Eggless pie crust + simple Kitchenaid trick for pie crusts

Once I learned how to make a good short crust pie crust (the type that’s flaky and crunchy and makes perfect quiches, beef pies, chicken & leek pies) I got hooked on the pie crust recipe that I found worked best for me. But then, the other day, we ran out of enough butter and didn’t have any eggs…

Good thing I understood what happened in my recipe (learn what here) so a new recipe was made. It’s now my go-to recipe, since it’s easier (both in ingredients as well as execution!) than the previous one and still tastes great!

What again is short crust pastry?

Short crust pastry is a pretty special pastry. It is flaky and seems to have some layers of dough on top of one another, even though you don’t have to fold it like you’d have to do with a croissant dough. It gets this layers and these flakiness because of the fat. The fat is covered by flour and since the fat will melt during baking, this will form these nice layers.

pie crust, just before baking
A pie crust, ready for baking, tucked neatly into its tin.

The order in which ingredients are mixed is pretty important. The conventional way is to first mix the fat with the flour, until it looks like a breadcrumb. After that, ice cold water is kneaded through quickly. By working this way the fat doesn’t melt (since the water is cold) and gluten cannot really be formed since the fat is in the way and since the water and flour are only kneaded shortly. Read more about gluten here by the way.

Eggless pie crust recipe

Besidses not having enough butter when wanting to make my dough, I also only wanted to make only have a portion of dough. Half a portion is more than enough for a 24cm diameter pie tin of about 2 cm high. But, my other recipe calls for one egg and I don’t like using half an egg (what will I do with the rest?). So, I had to substitute it. In the end I came up with the following recipe:

Pie crust
Recipe type: pastry
Author:
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 1 pie crust
Short crust pastry pie crust, without egg. Makes enough for a 24cm pie dish (3 cm high) or 5 small tarts.
Ingredients
  • 130g flour
  • 35g butter (cold)
  • 25g shortening (cold)
  • 21g ice cold water (add an ice cube)
  • 21g milk (you may substitute this for water as well, but the extra protein and fat might just lift it up a little)
Instructions
  1. Take out your stand mixer and add the flour, butter and shortening.
  2. Turn the mixer on at a very low speed (in my case speed 1 or 2), you don't want your flour going everywhere.
  3. Leave it mixing for a couple of minutes, until you don't see any large clumps of butter and shortening. It will look a little like bread crumbs.
  4. Add the water and milk and leave to mix for a couple of seconds. Take it out of the mixer as soon as it comes together (don't leave it mixing for long!), form it into a ball and place in the fridge until you're ready. (I've also used it straight away, it works, but it's safer to let it cool down a little to make sure the fat solidifies.
  5. Roll out the dough on a well floured surface until it's a few mm thick. Place it in your tin and cover with baking paper or aluminium foil and fill with baking beans (I use uncooked lentils, works just fine). Bake for 15 minutes at 180C.
  6. Remove the baking paper and the beans, pinch some holes in the bottom with a fork, and bake for another 15 minutes at 180C. Don't forget this last step, it will make you crust nice and crunchy!
  7. Follow your recipe for further baking

Recipe analysis – shortening & egg

Substituting butter for shortening was a pretty easy change to make. I knew I needed a solid fat and I still had a tin of shortening in the fridge. Moreover, Sally’s baking addiction always says to use both butter and shortening so I though I’d better give it a try. No problems here, it worked just fine.

I was a little more worried about substituting the egg. I thought the egg would contribute a lot of richness to the dough. However, since the amount of fat is already pretty high, substituting for water and milk worked just fine.

pie crust dough: flour & butter
This is how my mix of flour and butter looks like after mixing it for a couple of minutes. You’ll see small crumbs.

Pie crust with a stand mixer

Just about all recipes call for a dough cutter, a fork or not too hot hands to incorporate the butter in the flour. I was lazy and wanted to multitask by making the filling at the same time. So I grabbed my KitchenAid to do the job for me. I worked just fine, no problems at all and it is so much easier! It’ll be my way to go rom now on. By mixing it at a low speed temperatures don’t really rise, you don’t get messy hands and the kitche in general stays cleaner. Only advantages I would say!

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