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Vegan Baking Recipes Vegan Pie Recipes Flaky Vegan Pie Crust

Flaky Vegan Pie Crust Mattie

Written by Mattie    
 
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Flaky Vegan Pie Crust

Making your own vegan pie crust is time consuming but a homemade crust tastes about 23 times better than a store-bought one. You can make multiple batches and freeze the rest for later use. Home made pie crust has that irresistible flakiness and gives you the satisfaction of knowing that you made the whole pie. This vegan Flaky Pie Crust recipe can be used for any pastry such as Vegan Pop Tarts, turnovers, English pasties or anything else you'd like to envelop in tender, flaky goodness.

The food science behind pie crusts

In a pie crust the goal is tenderness and flakiness. This is achieved by a high level of fat and a low level of water. The fats serve two purposes: The Vegan Butter in this recipe breaks into small pieces, coating the flour and inhibiting gluten from forming. The shortening is cut into larger pieces so it doesn't break down as much when it's cut into the flour. This is so the shortening forms thin layers as the dough is rolled. These thin layers catch evaporating water as the crust bakes which causes the crust to form thin, flaky layers similar to what's found in puff pastry.

Vodka in pie crust?

This pie crust is adapted from Cook's Illustrated's famous vodka pie crust which takes crusts to the next level. The result is a dough that's easier to work with and more tender and flaky than traditional pie crusts. The vodka allows the dough to feel more moist so it's easier to roll, cut and form. The gluten in the flour doesn't bind in the presence of ethanol so the crust ends up being more tender. The alcohol cooks off so don't worry; your pie crust won't taste like alcohol but it will seem extra moist while you're working with it. This is by design. Don't worry about the quality of the vodka you use. 80 proof vodka is 60% water and 40% alcohol. Just remember: don't drink and roll. If you really aren't able to use vodka then change the water content of this recipe to 6 to 8 Tablespoons total.

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Flaky Vegan Pie Crust Recipe

2 ½ cups all-purpose flour
2 Tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon salt

¾ cup (161 grams) or 1 ½ sticks cold Regular Vegan Butter or non-hydrogenated stick margarine, cut into ¼ inch cubes
½ cup (108 grams) or 1 stick cold Vegan Shortening or store bought shortening, cut into 4 pieces

¼ cup cold water
3 Tablespoons cold vodka

1) Whisk the dry ingredients together and cut in the Vegan Butter

In a large mixing bowl whisk together the flour, sugar and salt. Using a fork or pastry blender, cut the Vegan Butter and shortening into the flour until mixture resembles coarse sand. Take extra caution that you don't over mix.

Cut the margarine into the flour

2) Carefully work the water into the dough

Drizzle half of the chilled water and vodka over the mixture then gently toss using your fingers. Drizzle the other half in and toss again. Now use the open palm of your hand to press down the dough to compress it. Break up the dough with your fingers and compress it again. Cut the dough in half inside the bowl with a spatula.

3) Chill the dough in the refrigerator

Wrap each piece of dough in plastic wrap, compress it to a 4 inch disc and chill in the refrigerator for at least one hour. This dough can be kept in the freezer for up to 6 months for later use. This cold rest allows the dough to absorb the water and also enables the gluten to relax. Both of these things will yeild a softer, more elastic dough that is less likely to break and crumble.

If you're working in extremely hot weather conditions, don't be afraid to put things in the freezer for a few minutes while you're working. The goal is to have a cool crust go into a hot oven so the crust 'pops' from the pockets of fat and water. This is what makes a flaky crust. 

4) Roll out the vegan pie crust

Cut two pieces of parchment paper to 12 inch by 12 inch size. Rolls of parchment paper for home use is 12 inches long so you can use the box as a ruler. Unwrap one of the dough disks, place the dough on a sheet of parchment paper and cover it with the other sheet of parchment paper. Roll the dough out from the center until it goes out to the edges of the parchment paper. Remove the top layer of parchment paper and carefully flip the dough over into a pie plate. Now remove the other piece of parchment paper and form the doug to the pie plate. Gently lift the pie crust with one hand and push it into the plate with the other hand. Don't worry if you have to patch the pie crust; this is normal. It's easily patched and repaired by lightly wetting each part to be joined with water then grafting on an extra piece of dough. Once it comes out of the oven, your repairs won't be too noticeable.  When I work with pastry crusts I usually have a pastry brush and a glass of water on hand so I can easily wet the dough with the brush and patch it with pieces of leftover dough when necessary. Using scissors, cut off the dough so that ½ inch of it extends beyond the pie plate.

