Welcome to the season of conscious making and baking! Yes, 'tis is the holidays, and we’re loving all the opportunities to offer gestures of comfort and care with things that are delightful, delicious, and better than ever for you.
Part of what makes festive menus so memorable is the stories that accompany each recipe. Cookies aren't just cookies, they're grandma’s special cookies. That gorgeous edible centerpiece? Why, it's a rosemary sweet potato tart adapted from a famous chef’s recipe. And no that's not just any stuffing... it's the stuffing you’re pretty much famous for. In other words, when it comes to holiday foods, we often find what works, and we stick with it.
That’s why this week we’re sharing one of our own bona fide staples ... which also happens to be on the list of Luminberry’s most-requested recipes: How to make a beautiful vegan pie crust, from scratch. We’ve refined this special recipe over the years to perfection, and it’s now one of our most-trusted workhorses in the kitchen, serving as the base for all kinds of superfood-infused dishes from galettes, to pies, to quiches year-round. Plus, not only does our vegan pie crust offer excellent baking performance, but it's also home to some pride-worthy ingredients: wholesome spelt flour instead of nutrient-void white flour, and cardiovascular-friendly coconut oil instead of high cholesterol butter. We've even replaced the sugar with a 1:1 monkfruit sugar substitute to make it (undetectably) sugar-free!
Once you master our unique pie crust techniques, you’re likely to bookmark this clean-eating recipe for years to come. Because if you're anything like us, collecting and creating well-crafted recipes is just the kind of time-worn tradition we can really embrace right now.
WATCH HOW WE MAKE OUR PERFECT VEGAN PIE CRUST:
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PERFECT VEGAN PIE CRUST PREP TIPS:
Making pastry is simple... if you've done it before, that is! Be sure to watch the above cooking video and read the recipe closely to ensure you achieve the gorgeous crust you're after.
Don’t wing it. If you’ve made a classic pie crust before, you’ll find this recipe to be a little bit different in its instructions. That’s because the coconut oil we use acts differently than butter, so you’ll want to be sure to follow the recipe instructions closely rather than rely on previous “pie” experience.
Add water as needed. Texture is important in pie crust, and results can vary if you use a different kind of flour, or even just from batch to batch. Start with the minimum amount of water dictated in the recipe, and increase 1 tablespoon at a time if needed—the ideal texture should appear like crumbly, damp sand, and hold together easily when compacted without being too “wet.”
A few coconut oil bits and pieces are a good sign. Don’t be alarmed if you see a few white spots while rolling everything out! Small, gravel-sized pieces of coconut oil help keep the dough flaky when baked.
Avoid over-kneading. Overworking the flour can make it too tough. To keep the crust flaky, handle it as little as possible—just enough to press it into shape.
Repair any cracks. If cracks appear while rolling the dough out (or in transferring it to a tin), simply press them back together. No one will know (and we won't tell).
Go for golden. When baking the crust, look for a light golden-brown hue as your indication of “doneness.”
MORE HEALTHY BAKING FUN:
Perfect Vegan Pie Crust
Ideal for all your healthy baking needs, this special, wholesome homemade crust is made with spelt flour, coconut oil, and totally without sugar! Note that each batch makes 2 single crusts, or one double crust (pie with top and bottom).
Prep Time: 90 mins | Bake Time: 30 mins | Total Time: 2 hours
Servings: 16 (2 standard pie crusts)
Author: Julie Morris
2½ cups spelt flour or gluten-free 1:1 flour blend
½ teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon sea salt
2 tablespoons 1:1 monkfruit sugar substitute (or 2 tablespoons coconut sugar)
12 tablespoons coconut oil
10-12 tablespoons ice water
1. Use a silicone ice cube tray to spoon in the coconut oil, placing each tablespoon in a separate cavity. Freeze for 15 minutes, or until hardened. (Alternately, you can also use a plate lined with a silicone baking mat or wax paper and spoon the oil in mounds.)
2. Meanwhile, combine the flour, baking powder, salt, sugar, in a food processor—give everything a quick whiz to combine.
4. Pop the frozen coconut oil out of the tray and onto a cutting board, and chop into approximately ½-inch pieces. Add the oil pieces to the food processor and pulse until the coconut oil has been broken down into small bits, about the size of rice or small peas. (You can check the size by stopping the food processor and filtering a handful of the mixture through your hands—a few small chunks the size of peas remaining are okay, but the coconut oil should be mostly broken down a little smaller.)
5. Sprinkle in the ice water, starting with just 8 tablespoons, and use the pulse function on the processor to incorporate until small crumbs appear. Once or twice, you may need to scrape down the sides and bottom of the processor to incorporate any wet material clinging to the bowl. Add the remaining tablespoon(s) of water one at a time as needed, processing briefly with each addition—the ideal mixture should resemble the texture of damp, yet crumbly, sand.
6. On a lightly floured work surface, turn out the dough, give it a few kneads to form a ball, then divide the dough into two halves. Working one half at a time, pat the dough into a disc. Roll out the disk into a circle, flipping it over as it grows while applying a light dusting of flour to prevent sticking each time, until the circle is about 14-inches in diameter.
7. Gently fold the circle in half or quarters, and transfer it to a 9-inch pie dish before unfolding it again, allowing the dough to sink down into the dish and the excess to hang over the sides. Trim and even out the sides as needed, leaving about a 1-inch overhang. Use the overhang to create your crimping style of choice around the edges.
8. Refrigerate the dough in the pie dish for a minimum of 1 hour, or up to one day, before using (cover the dough tightly if chilling for longer than 1 hour).
9. To bake, use one of the methods below:
To pre-bake (use for cooked pie fillings): preheat the oven to 375° F, and position a rack in the middle position. Line the dough with parchment, leaving a small overhang, and fill with pie weights or dried beans. Bake until the crust is set and the edges just begin to turn light brown—about 20-30 minutes. Carefully remove the parchment and the weights, and proceed with the pie recipe you are using.
To blind-bake/fully bake (use for chilled pie fillings): Pre-bake the crust as directed above, then remove the parchment and the weights. Reduce the heat to 300° F, and prick holes around the bottom of the crust with a fork. Return the crust to the oven and bake for an additional 10-15 minutes, or until the crust begins to show very slight browning. Transfer the pie crust in its tin to a wire rack and cool before adding fillings.
If making pie crust ahead of time, form it into a pie pan, cover tightly with plastic wrap, and chill in either a refrigerator or freezer.
Refrigerator: Crust will last for up to 2 days. Remove plastic before putting into the oven. Crust can be baked directly from the refrigerator. Do not warm up the crust to room temperature.
Freezer: Crust will last for up to one month. Remove plastic before putting into the oven. Crust can be baked directly from the freezer, but may need a few extra minutes in the oven until edges turn golden brown.