Rich, flaky and buttery, this whole-wheat pie crust is amazing. If you don’t have, or can’t find, whole-wheat pastry flour, use instead 1/2 cup whole-wheat flour and 3/4 cup all-purpose flour. Don’t use 100% whole-wheat flour for pie crust, unless you don’t mind a dense, heavy crust.
It’s best to use European-style butter for this pie crust. It has a lower water content than American butter, which helps to achieve a flaky crust.
Makes 1 pie shell
Total time: 1 hour 10 minutes
Prep: 30 minutes
Inactive: 20 minutes
Cook: 20 minutes
7 tablespoons (100 grams) very cold unsalted European-style butter
1 1/4 cups whole wheat pastry flour
1/4 cup powdered sugar (optional, for sweet pies)
1/4 teaspoon salt
2-4 tablespoons very cold water
1 egg white
1 tablespoon powdered sugar (optional, for sweet pies)
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Measure out 4 tablespoons cold water in a drinking glass and place glass in the freezer. Cut the butter into cubes and place in the freezer for the couple of minutes it takes you to gather up the rest of the ingredients – this will ensure its coldness.
2. Place flour, powdered sugar if using and salt in food processor. Pulse to combine. Add cold butter cubes and pulse a few times, until crumbly. Some pieces of butter will be smaller,some larger. That’s OK. Don’t over-process:
3. Add 2 tablespoons of ice water and pulse shortly. Add up to two more, pulsing shortly after each time, just until ingredients gather into a rough dough:
Remove dough onto a piece of plastic wrap, and pat into a disc. Wrap and place in the freezer for 10 minutes.
4. Remove dough from freezer. Roll out on a well-floured surface, using a well-floured rolling pin, into a thin, 10-inch circle. Roll away from you and towards you – don’t roll “down” pushing on the dough. After each time you roll, gently rotate the dough, and if needed, add a little more flour to the surface below the dough – this will help prevent it from sticking. In the dough below, at the mid-rolling stage, you can see the little specks of butter dotting the dough. This is exactly how we want it to look:
5. Fold the rolled out dough into quarters. Place in an ungreased (dough has plenty of grease) 9-inch pie dish and carefully unfold, fitting loosely and then pressing into pan, pushing down to the bottom and sides. Trim any excess dough with clean scissors, and use the scraps to patch any places with holes or without enough dough. If you wish, pinch the edges to create a decorative crust (see photos below).
6. Blind-bake the crust – this short baking session of the empty shell prevents it from becoming soggy when you pour in the wet filling. To prevent puffing and shrinking of the dough while blind baking, line it first with a piece of parchment paper and fill with dried beans (reserved especially for this purpose). Bake 20 minutes, until dry and just beginning to golden. Remove beans, allow to cool slightly, then brush with the egg white wash to seal, another insurance against sogginess.
7. Fill the crust and bake according to the recipe’s instructions. If you’ll need to bake the pie for longer than 45 minutes, the edges might become too dark or even burn, so check on the pie after 45 minutes, and if the edges seem too dark, use a pie shield, or gently wrap them with foil strips, then continue baking.
*Adapted from Whole Foods.