Recently I was at the grocery store and saw that maple leaf cookies have made an appearance again in the front display. These cookies get put in the front of the store every Fall, so their appearance means that the season for blueberries and peaches, pies and watermelon is soon coming to an end to make way for pumpkins and cinnamon. Before the last of the peaches leave with summer, I made this blueberry peach pie using my favorite pie crust recipe to date.
This pie crust doesn’t contain any special ingredients, but rather the way it is made makes it crisper than past pie crusts. Since this pie crust was made to be dairy free (and vegan if you omit the egg wash as well), I used vegan margarine which melts slightly faster than regular butter making preparation speed and technique all the more important to achieve a flaky crust.
Flaky pie crust can be an elusive thing sometimes, especially when using vegan margarine which melts faster than regular butter. In the past I’ve tried to cut the margarine or butter into the dough using a pie cutter or using two forks. This works if working very quickly, but I’ve noticed if I’m going too slow then the butter – which is in very small slivers after using a pie cutter or forks – melts before it hits the oven and the pie crust is not crispy.
This time I used a chef’s knife to cut the butter into thick cubes by making cross-sectional cuts along a margarine stick and then longitudinal cuts so that the stick of margarine was divided into small cubes like a rubik’s cube. Each mini-cube was half to one centimeter in width. When I mixed my cubes into the dough, I made sure not to over knead the dough (squishes the margarine flat) and left the dough slightly lumpy. With the fat cubes dispersed through the dough, they melted in the oven to create layers for days. This has been my crispiest pie crust to date!
There are other ways to make pie crust crispy, and I’ve heard of people using Vodka or shortening to enhance the layering of the pie. These I’ve yet to try, but look forward to combining with this crust recipe to see if I can make the layers any crispier. Stay tuned!
- 2.5 cup flour
- 1 cup Earth Balance vegan margarine (or butter if not vegan)
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ½ cup ice cold water
- 3 tablespoons water (or 1 egg wash if not vegan) + sprinkle of brown sugar
- 2 cups blueberries
- 4 sliced yellow peaches
- ¼ teaspoon pumpkin pie spice (or cinnamon)
- ½ cup sugar (can use ¼ cup if desire less sweetness)
- 1.5 tablespoons cornstarch
- Mix the flour, salt. Add a few ice cubes to a bowel of water to chill the water quickly for step 3.
- Cut vegan margarine/butter into small cubes quickly with a knife (don't touch too much with your hands, which melt the margarine/butter). Add it to the flour and salt, mix together (will look very lumpy, that is ok!)
- Add ¼ cup ice cold water. Keep adding 1 tablespoon at a time till the dough can hold together as you knead. I used about ½ cup ice water total.
- Knead by pressing the palm of your hand into the dough until the dough just comes together (it will look lumpy). Knead quickly (your hands melt the margarine/butter), then separate into two parts and plastic wrap each. Chill in fridge for 4 hours or more.
- Preheat oven to 400F
- Make the filling by first mixing cornstarch, cinnamon, sugar. Then add in the fruits and toss till well mixed.
- Lightly oil a pie pan (can use margarine,butter, or spray oil).
- Take one pie crust roll out of the fridge, and roll it flat with a rolling pin till wide enough in diameter to lay 1 inch past your pie container edge (about 12 inches in diameter total).
- Put crust into the pie pan, then crimp the edges. Poke air holes in the bottom with a toothpick. Bake for 10-15 min to let the crust harden in shape and cook the bottom more.
- Roll second pie crust out. Use a flower cookie cutters to cut out flowers. Make sure each flower is at least a ½ centimeter in thickness so the flower can develop crispy layers during baking.
- Add pie filling to the pie crust in the pie pan. Lay flowers on top.
- Brush with water (egg wash also ok if not vegan), and sprinkle generous brown sugar on top of the pie crust flowers to help them turn golden brown.
- Bake at 400F for 1 hour.
- Let chill for at least 5 hours before cutting to eat.