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Humble Pie Crust: Easy, Flaky and Animal-Free

Close Up Bakes PiesElsewhere we’ve talked about pie, like our popular sweet potato pie recipe. With the dark days of Winter now here, a warm pie or turnover can really be satisfying. Delicious and dairy free, still some fretted about the pie crust, butter-filled and all.  Well, pie experts agree: the flakiest tender crusts do not need butter.

We’ve used this easy recipe for everything from potato curry “pasties” to apple cranberry, sweet potato and more. Yes, rolling out dough takes a little practice but once Close Up Baked Piemastered, it’s a skill that will amaze your friends and family and come in handy forever after.  So, indulge. Be grateful and humble for everything you have and eat some pie on these cold dark nights.


1 1/4 Cup Unbleached Flour (preferably organic)

1/4 Tsp. Salt

1/2 Cup Organic Vegetable Shortening (I’ve tried Nutiva and Spectrum but there are others)

3-5 Tbsp. Ice water

Dough BallBlack handle Pastry BlenderHOW TO MAKE IT:

Step One: Mix flour and salt in a small bowl

Step Two: Using a pastry cutter/blender, cut shortening into flour mixture until it forms small crumbs (like cornmeal).  If you do not have a pastry blender, you can also do this in a food processor or even the old-fashioned way using two butter knives but now we’ve been warned, it isn’t that easy without the pastry cutter. Spend the $2.99 and get one – they last forever.

Rolling it OutStep Three: Add ice-cold water , starting with 3 Tbsp and increasing a spoonful at a time. You do not want too much water, just enough so it holds together to form a ball. This usually requires about 4 Tbsp. or so.

Step Four: Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.

Step Five: Divide pastry into pieces, either four for about 5 inch turnovers or two for two crusts for an 8″ pie or one for a larger pie pan. Using two sheets of wax paper, roll dough out to about 1/8″ thick. Handle as Pre-Bake Pieslittle as possible so dough does not become tough.

Step Six: Seal edges with a little water for turnovers or press together between fingers to flute on Full Sweet Potato Pie Ready to bakeedges. Bake in 350 degree over once filled with your favorite filling.