5) Tuck the pie crust in

Now go around the perimeter and tuck and fold the outer edge under the crust so that it's uniform with the edge of the pie plate. Flute the dough with your fingers or press the edges down with the end of a fork to shape.

6) Place the top crust on, if using

This assumes your filling is already in the bottom crust of a non-pre baked pie crust. Roll your other disc of pie dough as directed in Step 4. Using a pastry cutter or a pair of scissors, cut the top crust so it's the same diameter as the outer diameter of the pie crust shell. Fill a small bowl with water and use a culinary brush or your finger to coat the outside top diameter of the pie crust shell. Now take your rolled out pie crust top and remove the parchment paper on the top. Carefully flip it over the top of the pie. Once it's centered, remove the other piece of parchment paper and use scissors to cut the excess off of the pie crust top so it matches the pie crust bottom. Now go around the perimeter and tuck and fold the outer edge under the crust so that it's uniform with the edge of the pie plate. Flute the dough with your fingers or press the edges down with the end of a fork to shape.

7) To pre-bake or not to pre-bake

Some pie recipes that don't require the pie to be baked for very long will require it to be pre-baked, also known as blind-baked. To do this, first preheat your oven to 425F (218C). Go around the perimeter of your pie crust and tuck and fold the outer edge under the crust so that it's uniform with the edge of the pie plate. Flute the dough with your fingers or press the edges down with the end of a fork to shape. Place your pie crust in the refrigerator until it's firm, about 15 minutes.

Poke the bottom of the crust with a fork about 8 to 10 times to create holes for steam to escape. Now line the pie crust with tin foil then place legumes or the pie weight of your choice inside of the crust. The tin foil keeps the walls of the pie crust from sliding down while under heat.

Place a pie weight inside the pie shell

Place the pie on a cookie sheet that is on the oven's lowest rack. The cookie sheet will draw extra heat to the pie crust's bottom, allowing it to bake at the same rate as the upper parts of the crust. Bake it for 15 minutes, then remove the foil and pie weights. Rotate the pie 180 degrees and bake it for another 5 to 10 minutes until the crust is golden.

This recipe makes one 9 inch Flaky Vegan Pie Crust shell with one crust top which is known as a double crust. You can also use this recipe to make two pie shells.


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Average user rating from: 11 user(s)

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4.8  (11)
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I'm approaching my third "birthday" as a vegan, and have used Crisco in the past for crusts, so veganizing them wasn't a problem. But though I am a darned good cook and pretty good baker, I've always struggled to get the crust right. My pies always taste great, but they are a pain in the patooty to work with. This pie crust is perfection! The dough is soft and malleable, and it rolls like a dream. I am in love. I made an apple pie for Thanksgiving to everyone's delight. I was ill over Christmas, so am repeating the apple pie now. Made the dough tonight and put it in the fridge to rest, will complete the rest in the morning. This is fantastic. I've never used vodka in a crust before, but it's genius. Thanks so much! I haven't tried the lattice, so can't comment on that, but I was thinking it would work great, because it is so easy to work with and doesn't break up like a lot of crusts. I used Earth Balance Soy Free and Spectrum Organic, non-hydrogenated vegetable shortening. The only thing I changed from the recipe is that Spectrum specifies to use the shortening at room temp, so I did and it worked great. Lovely. You have a new fan! Hmmm. So I'm trying to enter my Twitter name and it won't accept it as valid. ??? Anyway, it's @VeganInBloom
Rating 
 
