no dry patches remain and the dough begins to clump into small balls.

Try to press the dough together with your fingers.  If it does not hold together, sprinkle on a bit more ice water and pulse again.  Don’t allow the dough to gather into a single mass during processing.  You want the dough to hold together, but you want the dough to remain rough (not smooth like pizza dough).  Divide the dough in half, press each half into a round flat disk and wrap tightly in plastic.  Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes and up to several days before rolling.  The dough can also be tightly wrapped and frozen for up to 6 months.  Thaw completely before rolling.

The secret to rolling out pasty dough is that you’re not rolling it!  It’s more like you are using the rolling pin to press it out from the middle so it naturally extends outwards.

Start by clearing a large work surface, as you will need a lot of room.  You can roll dough on top of a pastry board or directly on a clean countertop.  If the dough has been chilled for longer than 30 minutes, let it stand at room temperature until it feels pliable enough to roll.

Flour the work surface (just enough so the dough will not stick.  Too much flour can toughen the dough, but you don’t want the dough to stick to the work surface either).  Place the dough in the center of the floured surface and flour the top of the dough as well.  I also sprinke my rolling pin with a bit of flour.  With uniform pressure on the pin, roll the dough from the center, out in all directions, stopping just short of the edge.

To keep the dough in a circular shape, each stroke should be made in the opposite direction from the one that preceded it.  You can do this by rotating the dough itself rather than by moving the pin.  Periodically, make sure the dough isn’t sticking to the work surface by sliding your hand or pastry scraper beneath it and sprinkle some flour on the counter if necessary.

Don’t worry if you see cracks and splits; all of these can be easily mended by just pushing the dough together with your fingers.  If a spot re-opens, your dough may be too dry.  Dab the edges of the split with cold water to “glue” it back together.

Roll the dough 3 to 4 inches wider than your pan so that you will have plenty of dough for covering the entire pan and for creating a rim.  (Place your pan upside down in the center of the dough to calculate the width.)

To transfer the dough, roll it loosely around the pin, center the pin over the pan, and then unroll the dough into the pan.  You can also just fold the dough in half or in quarters, place it in the pan, and unfold it to cover the pan.

Patch any holes or cracks with dough scraps by first lightly moistening the scraps with cold water.  When the dough completely covers the pan, trim the edges with scissors, leaving an overhang of 3/4″ around all the sides of the pan.

To relax the dough and avoid shrinkage when baking, chill the crust for 30 minutes before baking.  You can chill up to 24 hours.


2 Responses to “Flaky Pie Crust”

  1. 1 Alexandra Berryman October 28, 2010 at 1:40 pm

    Hi Melissa,

    I am Dalyn’s mom. One thing that I need from you on your receipts is the product and its name and where to get it. Example would be egg replacer? What is the name of the product. So it would be easier for us who would like to try some of your receipts but don’t know where or what to look for I do most of my shopping at choices. So if this helps you. Thanks for posting your receipts.


    • 2 Melissa McMahon October 28, 2010 at 2:09 pm

      That is fantastic feedback Alex! Thanks! I will post this going forward. For now, I use bob’s red mill egg replacer, however it is a starch product for thickening using tapioca and arrowroot. Bobs Red Mill does actually also have a touch of soy flour. If he can have eggs, I would just use eggs (I just dont’ because I dont’ eat animal product).
      Most of my ingredients you will definitely be able to find at choices including Bob’s Red Mill. and I’ll make a note on future recipes.
      Also, my new site is http://melissa-mcmahon.com. All my posts will be there going forward. I’m just transferring over the last few recipes! Thanks for your interest and feedback!

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