Wednesday, 31 July 2013

Easiest & Fastest Vegan Pie Crust

Wow, I really seem to be venturing into Peanut Crumpet's land of veganism. Not because I am a vegan, but simply because Coconut Crumpet enjoys the wholesomeness of vegan recipes~ I still have a lot to learn from Peanut Crumpet; she has some awesome possum recipes. Be sure to check them out in our collection of recipes!

Poor Coconut Crumpet has been admiring the summer sunshine...from indoors. After spending all day in the house, I had the sudden urge at 8pm to make pie and started Goggling recipes for inspiration. My experiences with pie crust haven't been so pleasant. Even when I follow a recipe exactly, making sure the butter is cold and cutting it in with a pastry blender, there is always something that isn't quite right. Whether it be a really hard end product, too greasy, or shrinkage, my pie-making skills are far from stellar.

Since I have already pulled out my museum-artifact of a food processor to make my family-pleasing Vegan Nutty Nanaimo Bars (YOU MUST MAKE THESE!!), I figured it'd be the perfect opportunity to try using it to make pie crust dough. After watching Chef John of Food Wishes' video on Youtube, I was convinced I needed to try it for myself. I have inserted the video at the end of this post so you can visually see the steps and consistency at each step. He's videos are super lively; his happy voice shows he actually enjoys his work. In an essence, this is the fastest and most fail-proof way I have ever completed a pie crust. Ever.

Making Peach Basil Hand Pies

In his recipe, he uses frozen butter, but since I tend to gravitate as far as possible from butter, I decided to try using frozen coconut oil. The changing states of coconut oil continue to amaze me; it can be used in place of butter in every possible recipe I can think of. Melted, softened, or frozen, just like butter. It's magical! The only difference is that since it's currently summer, the coconut oil only needed to be blitzed for about 30 seconds to become pea-sized crumbs rather than the 1 minute for butter, as it softens at room temperature. Coconut oil is a translucent white colour so you'll have to look closely to see if the pieces are small enough. Beware that coconut oil melts fast so be sure to also work quickly when molding mixture into a ball.

Although the food processor method helps me successfully put together a dough, I'm still not very good with handling it. The fact that coconut oil changes state so quickly doesn't really make things any easier either. If using coconut oil in place of butter, be sure to let the dough sit at room temperature for at least half hour after fulling chilling in the fridge to let the centre become pliable. Essentially, we're waiting for the bits of coconut oil inside to soften so it doesn't crumble once you try and roll it out. Roll the dough out between two layers of plastic wrap or parchment paper to ensure the dough doesn't stick to everything.

The flaky layers of Vegan Pie Crust
So how does this pie dough turn out when baked? I used this dough to make Peach Mini Galettes and Hand Pies. The result was phenomenal. An definite improvement from my previous attempts at pie crust. The crust is sturdy, fragrant, and just as crispy and flaky as the video shows. It is a tad bit greasy to the touch because the clumps of coconut oil melt as it bakes in the oven, but it is unnoticeable when eaten. I normally don't care much for flaky pastries but this was so. insanely. good. Worth every second of my time to shape, chill, and put together the pastries. Never again will I use butter in my pie crusts.

Easiest & Fastest Vegan Pie Crust
Adapted from Food Wishes
Yield: 1 layer pie crust

  • ½ cup coconut oil
  • 2 cups all purpose flour, divided
  • 1 tbsp granulated sugar
  • A few grinds of Himalayan pink sea salt
  • 6 tbsp ice water
  1. Put measured coconut oil into a silicon mold and place in freezer until completely frozen. Remove from mold and cut into half-inch cubes. Keep cubes in freezer until ready to use.
  2. In a food processor, pour half of the flour in. Add the cubed frozen coconut oil. Pour other half of the flour on top. Your frozen coconut oil should now be sandwiched between two equal layers of flour. 
  3. Add sugar and salt into the food processor. Pulse in short intervals until coconut oil becomes pea-sized pieces. This took about 30 seconds.
  4. Drizzle ice water over crumbly flour mixture in food processor. Pulse in slightly longer intervals until mixture becomes fine crumbs. Like the texture of almond meal.
  5. Thoroughly scrape down the mixture, making sure to scrape off any wetter parts from the S-blade and bottom of food processor. 
  6. Pulse a few more times just to incorporate. Press mixture between two fingers to see if it becomes a dough. If so, pour mixture onto a clean surface (I used a silicon baking mat) and press with hands to make a ball. Flatten slightly into a disk and wrap with plastic wrap and chill in fridge for at least 1 hour, no more than that or, due to the characteristics of coconut oil, the dough will be rock solid to the core. You want it to still be soft enough to roll out. Use this versatile pie crust for both sweet or savoury pies, galettes, or tarts.
Video instructions on Food Wishes

Love from Coconut Crumpet's Corner ♡

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