5.0
Colette Reviewed by Colette January 01, 2014
Top 500 Reviewer  -   View all my reviews (1)

Outstanding Crust

I'm approaching my third "birthday" as a vegan, and have used Crisco in the past for crusts, so veganizing them wasn't a problem. But though I am a darned good cook and pretty good baker, I've always struggled to get the crust right. My pies always taste great, but they are a pain in the patooty to work with. This pie crust is perfection! The dough is soft and malleable, and it rolls like a dream. I am in love. I made an apple pie for Thanksgiving to everyone's delight. I was ill over Christmas, so am repeating the apple pie now. Made the dough tonight and put it in the fridge to rest, will complete the rest in the morning. This is fantastic. I've never used vodka in a crust before, but it's genius. Thanks so much! I haven't tried the lattice, so can't comment on that, but I was thinking it would work great, because it is so easy to work with and doesn't break up like a lot of crusts. I used Earth Balance Soy Free and Spectrum Organic, non-hydrogenated vegetable shortening. The only thing I changed from the recipe is that Spectrum specifies to use the shortening at room temp, so I did and it worked great. Lovely. You have a new fan! Hmmm. So I'm trying to enter my Twitter name and it won't accept it as valid. ??? Anyway, it's @VeganInBloom

Owner's reply

So glad you like the crust Colette! That's interesting that Spectrum recommends room temperature shortening.

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My husband and I (over the course of two days) made this for thanksgiving. We made two- one true to recipe and another 3/4 whole wheat. The original dough was a pain in the butt to work with and we were unable to accomplish the classic apple pie cross cross top. We thought it was going to be a bust for sure; the whole wheat dough was more we expected it to act like and did do to classic apple pie topper. Unlike we thought (my husband was nearly depressed thinking his pie, he followed to a T, was ruined) it turned out incredible! I'm not a pie person by any means but I'm addicted! I'm prepping the shortening as we speak (coconut oil rocks!) in preparation for holiday pie! It will be my in-laws first vegan pie so wish me luck! Thanks a TON for this recipe it is the definition of amazing!
Rating 
 
4.0
Abearrows Reviewed by Abearrows December 23, 2013
Last updated: December 23, 2013
Top 500 Reviewer  -   View all my reviews (1)

Best. Pie. Ever!

My husband and I (over the course of two days) made this for thanksgiving. We made two- one true to recipe and another 3/4 whole wheat. The original dough was a pain in the butt to work with and we were unable to accomplish the classic apple pie cross cross top. We thought it was going to be a bust for sure; the whole wheat dough was more we expected it to act like and did do to classic apple pie topper. Unlike we thought (my husband was nearly depressed thinking his pie, he followed to a T, was ruined) it turned out incredible! I'm not a pie person by any means but I'm addicted! I'm prepping the shortening as we speak (coconut oil rocks!) in preparation for holiday pie! It will be my in-laws first vegan pie so wish me luck! Thanks a TON for this recipe it is the definition of amazing!

Owner's reply

So glad you enjoyed the pie crust recipe Abearrows! I'm sorry the dough didn't work for your lattice top. I wonder what went wrong? I find that this recipe is easier for me to use for things like lattice tops due to the dough being more pliable with the increased moisture content. That's great that your whole wheat version saved the day though. Thanks for sharing!

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I can't make a pie crust to save my life UNTIL I ran across this one. I did it...I really did it. I am sticking to this recipe from now on. So glad I found you.
Shariee
Rating 
 
5.0
Reviewed by shariee November 28, 2013

I can't make a pie crust to save my life UNTIL I ran across this one. I did it...I really did it. I am sticking to this recipe from now on. So glad I found you.
Shariee

Owner's reply

So glad the pie crust worked out so well for you shariee!

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Thank you for the recipe. I was amazed at how tender and flaky the crust came out! You could use this instead of puff pastry. I made 'chicken' pot pie and it turned out awesome! 40min@ 400F, high altitude 5000'. My food processor mixed the dough in under a minute. Pulse all dry ingredients then pulse in butter...slowly add the water vodka mix. It should roll into a ball.

Being a canary in a coal mine, I do not consume much oil/butter. In the future I'll reduce the butter/shortening until reaching the minimal amount to still make the recipe work. I realize this would sacrafice some flaky-ness...
Rating 
 
5.0
Tae Reviewed by Tae November 17, 2013
Top 500 Reviewer  -   View all my reviews (1)

Super flaky, really tasty

Thank you for the recipe. I was amazed at how tender and flaky the crust came out! You could use this instead of puff pastry. I made 'chicken' pot pie and it turned out awesome! 40min@ 400F, high altitude 5000'. My food processor mixed the dough in under a minute. Pulse all dry ingredients then pulse in butter...slowly add the water vodka mix. It should roll into a ball.

