Here’s my take on a perfect vegan pie crust. It has taken me a few tries to make it super yummy. It’s really not so much the ingredients that make it tasty, it’s more so how the ingredients are prepared.
Nothing better than a perfect crust on a delicious pie!
Before we get into the recipe, here are a few key things about making pie crust. If you want a flakier crust, simply use vegetable shortening instead of vegan butter substitute. You can also use a combination of both, using half vegetable shortening and half butter substitute. For sweet pies, I prefer an all “butter” crust; for savory pies, I prefer a flakier crust. The recipe below is best suited for sweet pies.
Lin’s Vegan Pie Crust
makes 1 double crust or 2 single pie crusts for a 9 inch pie
2 1/2 cups of whole wheat flour or whole wheat pastry flour
1 teaspoon of salt
1 cup of Smart Balance Light or any vegan butter substitute (frozen)
1/2 cup of ice cold water (you won’t be using it all)
1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
1 tablespoon of brown sugar
1/2 cup of ice cold vanilla almond milk or soymilk
1 tablespoon of brown sugar if unsweetened
1/2 tablespoon of brown sugar if sweetened
pastry blender (a large fork can be used instead if you don’t have a pastry blender)
9 inch pie pan
large smooth rolling surface preferably marble or granite as those surfaces tend to keep cool longer
Rolling pin, pastry blender, large bowl and fork
First of all, measure out the flour, brown sugar, and salt and mix them together in a large bowl.
When measuring out the flour, do it over a small bowl and use the excess flour to dust the rolling pin and the rolling surface.
Stick the pastry blender on top of the mixture and stick the bowl into the freezer.
Next, measure out 1 cup of Smart Balance and cut it up into pieces.
Stick it into the freezer and wait about 2o-30 minutes until everything gets very cold.
Right before you take the flour and the Smart Balance out, make your ice water! Take a couple of ice cubes and put it into a bowl of water. You can then measure out the amount of ice water you’ll need for the pie crust, don’t forget to add the vanilla extract if you plan on using ice water. For this pie, I used vanilla almond milk so there was no need to add in vanilla extract.
Put the liquid aside and take the flour mixture and the Smart Balance out of the freezer.
Look how frosty the bowl became!
Dump the Smart Balance into the flour and blend the mixture with the pastry blender, work fast!
Blend until the mixture looks like this:
Then, slowly pour the liquid of choice into the flour and Smart Balance mixture. Pour about an 8th of the liquid at a time while mixing everything together with a fork. Keep pouring and mixing until the mixture looks like this and pulls slightly away from the bowl.
You basically want to use the least amount of liquid to be able to form a dough ball. You probably won’t need to use the entire 1/2 cup of liquid.
Once you get your mixture to that point, dump the mixture onto your rolling surface and form it into a ball.
Your mixture will seem crumbly at first, but your body heat will warm up the Smart Balance and make the dough more cohesive. Knead the dough a couple of times to form a ball but don’t over do it!
At this point, your dough is done. Wrap it up in plastic wrap and save it for later. The dough should be refrigerated for at least 20-30 minutes before you take it out for rolling. For a double crust, separate the dough into 2 sections in a 3:4 ratio. For a single crust, simply divide the dough into 2 equal halves and save one for later.
Now, if you are wondering why everything needs to be so cold, it’s because it’s a lot easier to roll out the crust when it’s cold. Since my Smart Balance to flour ratio is pretty high, I needed everything to be super cold or else the crust will stick to everything it touches no matter how much flour I put on the rolling pin or the rolling surface. Other people have different reasons for keeping everything cold, but that’s mine.
I had a mini crises when rolling out the crust. As I had mentioned in my last post, the kitchen was so hot yesterday that I had a lot of trouble rolling out the crust even though I refrigerated the dough for a good 2-3 hours beforehand. I managed to fix the problem by sticking the dough into the freezer for about an hour before rolling it out.
Now for the rolling part.
I had watched several rolling videos on youtube to perfect my rolling technique. What I do is roll the dough into a ball, place it onto my floured rolling surface and then smack it down with my floured rolling pin. Make sure everything is well floured!
I then roll the dough and turn it about 40 degrees, roll the dough and turn it 40 degrees until the crust is about 5-6 inches in diameter. At that point, I find it hard to turn the crust without it sticking to the surface.
** Note: always roll from the middle to the edge so that the crust is rolled out evenly.
I then just shift my rolling pin around instead of moving the crust. Do this until the crust is about 12-13 inches in diameter.
When your crust is rolled out, take the rolling pin, put it on top of the crust and roll the crust down over the pin.
Quickly take the pin and roll it up over the pie pan (no need to grease it as the crust has plenty of Smart Balance.
You can still adjust the crust as necessary and trim the sides to about 1 inch hanging over the pie pan.
You can put the filling in the pie at this point.
For the pie shown, Sara used about 4 cups combined of rhubarb and strawberries mixed with about 1 1/2 cups of sugar, a pinch of allspice and cloves, and 2 tablespoons of cornstarch. I will be posting pie filling recipes separately.
Nothing better than fresh fruit!
After the pie is filled, you can pop it into the oven for a single crust pie or put it back into the fridge while you roll out the top for a double crust.
I like to create a lattice top for my pies and it’s really quite easy. I roll out dough as I did for the bottom crust, it’ll only need to be about 10-11 inches in diameter, and then, I cut it into about 1 inch strips.
I then take every other strip and put it across the pie.
I then use the left over strips to weave through the first set of strips.
Over, under, over, under…
If you think it’s too labor intensive, you can just simply lay the left over strips across without weaving them. It’s really not a big deal because it ends up looking basically the same and obviously, tastes the same.
Here’s the finished lattice; the pie is almost ready to be baked!
To finish the edges, trim the strips to about 1 inch past the pie pan and press the top and the bottom crusts together, rolling up. You can then either flute the edges or press them together with a fork. I did the latter.
Before you pop your pie into the oven, make sure to cover the edges with tin foil because that’s the part that generally gets burned first!
Place the pie in a baking tray just in case the pie bubbles over.
Bake the pie at 425 degrees for about 20 minutes and then 375 degrees for 30-40 minutes. If the top gets too brown, cover it with foil.
Here’s my finished pie!
As you can see, my pie doesn’t look perfect, but that’s what I love about it! You can tell that it’s homemade and you can be damn sure that it’s delicious. If your crust doesn’t come out the way you had intended it to be, don’t fret! It took me a few tries to make a good crust but my persistence was worth it. If you decide to try this recipe, let me know how it turns out!