Crust for All Occasions
When Brianna and Mary first became roommates, they had to navigate the tricky waters of communal living. How do you tell your roommate the mug they made in college pottery class (and are insanely proud of) is horrendously ugly and you don’t want guests to see it? And decorating. Sure, that Led Zeppelin poster was cool in college. But no way is it going on the wall next to our french revival-style bookshelves.
However nothing caused quite as much of an uproar as the Great Crust Throw-Down. At least a week of sulking and a full day of snarky comebacks led Brianna to finally declare the need for a ‘bake-off’. Now, we won’t tell you who won…but let’s just say there were some clear winners and a lot of flour covering the carpet when we were done.
With our winning recipes crowned victorious, we proceeded to combine our powers of baking for good and tinker until we created the following three recipes. Because a good crust is everything. It can make pies exceptional, dinners memorable. Crust shouldn’t be a part. It should be the best part!
Recipe 1: Single Crust Pies
gluten-free, dairy-free, paleo, no-bake
Ideally for single crust, sweet desserts, this recipe is everything you could hope for in a crust. Warm, doughy flavor that is perfect for pumpkin pies, chocolate tortes, cheesecakes or any recipe that requires a sweet crust.
- 1 cup cashews
- Variations: ½ cup cashews, ½ cup almonds, walnuts, and/or other tasty nut.
- 1 cup dates
- 1 tsp salt
- Optional spices: Cinnamon, nutmeg, cardamom, ginger.
- Soak dates for 10 minutes in hot water, press excess water out.
- Process dates thoroughly in food processor.
- Add nuts, salt, and 1-2 tbsp of desired spices. Blend until preferred texture is achieved.
- Press mixture in to a baking pan.
- If no bake, add filling and serve!
- If baking your filling, first bake at 350 for 10 minutes, let cool, add filling and cook required amount for filling recipe!
Recipe 2: Classic Crust
options for: dairy-free, gluten-free, nut-free
Traditional flaky pie crust…sans gluten, nuts and dairy if preferred!
Yield: 2 pie crusts
- 1½ cup flour of choice (wheat or gluten-free blend)
- Our preferred brand of gf flour is Namaste
- ½ cup butter (vegan or cow)
- 1-4 tbsp cold water
- 1 tsp salt
- 3 tsp sugar (for pie recipes)
- Add dry ingredients, cut cold butter in to the mixture.
- Knead until flour is fully saturated.
- Crust should only just stick together (add 2 Tbsp more if planning to freeze).
Tips and Tricks
Depending on the type of flour you are using, the moisture will absorb at different rates. Therefore, it is best if you knead until all the flour is incorporated, then allow the mixture to ‘rest’ for 10 minutes before adding additional cold water.
When using gluten free flours, it can be difficult to transfer the crust to the pan, because gluten acts as a glue, holding everything together. While adding xanthem gum to your crust can help, it still can be difficult to transfer! You have two options:
Roll dough on to wax paper, flip quickly on to the waiting pie pan and slowly peel the wax paper from the dough, allowing the dough to sink in to the pan or cover the top of the filling. This is the best method for applying a top crust.
Roll dough on to parchment paper, place dough AND paper in pan, then cut the excess paper from the edge.The benefit is that you can slice the pie once it cools, freeze for 4+ hours, then remove the frozen pie. Remove the paper and have a delicious, free-standing dessert! This is a great option for parties!
To keep crust from sticking, coat your pie pan in oil, then sprinkle a healthy dose of flour over the top. Shake flour to throughly cover and knock any excess in to the sink.
Recipe 3: Crumble Top
options for: nut-free, dairy-free, gluten-free, paleo
Crumble tops work well for crisps, sweet breads, cookie bottomed desserts, or with a classic crust bottom when you want something more fun on top!
- 1 cup butter (vegan or cow)
- ¼ cup flour (rice, gf blend almond (paleo), coconut (paleo) or wheat)
- ½ cup almond slices, pecan pieces, or oatmeal (nut-free)
- ½ cup dark brown sugar or coconut sugar (paleo)
- Optional: 1 tbsp cinnamon and a few shakes of nutmeg
- Process butter, sugar and flour until crumbly.
- Add in nuts/oatmeal, mix well and sprinkle over dish as a topping.