Being a canary in a coal mine, I do not consume much oil/butter. In the future I'll reduce the butter/shortening until reaching the minimal amount to still make the recipe work. I realize this would sacrafice some flaky-ness...

Owner's reply

So glad the crust worked out for you Tae! Thanks for the food processor tips. I'm going to update the instructions to give that option soon. It's worth looking into how low you can go with the fat in this recipe. I'm sure you could reduce it to some extent and it would still be "good enough".

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Used this crust for apple pie and everyone loved it. It was a big hit with friends and family.
Reviewed by Antonya November 30, 2012

Used this crust for apple pie and everyone loved it. It was a big hit with friends and family.

Was this review helpful to you? 
I used Earth Balance buttery sticks and Spectrum shortening, both of which I cut up and put in the freezer for a little while before cutting into the flour in my food processor. I mixed the liquid in by hand, as written.

My dough was super dry and crumbly, very hard to get to come together, even after adding an additional tablespoon or two of water. I managed to press the dough into two crumbly discs and hoped it would hydrate while chilling in the refrigerator, but it was still dry and hard to work with a few hours later. I had to knead it a couple times to get it to come together, but I did eventually manage to get it to roll out.

Still, the finished pie was fantastic. My non-vegan hubby raved it was the best he'd ever had (which is saying something, as the man loves pie), and specifically complimented the crust as buttery, tender, flaky. The rave was worth the effort, I will definitely try again.
Rating 
 
4.0
Reviewed by Michelle November 23, 2012

dough was dry, but end result good

I used Earth Balance buttery sticks and Spectrum shortening, both of which I cut up and put in the freezer for a little while before cutting into the flour in my food processor. I mixed the liquid in by hand, as written.

My dough was super dry and crumbly, very hard to get to come together, even after adding an additional tablespoon or two of water. I managed to press the dough into two crumbly discs and hoped it would hydrate while chilling in the refrigerator, but it was still dry and hard to work with a few hours later. I had to knead it a couple times to get it to come together, but I did eventually manage to get it to roll out.

Still, the finished pie was fantastic. My non-vegan hubby raved it was the best he'd ever had (which is saying something, as the man loves pie), and specifically complimented the crust as buttery, tender, flaky. The rave was worth the effort, I will definitely try again.

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I just made my dough, but it seemed awfully soft. I used earth balance soy free butter and Crisco. The butter was cold, but stillpretty soft. The Crisco was room temp. I triednot to overwork the dough. Will it still come out okay or should I try getting the butter super chilled and try again? It's for my first ever vegan pecan pie, and I have never made pie crust before. Please help!!!
Reviewed by Lauren86 November 20, 2012

dough seems too wet/soft

I just made my dough, but it seemed awfully soft. I used earth balance soy free butter and Crisco. The butter was cold, but stillpretty soft. The Crisco was room temp. I triednot to overwork the dough. Will it still come out okay or should I try getting the butter super chilled and try again? It's for my first ever vegan pecan pie, and I have never made pie crust before. Please help!!!

Owner's reply

Hi Lauren86! If you used vodka the crust will be extremely soft. The vodka will all bake off. It should firm up slightly in the refrigerator during the rest periods as the shortening hardens and the flour hydrates. Good luck!

Was this review helpful to you? 
I decided I wanted to substitute oil for the vegan butter and shortening. So I used the equivalent amount of safflower oil but followed everything else. My dough was hard to work with after refrigerating an hour. (I suspect I should have refrigerated it overnight or even froze it...)

Anyway, I used my hands to work it into my pie plate and smoothed it all around with my fingers. Then I froze it 10 minutes before pouring in the filling. Then I stuck it in the oven for an hour at 350.

Crust turned out flaky and delicious! I'm going to try making turnovers with the other half of my dough! Thanks!
Rating 
 
5.0
Reviewed by Rebecca September 14, 2012

Oil Substitution Works (kind of)!

I decided I wanted to substitute oil for the vegan butter and shortening. So I used the equivalent amount of safflower oil but followed everything else. My dough was hard to work with after refrigerating an hour. (I suspect I should have refrigerated it overnight or even froze it...)

