Mixed Berry Pie

To me, pies are the quintessential pastry in baking. There is something charming about the intricately folded dough on top of a mystery concoction of berries, spiced apples or out-of-the-box rhubarb.

Despite the appetizing allure to pies, making the crust always seemed like a daunting task. Consequently, I didn’t get around to attempting crust until recently and it turned out to be a fairly simple task with even simpler ingredients.

After a few tries and tweaks, this is the recipe that I rely on. Some use vegetable shortening in place of the butter, but what is a pie crust without the flaky, buttery goodness? This recipe makes enough dough for two separate crusts for pies with fillings so you can cover the dish and the top.

Here are a few more tips before diving into the sticky task of pie crust baking:

  • Make sure you have a large, clean and flat surface that you can roll your dough on to directly.
  • Prevent the crust from sticking to the rolling-pin, your hands, the surface, etc. by sprinkling it with a good amount of flour.
  • While you can use a fork or two knives to combine the flour and butter, a pastry blender is a good tool to invest in specifically for this task.
  • Do not play with the dough too much because it will make it tough and not flake properly. Combine all the ingredients well, but don’t over do it.
  • Be ready to get your hands messy because there is no better tool to combine everything.

Vegan Pie Crust

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup vegan butter (Earth Balance is a good option)
  • Around 8 tablespoons ice water

Directions:

  1. Combine the flour and salt in a bowl.
  2. Cube the butter and using the pastry blender (or a fork, or two knives) combine it with the flour and salt mixture until it becomes crumbled.
  3. Add the cold water a tablespoon at a time and combine into flour, salt and butter mixture with hands until the dough is thick enough to hold together.
  4. Separate into two sections, one slightly larger (for the dish crust) than the other (the topping crust) and shape into balls.
  5. On a floured surface and using a floured rolling-pin, roll the larger ball into a circle that is about 1 inch larger around than the pie dish.
  6. For an easy transfer, roll the circle of dough on to the rolling-pin, then unroll over the dish slowly, pressing it lightly on to the bottom of the dish. With a knife, cut the larger bits of overhang so there is an even amount of dough hanging off the sides of the dish.
  7. On a floured surface and using a floured rolling-pin, roll the smaller ball into a circle for the top of the pie. You can get creative with this part, just make sure there is some sort of venting so the pie doesn’t burst. My favorite look is the classic criss-cross pattern achieved by cutting 1/2-inch strips and layering them 1/2-inch apart on the pie horizontally across the surface, then perpendicular across the other way.
  8. Fill with whatever recipe you want, my favorite is a mix of berries like strawberries, raspberries and blackberries.
  9. Fold the overhang and pinch it closed with the top crust into a high edge.
  10. Depending on the filling’s ingredients, bake the pie according to the directions.
  11. Allow to cool and enjoy!
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