It seems odd to talk about the latest “fashion” in food, but there really are seasonal and trendy food fashions! Pick up any home or female-focused magazine in any waiting room or grocery store check-out lane and you’ll see that “Rustic Pie Crusts” are IN!
This is a great thing, because they are so EASY! No need to double the pie crust recipe, and for those of you who are nervous about lifting the top crust onto the pie filling or fussing with lattice-work, all you do for a rustic crust is roll out your bottom crust, lay it in the pie plate, fill with your favorite fruit, then fold over the edges. Seriously … that’s it. Couldn’t be easier, and with this recipe, you’ll be baking delicious pies all year long!
Rustic Pie crust made with mesquite flour
My crust recipe is literally my grandma’s famous flaky pie crust… with only one substitution – the flour! Makes one 8- or 9-inch pie crust; double amounts for a two-crust (slightly more labor-intensive!) pie.
I used to recommend refrigerating this crust before rolling, but I’ve learned through much trial and error that it is actually much easier to work with the dough if it is allowed to rest at room temperature for about 30 minutes before rolling out. I’ve also experimented with different ingredient temperatures, and where I’ve netted out is that the best, flakiest, easiest to work with crust comes from using super cold shortening AND butter (I like the mixture of both, since they have differing melting points) and very cold water. Recently, I’ve been using vodka for half of the liquid in the recipe and it works even better! Very easy to roll out, transfer and pinch, and the alcohol bakes out, leaving a flaky crust!
For even more pointers on making pie crusts, watch my video how-to or listen to my Blog Talk Radio show all about pie crusts! See below for step-by-step photos! (See this pie on FOX News DC!)
(I give an option below of using 2 tablespoons of mesquite flour in this recipe. By no means must you use this option, but healthy mesquite flour aids in browning the crust, and it adds a subtle cocoa flavor that is quite pleasant in tarts and pastries.)
1 Pie Crust
To Make the Dough:
In a large bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients. Cut in the shortening and butter using a pastry cutter (or the flat paddle attachment on a stand mixer or a food processor). Add the vodka/water gradually to make the consistency you need to form a ball – err on the side of it being wetter rather than crumbly. Form a disc with the dough, wrap in plastic and set aside on the counter for 30 minutes while you make your filling.
Rolling the Dough:
After allowing the dough to rest, roll the pastry out onto a surface dusted well with Jules Gluten Free™ All Purpose Flour. A flexible pastry sheet (e.g. Silpat) is ideal for rolling and transferring a crust.
Roll to a diameter at least 1 inch larger than the diameter of your pie pan.
To Transfer the Crust:
1- Gently lift an edge of the rolled out crust over your rolling pin. 2 -With one hand under the baking mat, use the pin in the other hand to lift the crust so that it is supported by the rolling pin as you pull the crust gently off of the baking mat. 3- Transfer gently over the pie plate to center. 4- Drop gently into the plate and press in with floured fingers. 5- Pat into your pan.
For a One Crust Pie, cut the edges of the crust to an even length of approximately 1-inch larger than the diameter of your pie plate.
Gently fold the edges under, then press with a fork or pinch into a fluted design between your fingers.
Fill with your desired filling.
For a Rustic Crust, simply fill with your desired filling, fold the edges over toward the center of the pie, and you’re done!
For a Two-Crust Pie, double the ingredients and divide the doubled pie crust dough before setting aside. Shape each half into a disc and wrap each in plastic wrap. Repeat the rolling out steps and lay the crust gently onto the top of the filled pie pan. Cut off all but 1/2 – 1 inch of excess pie crust from around the edge of the pan. For fruit pies, cut small slits in the center of the top crust to allow the hot steam to escape. Brush the crust with egg wash or your milk of choice – this step helps it to brown nicely.
If there are any tears in your top crust, never fear! Simply take leftover crust and use decorative cookie cutters to cut out leaves, pumpkins, etc., wet the backside of each cut-out with a dab of milk, then lay on top of any tears to cover the flaw. Fold approximately 1/2 inch of excess pie crust over all around the edge to form the crust, then using your fingers, press a fluted design in the crust to finish. Cover crust edges with foil or a pie saver to minimize burning. Remove the foil with 10 minutes left of baking.
Single-Crust or Rustic Pie: Preheat oven to 400º F (static). Brush the crust with egg wash or milk, then cover edges with foil and bake for 15 minutes. Reduce heat to 375º F (static), remove foil, brush again with egg wash or milk and bake an additional 30 minutes, or follow directions for your specific pie recipe. (Cover again with foil if the crust is browning too much during the bake).
Double-Crust Pie: Preheat oven to 400º F (static). Brush the crust with egg wash or milk, then cover edges with foil and bake for 15 minutes. Reduce heat to 375º F (static), remove foil and brush again with egg wash or milk. Bake an additional 35-45 minutes, or until the juices are bubbling, or follow directions for your specific pie recipe. (Cover again with foil if the crust is browning too much during the bake).