The class was gathered around the large cutting table turned pie crust 101. Where we would measure our fabric, pin the pattern to cut became the central spot for Mrs. Haile to teach us how to do a new lesson in Home Economics. I'm pretty sure most schools don't offer home economics anymore, seeing that it's an extra in the budget line; but, I flourished there.
Not so much in the sewing department as my meticulous perfectionist side came out and what could take six hours would take me 15 hours to complete a project. However, when it came to the culinary arts, I felt empowered. It was as though the Spirit breathed life in me whispering, "Go, Shine!"
I'm not sure how my love of baking & cooking really came to be. I was never a picky eater. I guess I just always loved food. Well, except pie. Crazy to think that now, considering I adore all things pie (mostly--pumpkin not so much).
There Mrs. Haile showed us with precision to measure by scooping and scraping the top with a level butter knife. Flour, salt, shortening or cold butter & water were the basic ingredients for a pie crust. Everyone has varying fabulous recipes. Add apple cider vinegar, only use leaf lard, tablespoon of sugar, or an egg for a richer dough. She had on hand the pastry blender to cut the fat into the dough. I tucked away the use of two butter knifes if I didn't have a pastry blender. She added the water, pulled it altogether and formed it into a small 6 inch disc. The disc would be wrapped in plastic and chilled in the fridge for 30 minutes.
I think it was my first experience of watching someone make pie crust from start to finish. My mom never made pie. I remember seeing in our kitchen, a plastic pastry sheet with circles etched in and a rolling pin wondering why we had it. Pie meant store bought, which is most likely why I loathed it. Cloyingly sweet and crust leaving a film in my mouth.
As I watched Mrs. Haile rolling out the chilled pie crust, it frightened me. My fear of messing it up and ultimately failing unnerved my need to succeed at all things.
Years & years later, I set out to accomplish my defeat over the pie crust. It was messy, but not as scary as I thought. I have learned the art of rolling between parchment now turned to almond flour versus wheat flour. But, what I have learned in my pie crust repertoire is the art of taking risks. When we live life around that table, not willing to take a shot or make a mistake in front of others, we live safe fake lives.
I'm learning just now in my 30s to say what I want and do it, in order to not let others run ahead of me as I sit back having a pity party. In taking risks as I seek to accomplish my goals over my fear, I have found that others are more willing to share their same fears and failures. So, here is my less than perfect, but really tasty paleo pie/tart crust. May we all come to the table a little more humble and a little more real as we get our hands dirty.
Paleo Pie/Tart Crust (grain free & dairy free) (printable recipe)
I recommend using ghee over coconut oil for the crust, because the flavor is well, like butter but not.
3 cups blanched almond flour
1 tsp arrowroot powder
2 Tb coconut oil or ghee
1/2 tsp salt
Place almond flour, arrowroot powder and salt in a food processor. Pulse five times to combine. Add the egg & coconut oil or ghee. Pulse until it forms together, approximately seven times.
Combine the dough together and form into a 6 inch flatten disc. The height should roughly be an inch. Wrap in plastic wrap and place in fridge to chill for 30 minutes.
Lay out a large sheet of parchment paper, and sprinkle a bit of almond flour on it in a circular fashion. Unwrap the chilled dough and place atop the almond flour. Sprinkle a little more almond flour on top of the dough. Place another large sheet of parchment paper on top of the dough. Using a rolling pin, begin rolling the dough at 12:00 to 10:00 to 12:00 to 2:00. Look at your dough like a clock and move your rolling pin along by two's and rotating. You want to get to about 10 inches for a tart crust or 11-12 inches for a pie crust, depending on the size of your pie plate.
Carefully lift the parchment off. Have your pie plate or tart pan ready. Slide your hand under the parchment paper and rolled out dough. Carefully, line the one edge of the dough to slight overhang and quickly but carefully flip it over. This should leave your crust covering your pie or tart pan, while leaving an inch to two inches of pastry overhang.
If this is for a tart, you will line will want to lightly press the dough into the crevices around the edge before removing the parchment. Then, cut the extra overhang dough off by simply pressing it down on the edge of the pan. You want the dough to reach all the way to the top of the edge of the tart pan. If it doesn't, the dough is forgiving and simply press in some of the excess into those holy spots.
If for a pie, peel the parchment off and fold up the overhang towards the inside of the pan. By taking the index finger on one hand (I use my right) and the index finger and thumb of my other hand, I pinch with my two fingers while pressing inward with my right index finger. If this part of the instruction confuses you, look on google for a step by step demonstration.
You can use this crust as a par bake or full bake. If you bake the crust without a filling, I advise to line it with a small piece of parchment paper and some dried beans.