Friday, April 27, 2012

Hybrid Pie Crust

Pie is my favorite desert. I love pie, especially crust. Generally I have always used Betty Crocker's recipe from her Complete Everyday Cookbook.  Lately I've been trying to eat more healthy and so I've been experimenting with pie crust especially for making Quiche (I'll be posting a recipe soon).

I've been making the normal recipe for years by using half whole wheat and half white flour. It is good. I have never had anyone say it tastes bad or much different, and I love the more brown color in the crust. I've made it with both lard and shortening (I prefer lard because it is less processed than shortening).

I've been trying to find ways to eliminate vegetable shortening from our diet. I just don't think we should eat fats that are so firm at room temperature. Just imagine what that can do in our blood stream.

For the past year or two I've been adding flax seed to our diet.  I decided to experiment with adding it to pie crust and I found that the natural oil in the seeds that is released when you blend/mill the flax made it possible to decrease the amount of added fat in the crust.

This is how I "mill" my flax seed.  It's tricky because you want to pour the seeds in when the blender is running high or med-high. I put the funnel in the top of the blender to keep them from flying back out. I quickly dump my cup of seeds in and then turn  the cup over inside the funnel. Blend for just a few to maybe 15 seconds max. Sometimes I have a few rogue un-milled seeds but I don't mind. If you blend too long it gets hot and turns into a pasty cake under the blender blades.  You can still use it, it's just harder to get it out of the blender.

You can buy pre-milled flax but I hear it's less healthy. Sometimes it gets overheated and loses some of the vitamins, and I think it would be more likely to go rancid in storage.

I have used both golden and regular brown flax seeds and both work fine.  I'd say about 1/2 cup flax seeds will make 2/3 cup of milled flax.

I call this crust a Hybrid because the appearance, and texture is similar to a crumb crust but it's still salty, made from a dough, and baked like a traditional pastry crust.

Hybrid Pie Crust
(for a 9-10 inch deep dish crust)

2/3 cup   milled flax seed (see first step)
2/3 cup   stone ground whole wheat flour
1/4 cup   unsalted butter softened (1/2 stick)
1/2 tsp    salt (unless you want to use salted butter)
3-4 Tbsp ice water

 Preheat oven for your pie recipe or for a pre-baked pie shell (for pudding pies etc),set at 475 degrees F.

Measure all of your dry ingredients into a bowl. [Note for this crust I used golden flax seeds, if you use brown flax seeds it will look darker.]
 Check on the munchkins underfoot. Feed them snacks to keep them happy.
 Add butter to the bowl and 'cut in' using pastry blender or fork.  Occasionally I used my hands with this mixture because my fork got jammed.  You want it evenly mixed in nice and crumbly.
Add the ice water. Start with 3 Tbsp. If it doesn't hold together well, add more.  You don't want it all sticky-gooey.
 Take your dough and pat it into your pie pan using your hands or whatever method you like.  I like using the glass pie pan because I can old it up to the light and see if I have any thin spots.
(Note the dough in this pic. is different than the stuff above. this recipe I used brown flax with part white and wheat flour).

When your done it will look something like this.

Now you can use this for any recipe that calls for a prepared pie crust.  Pour in pumpkin pie filling, egg mixture for a quiche, I don't know about using it for a covered pie... unless you want a strudel top apple pie... just make probably 1.5 times the recipe above... mmmm.

Before you bake: COVER YOUR EDGES WITH FOIL. I think the butter makes it burn easier.

If you want to pre-bake your crust then poke a few holes and bake at 475 degrees for 8-10 min. [I haven't tried that yet but that is what I plan to do next time I make a pudding or lemon meringue pie].


When I made this with my Quiche it somewhat clung to the pan but after running my knife around the outside edge the slices came out nicely.
Green Quiche with Ham. Recipe coming soon.


  1. I made this last night with Bob's Red Mill Whole Wheat Pastry Flour and coconut oil (do not melt). It was a bit flakier than usual.


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