July 12, 2013

Dairy-Free Pie Dough

There's one in every group people who can't eat food.

It's a tragic fate, but genetics is a cruel master.

Living in a family that has experienced more than its fair share of dietary limitations has allowed me to see how frustrating and limiting special diets can be. Especially at parties. Especially at the dessert table where nearly everything is made with dairy, or gluten, or nuts, or eggs.

It's easy to give up hope in ever having a good dessert again and to go diving elbow-deep into the nearest pudding pie, to hell with the allergic reaction!

But happy news! Good, tasty, delicious food within special diets do exist.

For instance, you can make a healthy and tasty pie that's completely dairy-free.
If the concept of a completely dairy- and lard-free pie gives you trust issues, I assure you that I have snuck this recipe under the nose of many scrutinous aunts, uncles, and grandparents at parties and not a one of them suspected the secret ingredient was soy!

The key to attaining that perfect dough texture is keeping the liquid ingredients cold, and I mean cold, right up until the moment of mixing. Sometimes I'll even throw the water into the freezer for a few minutes to really chill it. Plus, the dough is an easier texture to knead and roll with when it's cold.

Did you know you can mix dough in a food processor? It's so much easier since the dough can easily be mixed in seconds without the warmth of your hands messing with the cold temperature of the dough.

When the dough comes out of the food processor, it can be moist and sticky. Really sticky. So unless you want to be like me when I first made this dough, calling for my husband to help scrap the dough off my hands and into the storage bowl, then you might want to generously coat your hands with flour. Dusting your hands and the cutting board with flour before man-handling the dough will make you untouchable...or unstickable.

Pie dough works best when it's rolled thin. Thick crust tends to get soggy or gooey. Thin is easier to fold over the pie form and thin bakes through better with a crisp exterior. 

Depending on how thin you roll the dough, this recipe usually makes three pie bottoms or one covered pie and one pie bottom. Simply roll the dough out when you're ready to bake, lay it over the pie pan and cut off the excess. The edges can be crimped or they can be folded under the top layer of a covered pie.

Dairy-Free Pie Dough

2 1/2 cups flour
3/4 tsp salt
2 tsp sugar
1/2 cup cold soy margarine (like Earth Balance)
8 oz cold dairy free cream cheese (like Tofutti)
< 1/3 cup ice cold water

1. Combine flour, salt, and sugar in food processor and pulse to mix.
2. Add soy margarine and cream cheese to food processor and pulse until crumbly.
3. Add cold water a little at a time and pulse food processor until dough is kneaded.
4. Dust your hands in flour before lifting the dough out of the food processor. Store in a bowl or plastic bag to chill for at least 1 hour or overnight.
5. When you're ready to make a pie, take half of the pie dough and roll it out on a flour-covered cutting board until it's about an 1/8th inch thick and wide enough to fit into a pie pan.
6. Drape the pie dough over the pie pan and cut off the excess pie dough leaving a good 1/2 inch margin to use to crimp the edge or tuck it under the top roof of the pie.
7. Season the pie crust and fill with your choice of pie ingredients and bake according to pie filling instructions (usually at 375 - 400°F for 30 minutes to 1 hour depending on the filling).  
8. Let rest before serving. 

Rating of Difficulty: 2 out of 5. Pies are a staple in our house and, with the food processor, it only takes minutes to whip up and makes enough for multiple pies. It really helps to have the food processor, but the dough can be rolled out by hand with a little more effort. Practice makes perfect when learning to roll out the dough.

Stop by next week and I'll share how to use this pie dough recipe for a Strawberry Rhubarb pie. This recipe is also a great dough to use for quiche or chicken pie. It's not as flaky as a buttery dough, but it definitely satisfies the craving for crisp on the outside yummy on the inside dough.

*I've been using this recipe for years, so sad to say, I don't remember the source. Possibly About.com? Whoever first gave me this recipe, thanks to you for the tip!

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  1. Great recipe and super tutorial. I never remember to use the food processor. I need to do that, so much easier. Thanks for the visit and your gracious comments. I really appreciate it. Hugs, Marty

    1. If you use the food processor, there is the downside of cleaning it afterward. lol! But otherwise, it does save a lot of time! Thanks for stopping by, Marty!

  2. Special Diets are difficult. My daughter has a mitochondrial disorder and she requires a low fat, high protein diet... very hard at parties! Thanks for sharing this recipe.

    Life With Lorelai

    Hopping by from The Best Blog Recipes Link Party! :)

    1. Oh, sorry to hear about your daughter. Yes, they are even harder when it can't be summarized by one food group restriction or by one of the more well-known allergies. Best of luck to your daughter.

      Thank you for stopping by, Lorelai!

  3. I would love for you to share and link up at my weekly TGIF Link Party if you haven't already this week. Your favorite posts, most popular, recent or new! The party is open every Thursday night and closes Tuesday's at midnight. Followed by (Not SO) Wordless Wednesday! http://apeekintomyparadise.blogspot.com/.

    I would be honored if you join us and follow to stay connected Have a wonderful week!

    Hugs, Cathy

    1. Thanks for the invite, Cathy! I just linked up. Have you heard Blogger is changing its policy about links in comments for link parties. Google is confusing them with spam. Hope you can find a way to still share your invites!

  4. I'm going to have to try this pie crust. I still haven't been successful at making one but maybe one day! I hear ya on the problems with dairy. I have problems with lactose. I have tried cutting out dairy but I can't totally do it yet so I take lactaid pills as needed. But I have switched to soy milk in my coffee drinks. I actually like it more!

    Have a great week!

    Julie @ This Gal Cooks

    1. Those lactose pills are just a lifesaver! That's how we are able to cheat on the diet as much as we do. It's so hard to eliminate something completely. Best of luck with the pie! I'd love to hear how it goes.

      Thanks for stopping by!

  5. I just discovored the use of the food processor too for making pie dough and it has made my life easier.

  6. Glad to know about the soy and the use of food processor. Thank you for sharing your recipe at Pin It Monday Hop. New hop is now open, please stop by when you get the chance. See you there Sara!



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