Have you made pie? This might sound silly coming from a born-and-raised Midwesterner, but I’m relatively new to pie-making. Some of my excuses: I’m spoiled with a mother, mothers-in-law, and a grandmother who make standout pies, I’ve never been good at baking, it’s too time consuming, etc. Plus, pie crust is full of butter and refined flour, which doesn’t quite fit for people who care passionately about food and nutrition. Right?
Well, just as Alex and I eat 90% vegetarian, we take the same approach with healthy eating: we eat healthy + whole foods about 90% of the time, leaving the other 10% for whatever dessert or decadent item we want. We’ve found this “moderate” approach makes our diet manageable. So when my mom asked if she could share a special summer pie recipe with you that was neither healthy or whole, we were all in.
As kids, my sister and I learned an intense love for this particular pie, which would appear just 2 to 3 times per summer. It was a lesson in moderation, and perhaps made the pie even better in our minds. More on that pie — tomorrow!
But the first step to special pie: the crust. It’s surprising how quickly this recipe comes together, and a great activity to do with friends, loved ones, or even kids.
Yes, it might take a little longer than picking up a store-bought pie, but as Alex and I drank our coffee together on a Saturday morning and rolled out the dough, we knew there was something special in spending a quiet morning in an age-old tradition.
If it’s your first time making your own dough, make sure to read the recipe carefully and don’t expect perfection. We’ve found from experience that it comes with time. And the best part: dough scraps! You can put cinnamon sugar on them and bake them along with the pie, or just eat them raw, which is our preference — any other dough fiends out there?
PS Apologies to our gluten-free, vegan and Paleo friends! This one’s all butter and flour – but we’d love to hear your favorite crust recipes!
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- ¾ teaspoon kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon baking powder
- 11 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 5-7 tablespoons cool water
- 2 9-inch pie pans
- Pastry cloth and rolling pin cover (optional)
- In a medium bowl, mix 2 cups all-purpose flour, ¾ teaspoon kosher salt, and ½ teaspoon baking powder. Slice the butter into pieces, then cut it into the flour mixture using a pastry blender until a coarse meal texture is obtained.
- Sprinkle about 5 tablespoons cool water over the flour, mixing gradually with fork until the dough sticks together. Add additional water by the tablespoon until the dough comes together but is not sticky (we added an additional 2 tablespoons - if you add too much water, add another bit of flour). Form the dough into two balls. If desired, chill the dough for about 15 minutes.
- If you have a pastry cloth, set it up and dust it with flour; otherwise, flour a clean work surface. Put on a rolling pin cover (optional), and coat the pin in extra flour. Place one ball of dough on the cloth and roll it evenly from the center to the edge, until the dough is about ⅛-inch thick. Trim the dough to an even 12-inch circle with a pizza cutter (which corresponds to the 9-inch circle on the pastry cloth).
- Using a rolling pin, transfer the dough to 9-inch pie pan. Gently center and push the pastry towards the bottom of the pan. Fold the 1-inch of overhanging dough backwards and seal it to form a rim. Using your index finger and thumb from one hand and a knuckle from your other hand, crimp the edges of the crust.
- Repeat Steps 3 and 4 with the second dough ball in a second pie pan. Cover this shell in plastic wrap or foil and freeze it for later use, which shortcuts the time to your next pie.