This is the only vegan pie crust recipe you’ll ever need. It’s ultra flaky, crisp and tender, super easy to make, and you couldn’t possibly tell that it’s vegan! The secret to its next-level flakiness lies in using frozen, sliced vegan butter and in an extra laminating step, which also makes the pie dough easier to handle.This recipe makes enough pie dough for one single-crust 9 inch (23cm) pie, but is easily doubled if you want to make a double-crust pie (with a lid or lattice).
1 ½tbspcaster/superfine or granulated sugar(If you want to use the pie crust in a savoury recipe, you can reduce the sugar to 1 tsp.)
35g(⅓ stick) cold vegan butter, from the fridge(I used the Stork Baking Block, but other brands like the Earth Balance Vegan Buttery Sticks or Miyoko’s European-Style Cultured Vegan Butter should work as well. Make sure to use a firm butter block/stick, not a soft spread.)
100g(¾ stick + 1 tbsp) frozen vegan butter, sliced into ½ inch (1cm) square pieces about 2mm thin(You can slice the frozen butter before starting and then freeze it again until needed. It's easiest to slice the vegan butter after it's been frozen for about 3-4 hours, not overnight.)
80g(⅓ cup) cold water
Making the vegan pie dough:
In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar and salt.Tip: If you're working in a very warm kitchen, you can chill the bowl and your combined dry ingredients in the fridge for about 30 minutes before starting. This will reduce the chances of the vegan butter getting too warm and soft when you make the pie dough.
Add the cold vegan butter (from the fridge) and use your fingertips to work it into the dry ingredients until you get a mixture resembling breadcrumbs.Tip:This prevents gluten development in subsequent steps and ensures that your baked pastry will be nice and tender.
Add the frozen, sliced vegan butter. Toss it in the dry ingredients, and make sure that it’s all evenly covered in flour. If any pieces of butter have clumped together, break them up.Tip: Using frozen butter prevents it from melting too quickly, and maximises the flakiness of the final, baked pastry.
Add the cold water, 1-2 tablespoons at a time. After each addition of water, gently toss all the ingredients together with your fingertips, ensuring that the flour is evenly hydrated. Tip: You might not need all the water listed in the recipe, as different brands/types of all-purpose flour absorb slightly different amounts of moisture. I’ve found that I usually use all of it.
When the dough starts clumping together, give it a quick knead (pressing it against the sides of the bowl) until it comes together in a ball. Don’t over-work the dough as that can result in gluten development and a tough pastry.The final vegan pie dough won’t look smooth: it might crack slightly in places and it will look a bit “shaggy” – that’s perfectly fine. As long as there aren’t any completely dry spots (all the flour should be hydrated) and you can see large pieces of butter, you can proceed with the next step. If you do see patches of dry flour, sprinkle them with some extra cold water. (See blog post for photos of what the pie dough should look like.)
Wrap the pie dough in cling film and chill in the fridge for 1-2 hours. I don’t recommend freezing the dough at this stage, as it can lead to cracking when you roll it out in the laminating step.
Laminating the pie dough:
Lightly flour your work surface and the top of the chilled pie dough.
Tap on the pie dough with a rolling pin to make it more pliable.
Roll it out into a long rectangle. The exact dimensions don’t matter much, just make sure that you don’t roll it thinner than about 3-4mm. While rolling, make sure that it doesn’t stick to the surface, by occasionally sliding your hands underneath.
Turn the dough so that a short end is closest to you. Brush away any excess flour and fold the dough as you would an A4 letter – the top third down towards the middle and the bottom third up over it. This is called a "letter fold".
Rotate the dough by 90 degrees (so that the open ends are closest and farthest from you). Roll out into a similar-sized rectangle and repeat the letter fold. Tip: If the dough becomes too soft at any point, chill it in the fridge for 15-20 minutes before proceeding.
After the two letter folds, wrap the dough in cling film and chill it in the fridge for at least 30 minutes or until needed.
Use as instructed in the chosen pie recipe.This recipe makes enough pie dough for one single-crust 9 inch (23cm) pie, but is easily doubled if you want to make a double-crust pie (with a lid or lattice).
The vegan pie crust keeps well wrapped tightly in cling film for 1 week in the fridge or 2-3 weeks in the freezer. When you want to use it, allow it to thaw at room temperature before using. If you press down on it with a finger, it should leave an indentation – but it should feel firm, not too soft to the touch.
Recipe by The Loopy Whisk (www.theloopywhisk.com).