It’s hard to find a healthy pie crust recipe. While high in fat calories, the coconut oil in this recipe at least makes it a healthy fat. I’d always had trouble getting whole-wheat pie crusts to taste good, but in this case the coconut oil gives it a texture, lightness, and flakiness that whole wheat crust has a hard time obtaining with other fat sources. With pie crust, which has just a few simple, plain ingredients, the success of the finished product depends solely on technique. This method is my own. I’ve perfected it over the years and will do my best to explain the process in this recipe. Too much working of the dough can make the difference between tough and common or flaky and memorable. You can apply these techniques to any pie crust you make, whole wheat crust or not. Once you turn out this type of a pie crust, you will never want to use a purchased crust again.
- Standard method (by hand): In a medium bowl, stir together the flour and salt with a table fork. Taste it for salt. If you feel you need a little more, now is the time to add it. Dump the coconut oil into the middle of it and, before you do anything else, fill the cup you used for the coconut oil half way with ice, then add water until it is almost full. You want to give enough time for the water to get ice cold.
- Still using the same fork, cut the coconut oil into the flour mixture until it is in almost microscopic pieces. You want them to be very small and well integrated into the flour. At this point, pour just a couple of tablespoons of water into the flour mixture. Working quickly and lightly with the same fork, gently mix the water into just the section of the dough that the water hit when it went into the bowl. Add a couple of more tablespoons of water (just estimate with your eyes) in to another section of the flour mixture in the bowl and quickly mix it inches You may need to add more water to your ice in your cup.
- At this point, the dough may be trying to hold together a bit, and that’s a good thing. Continue to work little bits of water in until the dough just starts to hold together fairly well when you press it with your hands.
- If you have a food processor, the process is even easier: Instead of mixing in a bowl, put the flour and salt into your processor with the blades attached and pulse to combine them. Unplug, then taste for salt (you don’t want to whack your fingers off!). Now add in the coconut oil and fill the cup it was in with ice and water. While the water chills, pulse the coconut into the flour mixture until you can’t see any chunks anymore. Adding just a tablespoon or two at a time, pulse the water into the flour mixture. When it just begins to hold together, you are ready to shape it.
- At this point, regardless of the mixing method, turn the dough out onto a floured surface, keeping the water nearby. Roll the dough out, aiming for a round-ish shape. Be prepared- it is probably going to crumble a bit. That is what the remaining water is for. Use the cold water as glue to hold pieces of dough together and continue flouring (to keep it from sticking to the rolling pin) and rolling until the dough is the thickness and size you want for your pie plate. You don’t want to over-roll, as handling it too much will toughen it, but do roll it wide enough for about an inch of hangover on the sides once it is in the pan.
- Gently fold the dough around the rolling pin and use it to transfer the dough to the pie plate. Carefully press the dough into the bottom of the plate and shape the edge of your crust however you want (I usually roll mine under and pinch it to seal and make a pretty edge). It’s probably not going to look picture-perfect, but this is the sign of a homemade crust.
- Continue on with whichever your recipe you are making. This works as well for a quiche or pot pie as it does for a dessert pie.
- If you have leftover pie crust, roll it out again and cut it into short strips (shape does not matter). Sprinkle with cane sugar and cinnamon and bake in the oven at 375 for 8-10 minutes, or until light brown. If you have small children this is a great time to give them your already dusty cutting board and rolling pin, along with some cookie cutters and whatever else you trust them with, and let them make their own “pie crust cookies”. You don’t need to worry about them nibbling dough, as there is nothing in this that will really hurt them. (Although they may not be hungry for dinner.) My kids used to have a lot of fun doing this! I would always bake their creations and let them have them as a special treat.