Spelt Pie Dough

Preparation info

  • Difficulty

    Easy

  • Makes enough for

    1

    Double-Crust Pie

Appears in

Good to the Grain

By Kim Boyce

Published 2010

  • About

There are three basic schools of thought about what makes flaky pie dough: butter, shortening, or both. For classic pie dough, I’m in the last camp. Technique also determines how flaky your crust will be. Here I use a method known as fraisage, in which you smear pea-size pieces of fat into the flour to create alternating layers of dough and fat. During baking, the fat melts, creating steam that lifts up the layers of dough, creating a very tender pastry—it’s a simple step that creates an incredible crust. This dough is made with a combination of all-purpose and spelt flour, which adds creamy color and a mild, nutty flavor. It also provides a bit more texture, which can come in handy when you use this dough for jammy tarts or savory pies.

Ingredients

Dry Mix

  • 1⅓ cups spelt flour
  • 1⅓ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt

Wet Mix

  • 4 ounces (1 stick) cold unsalted butter
  • ¼ cup vegetable shortening (such as Crisco)
  • ½ cup ice water, as needed

Method

  1. Sift the dry ingredients into a large bowl, pouring back any grains or other ingredients that may remain in the sifter. Cut the butter into hazelnut-size pieces and add the butter and the shortening to the dry ingredients.
  2. Rub the butter and shortening between your fingers, breaking them into smaller pieces until they are the size of peas. The more quickly you do this, the more the butter and shortening will stay solid, which is important for the success of the recipe.
  3. Add ¼ cup of ice water to the flour-and-butter mixture and, working from the outer edge of the flour, mix the ingredients with your hands just to moisten the flour. The dough needs to come together as mostly one lump, with a few shaggy pieces. Squeeze a handful of dough to see if it is moist enough. If the dough is too dry to come together, add ice water 1 tablespoon at a time.
  4. For the fraisage, dust a work surface with flour. Use a pastry scraper or a spatula to transfer the dough onto the work surface. Take a pinch of dough about 2 tablespoons in size, set it on the counter, and push the heel of your hand down toward the counter and away from you. You want to smear the dough, flattening and elongating the butter—this is what gives the baked crust a tender and very flaky crumb.
  5. Repeat with the remaining dough, then separate the dough into 2 equal pieces. Wrap each piece in plastic and chill for a minimum of 1 hour or up to 3 days.