A good pie crust is a point of pride. I mean, Laura Ingalls Wilder could probably make a darn fine pie crust and let’s be honest: I want to be Laura Ingalls Wilder. The Sunday before Thanksgiving, I made a test pie crust out of spelt flour that was just all wrong. Too much butter, it wasn’t worked into the flour enough, it was too sweet. It was the worst kind of disappointment because I thought pie crust-making was a skill I had previously mastered. (Incidentally, the leftover disk of that “all wrong” pie crust became the absolutely delicious vessel of turkey pot pie the Sunday after Thanksgiving. I need to be easier on myself.)

For the real deal, I abandoned my touchy-feely rub the butter in with your hands method and decided it was time to get down and dirty. I processed my pie crust, and it turned out great. If that’s not lazy enough, I didn’t even deliberate over a new recipe, I just turned to the open magazine page on my counter that had Sara Foster’s recipes on it and made her pie crust, too. Here’s the winning number.

Spelt Pie Crust
adapted from Better Homes and Gardens November 2011
makes 2 disks

This recipe is pretty standard, except she calls vinegar instead of vodka for flakiness. That’s right, Ms. Foster makes a point of replacing the vodka. I say, I have precious few reasons to pull vodka out in my kitchen, why give up this one? So into the pie crust it goes.

2-1/4 cups white spelt flour
generous pinch of salt
1/4 cup sucanat (optional)
1-1/2 sticks of unsalted butter, cut lengthwise and then in half
1/4 cup cold water
1/8 to 1/4 cup vodka

Add all ingredients to a food processor and pulse until the mixture resembles crumbs. (About 12 pulses.) Divide the dough and form into two disks. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour or freeze for 30 minutes. Roll out and use.

(Turkey Pot Pie: Melt 2 tablespoons butter in a saucepan; add 1/2 onion (diced), 2-3 stalks of celery (diced), 3 carrots (diced), 1 sweet potato (diced), 1 cup frozen peas, 2 tablespoons dried parsley, 2 teaspoons oregano, salt, and pepper. Saute until vegetables begin to soften. Add 2 cups water or broth, 1/2 cup milk, 2 tablespoons spelt flour. Bring to boil, simmer until thick. Stir in 1-1/2 cups diced cooked turkey. Pour into prepared pie crust; top with another. Bake at 425 degrees Fahrenheit for 15 minutes, then lower the oven temperature to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and bake 20 minutes longer. Or just throw in whatever you want and bake until you think it’s done. That’s usually what I do.)

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