You can call me Edith (weizenwind) wrote in vegancooking,
You can call me Edith

Fancy pie crusts

I've probably posted about this before, but I've just gotten re-excited about the many possibilities for fancy yet easy pie crusts. Add nuts! Add herbs! Add spices! It takes so little extra time and effort, but the resulting crusts are extra-fabulous and impressive.

Basic recipe:

2 cups flour (could easily be half whole wheat)
1/2 cup chilled vegan margarine
1/2 tsp. salt
just under 1/2 cup cold water

Combine the first three ingredients with your fingers or a pastry blender (or a food processor) until the consistency of coarse sand. Very gently stir in the water with a fork (or pulse with the food processor). In theory this makes two crusts, but they'd have to be pretty small. I find I get one proper crust and a couple galettes out of it, but I like the galettes for lunches.

Divide the dough and roll out on a floured board. If you don't have a rolling pin you can use anything smooth and cylindrical. I use an old wine bottle; a Nalgene-type bottle works, too.

Galettes are a type of free-form tart. Take a piece of dough roughly the size of a baseball or tangerine and roll it out to regular pie-crust thickness (about 1/8"). You should get a rough circle maybe 7" across. Put about 1/2 cup of filling (not too moist) in the center and then fold the edges over one at a time, leaving some uncovered space at the center. Here is an example of a blueberry one with a plain crust. Press lightly around the corners to help seal them and bake along with the pie at 400-450, depending on the crust and filling.

To fancy up your crust try adding 1/2 cup of finely chopped/ground (again, coarse-sand texture--the food processor is your friend!) nuts and or dried herbs or spices. One of my favorite combos is walnuts with dill (currently in the oven with a tofu-spinach-mushroom filling). You could do almonds and cinnamon or cashews and nutmeg for fruit pies or Italian seasoning with cashews or walnuts for a pot pie.

One thing to remember--the crusts will brown more quickly with the nuts in them, so be careful not to let them burn.
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