Monday, June 18, 2012

Out on a Limb

For several months now, I've been reading about the merits of using various kinds of real, whole, unprocessed foods. Specifically, I've been slowly making the switch from all-purpose flour to whole wheat flour, and from various kinds of oils to coconut oil. So far, so good. It requires a little bit of tweaking (like sourdough bread and pizza dough did in this post), but for the most part I've enjoyed the switch.

I've been making everything from alfredo sauce to bread to cookies with these ingredients over the last couple months, but tonight I went out on a limb. What is nothing but flour and fat? That's right...

pie crust.

You might remember my run-in with pie crusts a little more than a year ago. Since then, once I proved that I could do it myself, I've mostly been buying pre-made crusts. Especially when I'm baking pot pies for other families - it's just so nice and easy. But I've been thinking about how carefully I make the filling with homemade stock, whole chickens, whole wheat flour to thicken it. And then I put all that healthy, homemade goodness in a white-flour-and-shortening crust. Hmm... Saturday night I decided to step out on a limb and do something to fix this dilemma. 

Wheat flour, coconut oil, salt, and cold water. It was a little tricky because coconut oil has such a low melting point (76 degrees). That means almost zero handling of the dough to keep it from totally falling apart. In fact, I put the oil in the fridge a couple hours ahead of time to make sure it would be solid when I started so I could cut it into the flour. It was also a little harder to transfer from the counter to the pie pan because of that low melting point, but I made it! The result: 

I'll be totally upfront and say that the texture is different - wheat flour is just grainier than white, no matter what you're making. But because we have been making the switch all-around, we're getting used to it. Even Jonny said it was pretty good! Overall, I'll probably make it this way for us going forward, but if I sign up to bring you a meal I'll ask your preference first. :-)
To make your own Whole Wheat Pie Crust:
1 1/3 cup wheat flour
1/2 cup coconut oil (cooled to solid state)
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 Tablespoons ice cold water
(makes one crust - for a double crust you'll need to do this twice)
Combine salt and flour, and then cut in oil with a pastry cutter (or a fork, like I use!) until texture is even throughout. Add cold water one tablespoon at a time until dough forms a ball. Use your hands only to finish forming a ball. Roll out on a floured surface and fold into quarters to transfer. For a double crust, wet the edge of the bottom crust and press edges together with a fork.


Good for you, Katie! - Kristin Cantrill

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