Flaky Single Pie Crust (dairy-free)
A flaky crust without butter is achieved with coconut oil, organic margarine, or organic vegetable shortening made from unrefined palm oil. Both coconut oil and palm oil are semi-solid at room temperature, and very solid in the refrigerator, just like dairy butter, and yield a lovely, flavorful flakiness in this crust. A touch of sweetness, baking soda and apple cider vinegar lift and marry the texture. Be sure not to over work the dough or it will become stretchy and loose its flaky quality.
There are many high-quality coconut oil products available in the market these days. Some have a very strong coconut smell (which may or may not please you- great for some recipes, imposing for others). Omega Nutrition has a high-integrity coconut oil with a gentle process to de-fragrance the oil, leaving a buttery oil without the coconut smell – look for the ‘original’ product as the ‘virgin’ product has a strong coconut aroma. Earth Balance produces a number of organic margarine products that are very delicious and can be used just like dairy butter. Spectrum makes a great product called “Organic Shortening”, made from pure, organic palm oil.
Yields: one 9-inch or 10-inch pie crust
1 cup organic unbleached pastry flour
1 cup spelt flour, or additional pastry flour
2 tablespoons organic granulated sweetener,
such as organic evaporated cane juice or organic sugar
½ teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon fine ground sea salt
8 tablespoons coconut oil, Earth Balance organic margarine or organic shortening (or combination of any and all)
1 tablespoon maple syrup
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
3-6 tablespoons ice-cold filtered water
Preheat the oven to 350°F
Sift flours, granulated sweetener, baking powder and salt a bowl.
Mix in coconut butter/Earth Balance organic margarine/organic shortening, maple syrup and apple cider vinegar and 3 tablespoons ice-cold filtered water, first with a wooden spoon or paddle, then with a pastry cutter or clean, dry hands until dough forms.
If the dough is too dry, add another tablespoon or two of water, only as necessary.
Be careful not to overwork the dough or it will become tough from the gluten in the dough.
Gather the dough into a ball.
The dough will keep fresh in the fridge for 2 days, or sealed in a bag or container and frozen for a month or two. If freezing, thaw in the fridge for a few hours before pressing or rolling.
I find this dough to be easier to press with clean hands into a pie plate, rather than rolled with a rolling pin. But! Do what suits your fancy. There is something about breaking out a rolling pin that makes me feel a very sexy, old-fashioned satisfaction. If you want to roll, flatten into a disk on a piece of waxed paper large enough to wrap the dough in and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
Proceed by pressing evenly into a pie plate. The edges may be pinched to form a decorative scallop.
To roll the dough with a rolling pin, do so between two sheets of waxed paper.
First, flatten with your palms to get started. Then, roll from the center out to the edges, always in the same direction, 1/8-inch thick, or less. Often, the more thin the dough, the more flaky the crust.
Transfer the rolled dough to a pie plate or tart pan. Lightly flouring the surface and folding in half or into quarters, makes the transfer easier.
Press the dough into the corners of the pie plate or tart pan. Trim any excess dough from the rim of the plate or pan.
To keep the crust flaky for recipes such as Pumpkin Pie, Apple Pie, Peach Pie, and Cherry Pie, I find the best results in pre-baking the crust for 7-12 minutes at 350°F before, then baking as directed.
Or pre-bake for 15-25 minutes at 350°F until golden brown for pies such as Strawberry Rhubarb Pie, Pecan Pie, and Shoefly Pie.
Use for any type of pie.
The uncooked dough will keep fresh in the fridge for 2 days, or sealed in a bag or container and frozen for 1 to 2 months. If freezing, thaw in the fridge for a few hours before pressing or rolling.