Anyway, I used my hands to work it into my pie plate and smoothed it all around with my fingers. Then I froze it 10 minutes before pouring in the filling. Then I stuck it in the oven for an hour at 350.

Crust turned out flaky and delicious! I'm going to try making turnovers with the other half of my dough! Thanks!

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Hi,
Could you I just omit the vodka and the crust would still be the same?
if not what would you suggest i add instead?
Thanks!
Rating 
 
5.0
Reviewed by Alaina June 30, 2012

Can't wait to try it!

Hi,
Could you I just omit the vodka and the crust would still be the same?
if not what would you suggest i add instead?
Thanks!

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I've been attempting to make the perfect pie crust for many years. They never come out flaky and the dough is always hard to work, With this recipe, my search is over: it is WONDERFUL and makes an amazing flaky, tender crust.

Rating 
 
5.0
Reviewed by Lindyloonie November 23, 2011

The BEST pie crust

I've been attempting to make the perfect pie crust for many years. They never come out flaky and the dough is always hard to work, With this recipe, my search is over: it is WONDERFUL and makes an amazing flaky, tender crust.

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made the pie last night and the crust came out amazing! i'm so glad it makes 2 crusts cause last night was the test pie i'm making for thanksgiving and both came out great. so i'm gonna use the 2nd crust next week :-D
Rating 
 
5.0
Reviewed by jackie November 19, 2011

GREAT CRUST!

made the pie last night and the crust came out amazing! i'm so glad it makes 2 crusts cause last night was the test pie i'm making for thanksgiving and both came out great. so i'm gonna use the 2nd crust next week :-D

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just wondering.... i'm making a pecan pie that says to cook 45mins-1hour at 350degrees, do i have to pre-cook the crust??
Reviewed by jackie November 17, 2011

pre-cooking

just wondering.... i'm making a pecan pie that says to cook 45mins-1hour at 350degrees, do i have to pre-cook the crust??

Owner's reply

Hi jackie, pre-cooking, also known as blind baking, isn't necessary in this case so you should be fine with pouring the filling in and just baking the whole pie. Blind baking is only necessary when you're working with fillings that don't need to be baked or if the filling has a shorter bake time than the crust. The crust should bake fully in 45 to 60 minutes at 350F.

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I used this recipe for the first pie I've ever made from scratch. I ran into some complications but that was just due to inexperience. Well, the end product was fantastic! Crust is golden brown, so crumbly & brittle, and almost cookie-like. Everything went better than expected. Just have to wait for the taste test now :) I've got a peach, plum, & nectarine pie cooking with a granola crumble top. Thanks a bunch!
Rating 
 
5.0
Reviewed by Ty August 17, 2011

So tasty

I used this recipe for the first pie I've ever made from scratch. I ran into some complications but that was just due to inexperience. Well, the end product was fantastic! Crust is golden brown, so crumbly & brittle, and almost cookie-like. Everything went better than expected. Just have to wait for the taste test now :) I've got a peach, plum, & nectarine pie cooking with a granola crumble top. Thanks a bunch!

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Wow, I am so glad to find this recipe, and I'll be trying it soon. I was a faithful fan of "Cook's Illustrated" before I went vegan, and I have more confidence in a vegan cook who researches, tests, and explains recipes in the "Cook's Illustrated" style. I'll report back after I make your Vegan Pecan Pie for my sweetie's birthday. He doesn't want cake.
Reviewed by Kathryn August 16, 2011

I'm impressed!

Wow, I am so glad to find this recipe, and I'll be trying it soon. I was a faithful fan of "Cook's Illustrated" before I went vegan, and I have more confidence in a vegan cook who researches, tests, and explains recipes in the "Cook's Illustrated" style. I'll report back after I make your Vegan Pecan Pie for my sweetie's birthday. He doesn't want cake.

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This crust was exactly as you said it would be! Flaky deliciousness.. Made a blackberry and a cherry pie, my guests gushed about how flaky and amazing the crust was. Thank you!
Rating 
 
5.0
Reviewed by Kelli April 24, 2011

Rave reviews!

This crust was exactly as you said it would be! Flaky deliciousness.. Made a blackberry and a cherry pie, my guests gushed about how flaky and amazing the crust was. Thank you!

Owner's reply

Hi Kelli, So glad this crust worked well for you. Thanks for sharing!

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