So pie crust is a thing.
I have devised a brilliant way of making pie crust so that it works pretty much every time. I even modify it quite easily depending on what’s up.
It’s based on a recipe by Sherry Yard from her book The Secrets of Baking, which isn’t vegan, but it is a really helpful tool when you want to take your baked goods up several thousand notches. The lady knows her stuff.
Happily her pie crust is easily veganized without sacrificing anything whatsoever. Here’s my version:
Magically Easy and Fool-Proof Vegan Flaky Pie Crust
(makes a top and bottom shell for one lidded pie, or enough shells for two lidless pies)
2 ½ cups All-Purpose Flour
2 tbsp Sugar (or Xylitol)
1 tsp Salt
2 sticks Earth Balance Butter*, chopped into 8 tbsp-sized chunks and stashed in freezer for 10 minutes
½ cup Ice Water
1 tsp Apple Cider Vinegar, or Lemon Juice, or ½ tsp White Wine Vinegar**
1. Sift flour and sugar into the bowl of a standing mixer.
2. Toss in the salt and the really cold chunks of butter. Mix on medium-low speed for a minute or two until it looks like the fat has been cut in fairly evenly. The little pieces of fat should be about kidney bean-pea sized. Stop the mixer.
3. Add the ice water and whatever acid you’re using all at once, and mix again, but only until the dough comes together into a unified glob of pastry dough.
4. Spit the dough in two halves, form into flattish discs, wrap ’em up, and refrigerate for 30 minutes. Try not to handle the dough too much as you are doing this.
*You can use Earth Balance Shortening too, or one stick of each. Each variation does change the type of crust you get, though. More on that later.
**I honestly can’t tell the difference any of these three acids make. I usually just use the White Wine Vinegar because what even is that. I use it for nothing else, so I might as well use up the gigantic bottle of it I randomly have.
A note on liquid
Every pie crust manual I’ve consulted has said to add in the ice water + acid one tbsp or so at a time, and not to use all of what’s called for in the recipe because your crust should magically come together without needing all of that pesky liquid. Madame Yard says otherwise. Maybe once I’m some sort of pie crust wizard I’ll be able to do it like that and everything will turn out fine, but there isn’t much worse, culinarily speaking, than trying to roll out pastry dough when it keeps falling apart on you.
Add all the liquid the recipe calls for, and do it all at once.
Pie crust makers of the world, unite!
LET’S SHAKE THINGS UP
*The “I’m Making More or Less Pie” Version*
You can halve the recipe, but… don’t. Just double your filling recipe. Don’t double this recipe, though. Make each batch separately.
*The “I Want to be Needlessly Involved” Version*
You need some really aggravating exercise in your life? K. Use a pastry cutter. Maybe it’s because I really hate pastry cutters, but crust never turns out as good for me if I pastry cut all of the fat in. But you can, if that’s your thing.
*The “I’m Feeling Lazy” Version*
Don’t freeze the fat. Don’t sift the flour and sugar. Don’t refrigerate the halves. The crust will be less nice, but it’s still homemade pie, so…
*The “I Want Some Extremely Flaky Pie Dough” Version*
For utmost flakiness, use all Earth Balance Shortening. Then, instead of ½ cup of ice water, use only ¼ cup of ice water replace the rest with ¼ cup of chilled Vodka.
You don’t understand, it turns out like Puff Pastry.
However, you sacrifice on flavour doing that. When I’m looking for maximum flakiness I use the shortening, and for maximum buttery flavour I use the butter. For a decent middle ground, use 1 stick shortening and 1 stick butter with the ¼ cup Vodka replacement.