Pi(e) day was Friday and as with any other good food holiday, we had to indulge. I tried my hand at a coconut cream pie and it was just as delicious as it was pretty. I was feeling pretty smug about it and the fact that I slipped whole wheat into it undetected didn’t curb my ego trip. When it comes to pie crusts, I’m a pretty staunch supporter of butter crusts and have worked tirelessly to make them as beautiful as my mother’s flawless shortening based crusts. It can take some practice, but even the less glamorous practice pies are still delicious. (For some great tips/tricks check out this post from Smitten Kitchen.) As you may have gathered, we’re also always trying to find ways to sneak whole wheat into as many things as possible and pie crust is no exception. Since discovering this recipe a few years ago, it’s become the only pie crust we use. Sweet, savory, it does it all.
When going the “sneaky route” and using white whole wheat pastry flour you get a flaky, buttery crust that no one will ever guess has been “healthified.” When not tiptoeing around and using straight whole wheat flour the crust takes on a darker color and slightly heartier taste that is perfect for potpies or our favorite crumbly apple pie. This recipe is for a single pie crust, if you’re making a pie with a top crust, simply double the recipe.
Sneaky Whole Wheat Pie Crust – Adapted from Wildly Affordable Organic
- 3/4 C all-purpose flour, plus more for rolling
- 1/2 C white whole wheat flour (or wheat flour if you’re not being sneaky)
- 1/2 tsp sugar, optional (for use in sweet pies)
- 1/4 tsp salt (omit if using salted butter)
- 1/2 C cold butter (1 stick)
- 4-5 TBSP ice water (or more)
- Mix dry ingredients.
- Cut the butter into squares and coat in the flour mixture. Continue cutting in the butter until the mixture resembles coarse sand or the butter chunks are smaller than peas. You can do this with a pastry blender, food processor, two butter knives, or a cheese grater. My favorite option is to grate the butter (after the cube has been frozen) and my second favorite is the two butter knives/pastry blender route because my crusts seem to turn out better that way. (When working with a pastry blender or knives, you have to work fairly quickly. If the butter starts to warm, you can easily slip it in the freezer for a few minutes to resolidify.)
- Slowly add the ice water and either pulse the food processor or use a rubber spatula to mix the dough a little bit between each addition. Continue until the mixture almost forms a ball. It’s important not to over mix, so don’t be concerned about it being a nice smooth ball.
- Pour the dough (if it’s still a bit shaggy, that’s okay) onto some plastic wrap, wrap up, and put in the refrigerator for a 15-30 minutes (or longer). If your dough was still in pieces when you put it in the fridge (as mine often is) you can press it together inside the plastic wrap after it has chilled.
- Place the dough on a generously floured surface and sprinkle more flour on top. Roll out the crust to the size of your pie plate. (You can test the size by laying the pie plate on top of the dough.) Transfer to the pie plate. The best method I’ve found to complete the transfer is to loosely wrap it around the rolling pin and then gently unroll it in the pie dish.
- Trim the edges so there’s still a generous overhang. Fold the edge under so it lays on the edge of the plate and crimp the edges as desired. Fill and bake as recipe requires.
- For pie crust “cookies:” Put any scraps on a cookie sheet, sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar, and bake for 8-10 minutes.
Note: Crust can be stored wrapped in plastic wrap inside a ziploc bag in the fridge for four days or the freezer for one month. I often make a double batch and save half for later using this method. If in the freezer, pull out the day before use and let it thaw in the fridge.