This recipe is a vegan adaptation of Cook's Illustrated's Perfect Pie Crust, which is a rich and flaky pie crust that uses vodka to give the dough just a little bit of springiness to make it easier to roll out while still maintaining the flakiness of the pastry. It uses vegetable shortening in place of the traditional butter, which keeps it light and flaky. Freeze the vegetable shortening for a few hours before using it so it is very cold. That way, it will help to maintain the flakiness of the dough. The recipe makes two crusts for a one crust pie or one crust for a two crust pie.
- 2 1/2 cups flour
- 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 1 1/4 cups vegetable shortening, chilled and cut into quarter-inch pieces
- 1/4 cup very cold vodka
- 1/4 cup ice water
- In a food processor, process the flour, sea salt, and sugar until blended, about 30 seconds.
- Add the shortening, dropping it so the pieces are evenly distributed over the flour. Pulse the food processor in one-second pulses until it resembles small pebbles, 15 to 20 one-second pulses.
- Transfer the mixture to a bowl. Sprinkle the vodka and water over the dough. Using a wooden spoon or rubber spatula, gently mix the dough to incorporate the water and vodka. Don't overwork it or it will be tough. Mix just until the dough forms a shaggy ball and the liquid is incorporated.
- Divide the dough into two balls. Cover with plastic and refrigerate for one hour.
- Dust your work surface with flour. Roll each of the dough balls into two 12-inch rounds.
- For a one-crust pie, preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Carefully place the pie crust into two nine-inch round pie plates and crimp the edges. Prick the bottom with a fork, and use pie weights (or dried beans) in an even layer on crust to hold it in down. Bake the crust in the preheated oven for 30 minutes, or until golden brown. Cool completely before filling.
- For a two-crust pie, preheat the oven to the temperature noted in your pie recipe. Line a nine-inch pie plate with the first round of dough, allowing it to hang over the edges of your pie. Fill and top with the second crust. Crimp the edges, and cut a few vertical slits in the top of the pie to allow the steam to escape as it cooks. Brush with a wash of one egg and a tablespoon of water, and, if you desire, sprinkle with fine sugar. Bake according to the directions for your pie.