Vegan Pastry Dough
The versatile, baking staple of pie dough is not as intimidating as you think.
I remember when dough was on the board in culinary school. I had a quirky pastry chef who liked food science and instructing with the help of charts and graphs which for pastry helped in removing the great fear of the “Pate Frisée”.
The explanation given around achieving the flakiest crust was not about how much butter was used, but why.
Finally I understood why you’re not supposed to touch it much, it’s not that it’s overly sensitive, it just doesn’t like hot little hands. I figured with my poor circulation and ever frozen fingers, I was a shoe in for an “A”.
Butter in pastry is not a mandatory, yes, like most things, it makes it taste oh so rich and lovely but it’s just the fat that’s needed; so vegetable shortening works perfectly well. It was explained that the larger the “fat flakes” were before finally adding ice water to bind the dough, the larger the flakes in the pastry. When the shortening is added to the flour, it’s cut in, usually with a pastry cutter, a fork, by hand or with a food processor. The object of doing this coats the soon to be tiny pea sized pieces of fat with the flour that, when baked, will melt, crisping the flour, leaving lovely, gaping FLAKEY holes.
BASIC PIE PASTRY
1 1/4 Cups Pastry Flour
1/2 Cup Frozen Vegetable Shortening
3 – 31/2 Tablespoons ICE Water
1/4 teaspoon Salt
1 teaspoon Granulated Sugar, optional
Whisk flour, salt and sugar.
Either with a food processor or a pastry cutter, add the shortening to combine with the flour.
Work into pea sized pieces, which will resemble a coarse crumb.
Add ice water, beginning with only 3 Tablespoons, mixing enough only to form a ball.
Wrap and chill the dough until ready to use; at least a half hour before rolling out.