Do you suffer from crust-o-phobia?
Not the crackly-crisp crust of a baguette. Nor the shiny, whisper-thin crust atop a pan of brownies.
You know what crust I'm talking about: pie crust.
And when you think about it, it's not so much the pie crust itself you fear. I mean, what's so hard about combining flour and salt and butter and water?
No, it's the rolling-out part that gets to you – right?
Dough sticking to the pin. And to the counter. A rolled-out "circle" that resembles Australia. Or maybe South America.
Oh, and just try to pick that delicate crust up and lay it into its waiting pan... it cracks in the middle, the edges fall off, and you end up furiously flinging the whole thing into the trash.
Been there? Done that? If this scenario sounds familiar, I'm about to make your Thanksgiving pie-baking a whole lot easier.
Pie crust-challenged reader – meet No-Roll Pie Crust.
I call this crust the easy-as-pie crust. Use a fork to stir a few simple ingredients together in a bowl, then dump the clumpy mass into your pan. From then on, it's just like Play-Doh; simply press and mold the dough onto the bottom and up the sides of your pan. Remember to give it a nice crimp around the edge.
Add your favorite filling, and bake.
Trust me, it's as simple as that. And, bonus: this crisp, tasty crust is vegan, and contains neither trans fats nor cholesterol – for those following a special diet.
Ready to have your pie crust-baking life transformed? Read on.
Now, you have your choice of making a single or double pie crust here; I'm going to give you the ingredients for a double crust, but when you check out the recipe you'll see the single-ingredient amounts, as well.
Whisk together the following:
3 cups (12 3/4 ounces) King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
In a separate bowl, whisk together the following:
2/3 cup oil: canola, vegetable, olive, peanut, your choice; or melted butter
6 tablespoons cold water
Pour the oil mixture over the dry ingredients, and stir with a spatula or fork until the dough is evenly moistened.
Pat the dough across the bottom of the pie pan and up the sides. A flat-bottomed measuring cup or glass helps smooth it out.
Crimp the edges of the crust, or flatten with the tines of a fork.
You can choose to roll out the remaining dough to make a conventional top crust, if you like; yes, the dough is perfectly roll-able, for those comfortable with a pin.
But if you want to leave your rolling pin in the cupboard, simply crumble the remaining dough over the filling in the pan. Since I'm making an apple pie, I've added 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon and 2 tablespoons sugar to the topping dough, for extra flavor.
Add your filling. Then either roll the remaining dough and lay it on top; or crumble it as is over the filling, like I've done here.
How about that crust? Looks good, eh?
I decided to do a small experiment, to see the difference in taste between plain vegetable oil and peanut oil, which I use for deep-frying. Then, for the heck of it, I added melted butter as an option, as well.
I preferred the flavor of the peanut oil crust to the one made with plain vegetable oil. But truth be told, the butter crust was the tastiest of all. Go with butter, if you like it and you're not avoiding dairy/cholesterol.
How about canola oil? Or olive oil? I haven't tried canola (just don't like it), but mild olive oil makes a lovely crust, with only a hint of olive oil flavor.
But wait, there's more –
Even without the typical layers of solid fat/liquid that create steam, which in turn generates flakiness – these crusts actually exhibit a bit of flake, aside from being tender and yummy.
Tender and tasty AND flaky, I give you no-roll apple pie.
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