Introduction: An Introduction to Whole Wheat Pie Crusts

If you're one of many people that like 'healthy' or nutritional foods, you might have tried making pie crusts with whole wheat pastry flour. It's a tricky and often frustrating endeavor if you substitute whole wheat pastry in a white flour recipe without making adjustments. The two are, in fact, quite different.

I have spoiled many pie crusts - and afternoons - with this mistake and I hope, by sharing this recipe, I save some the frustration and disappointment. I will note, Whole Wheat pie crusts aren't going to be as flaky and as perfect as you expect from a white flour crust, but they will be much tastier and nutritional.

Don't be deceived, this isn't any easier to make than a white flour crust. Making any pie crust attractive takes alot of practice, but I hope I don't discourage you. I'm daring you all that haven't tried them! I promise, once you get the hang of it, it's very rewarding. And even if it doesn't look as good as you like, don't fret, it will taste fine!

So, go! Get out your apron, fetch your chef's hat, grab your rolling pin, and lets bake!

Step 1: Step One: the Ingredients

2 cups Whole Wheat Pastry Flour
1 tsp. Salt
1/2 cup Lard
6 Tbsp of Cold water.

The flour in this recipe is fresh ground in our home. We buy the wheat berries in bulk (called Soft Wheat) and grind the flour when needed. The fresher it is ground, the better.

Please don't try substituting lard with butter. Butter is much harder than lard and it could have disastrous effects on your crust.

Note: This recipe makes 2 (that's two) single 9 inch crusts or one 9 inch crust with top crust (ex: grape or apple pie).

Step 2: Step Two: Mix!

Mix your 2 cups of flour with 1 tsp. of salt in a medium mixing bowl. Cut in the 1/2 cup of lard with a pastry cutter until lumps are the size of small peas. (see second picture)

Step 3: Step Three: Cold Water

Now add the cold water two tablespoons at a time, mixing with a fork. Keep adding the cold water until you get to 6 Tbsp or until it's very sticky. (see third picture) Now gently shape into two balls. The key to a tender pie crust is handling and working it the least.

Step 4: Step Four: Roll Out

Sprinkle excessive amounts of flour on a pastry cloth. Flour your rolling pin while you're at it.

Place one ball of dough in the center of the pastry cloth, sprinkle some flour on the top of it, and begin rolling out.

To start, I roll the dough north-south, then east-west, making a small circle. From there, roll out always from the center. Work your way around the circle, keeping it as even and round as possible.

Keep rolling out until it's a good 2 inches wider than the pie plate all around. (see last picture)

Step 5: Step Five: Into the Pan

To transfer the rolled pastry into the pie plate (sorry I don't have pictures of this), place the rolling pin at one edge of the circle of dough. (work quickly or the dough will stick to itself)

Roll the dough up over the rolling pin, lifting it with the pastry cloth, and roll it around the rolling pin to the opposite edge. Now carefully lift the rolling pin with the dough on it over the pie plate and (carefully!) unroll it onto the plate. Try to make sure it's evenly placed.

Gently, while lifting the sides up to let more dough in the plate, ease the dough down in so it lays flat against the pie plate. (see first picture)

Using a sharp knife, cut the excess dough off a little above the table. (see second picture)

DON'T even think of throwing away those extra pieces! Put them in old pie tins, sprinkle liberally with cinnamon sugar mixture and bake: 400 Fahrenheit for 5 minutes, or until slightly browned. (see last two pictures) We call them piggies. Teehee!
Alert!: they bake really fast.

Step 6: Step Six: Forming the Crust

Here, my friends, is where single crust pies and double crust pies (ex: grape, apple) differ.

Double Crust pie:
Repeat step four with the second ball of dough, wet the edges with cold water (see second photo), and place the second crust over the third AFTER you put your pie filling in the pan. Read step five to remember how to put the crust on the plate.

Cut off the excess edge a little bit longer than the crust underneath. Now use the directions for the single crust pie instructions for making the outer edge.
Cut some slits in a fancy design in the top to let the pie "breathe" while it cooks.

Single Crust pie:
Roll the extra dough under and press together on the lip of the pie plate. (see first photo) This can be tricky if the dough doesn't want to stick together. That's okay. Patience is one thing we cooks have alot of opportunities for.

Work around until it's all tucked under and pressed into a kind of rectangular tube along the edge.

Now, using the third and fourth picture for reference, press a design into the crust. You don't have to do these designs, though.
There are numerous different designs out there. Also, you can also use your imagination and make your own!

Step 7: The Final Step: Baking

If you have a pie filling for the crust, bake according to the pie filling's recipe.

For a baked pie crust, poke the bottom and sides with a fork, line it with parchment paper and pour in pie weights or dried beans. Bake: 475 Fahrenheit, 10 to 15 minutes or until browned.

Use in recipes that call for pre-baked pie crusts like Peanut Butter Creme Pie or, one of my favorites, Grasshopper Pie.

Now eat!

Note: If the crust is browning too fast, put aluminum foil around the edge to protect it from direct heat.

Please comment and feel free to ask questions.