Next-level pie crust. It’s easier than you think.
Pastry can either make or break a pie. Are you with me on this? No matter if we’re talking sweet or savoury, tender or flaky, white or whole grain. If the pastry itself isn’t up to snuff, then the filling doesn’t even have the opportunity to put its best foot forward. This post is all about adding a level of interest–a depth of flavour, an alluring colour, a fragrant aroma–to an already killer pastry crust recipe (or here’s a gluten-free and/or vegan, if you prefer). And it’s as easy as, well, pie.
1. Herbs and Edible Flowers
Aromatic and flavourful, herbs can add a more floral, ambrosial spin on a classic crust. If using fresh herbs, try adding 2 tablespoons to a single crust pie recipe. If using dried, cut back to about ½ to 1 teaspoon each. Looking for herbal inspiration? This lavender blossom crust and this rosemary buttermilk crust are worth checking out.
2. Spice Blends
Think za’atar, dukkah, ras el hanout, herbes de provence, Italian, a curry blend, pumpkin pie spice, and the list goes on. Pungent, zippy, earthy, sweet–each blend has unique characteristics that can elevate any pie crust. Depending on the mixture, ½ tsp to 1 tablespoon would make for a complex and fragrant crust.
Remember when you discovered that you could eat vibrantly coloured beet and spinach pasta? Well, this is a version of the same thing. Cinnamon, turmeric, berry powders, beet powder, cocoa powder, and the like not only add flavour and earthiness to more traditional crusts, but will also add a gorgeous pop of colour. This Chocolate Buckwheat Pear Pie is the perfect example. If you’re planning on playing a bit, 1 tsp up to ¼ cup of powder in a double crust recipe (depending on type) would make a brilliant crust.
Ok, this seems like a cheat because adding cheese to most anything makes it better. Duh! Grate or crumble ½ to ¾ cup of your favourite cheese into the dry ingredients and whisk together before adding the butter. Can anyone say cheese please?
Anise, caraway, pumpkin, sesame, fennel, poppy, sunflower, flax, and even hemp and chia add texture, crunch, and visual appeal (not to mention nutrition, if you’re paying attention) to a regular pie crust. If you’re using a more potent seed, like caraway or fennel, 1 tablespoon will give ample flavour. On the other hand, if you’re using a more subdued seed, you can get up to ¾ cup of chopped seeds into a double pie crust.