This is one of my go-to recipes for pies and tarts. I call it my favorite cornmeal pie dough for a reason. Great for sweet or savory pies and that little bit of cornmeal adds a texture and crunch that makes the finished pie just a little more special. Try it in my recipe for Vegan Tomato and Feta Tart.
The Secret to Great Pie Dough
The secret to great pie dough is to keep everything cold, and touch it as little as possible. Here's my checklist when I'm making my favorite cornmeal pie dough:
- Butter is cold and cut into ½" pieces so that I don't have to overwork the dough to cut it into the flour
- My mixing bowl is cold, so that it helps maintain temperature
- I use a fork to fold the butter into the flour mixture so that the heat from my hands doesn't warm the butter
- I always finish the dough by mixing by hand so that I can have a feel for how moist or crumbly it is. You can only learn how to work with food by touching and tasting.
- After making the dough, I wrap it and let it rest in the refrigerator until I'm ready to use it. This helps the glutens to relax and makes for a flakier crust.
The Best Vegan Butter for Baking
If available in your area, I am the biggest fan of Miyoko's Creamery, a vegan butter company that makes a cultured cashew milk European style butter. This cooks and bakes like any of the best butters out there. Miyoko's can be found in Whole Foods Market or most higher end health food stores. My second choice is a margarin style butter called Earth Balance. This is more readily available in grocery stores. And of course Crisco, by default, is vegan and an ingredient in many pie crusts across the country.
My Favorite Cornmeal Pie Dough
- Chill your mixing bowl in the freezer for 5 minutes to help maintain a cool temperature.
- Cut the butter into small ½-inch cubes and set aside.
- In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour, cornmeal, salt, and sugar. Stir to combine.
- Place the butter in the bowl and, using a fork, cut into the flour- pressing with the fork as you turn the bowl and break up the butter into small pea-size pieces.
- Slowly add the ice water a little bit at a time while stirring into the flour.
- Once the dough is halfway formed, switch to using your hands so that you can feel how moist or crumbly the dough is. Do not knead or overmix. You want to mix gently, while adding water a little bit at a time, until the dough JUST comes together and is still a little bit crumbly.
- Pour out onto a work surface and form into a tight ball.
- Cut the ball in half and wrap each in plastic wrap.
- Store in the refrigerator until ready to use.