A recipe that requires a crust, has an important function, as it is the foundation to countless culinary and pastry dishes. The crust is a crucial structural aspect of the particular recipe you may be preparing. Crusts impart texture, either crispy, crunchy, or flaky depending on how you prepare the crust.
Can you imagine making a tart, shortbread, pie, quiche, or pot pie devoid of a crust? And how would you eat a pizza without a crust? We can’t imagine. Maybe you would have a tomato-pepperoni soup?
Crusts are important to a tart, shortbread, pie, quiche, pot pie, or pizza.
What are some alternative ingredients to making these crusts?
We know that using cold butter in a pie crust when done right, can make for a flaky crust.
Did you know that coconut oil be an alternative to butter, doing the same thing? It is still a saturated fat like butter, but a shorter chain amino fatty acid, and has some extra nutrients over butter, like minerals, and has antibacterial substances.
Coconut Oil Pie Crust
This crust using coconut oil makes a delicious, flaky pastry just as well as butter.
3/4 cup solid coconut oil
2 cups organic unbleached all purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
3 – 4 tablespoons ice cold water
Cut the coconut oil into the flour (the same you would do with cold cubed butter) and salt with pastry blender or two knives. Add the water 1 tablespoon at a time and mix well.
Roll out on floured board. Pastry is very tender and may be partially rolled around rolling pin for ease of picking up to place in pie pan (recipe from: Coconut Recipes).
How about this alternative for a quiche, rice crust.
A rice crust is a great way to use up leftover rice, explains Erin McDowell at Food52. She says it’s an excellent option for savory pies, and this crust works especially well for quiches.
Image Credit: Food52
Erin explains to make a rice crust you simply mix cooled leftover steamed rice with egg whites and grated cheese, and press the mixture into a pie plate.
Par-bake the crust to help it set before filling and baking it. Watch your crust carefully to see how it browns, as you may need to lower the temperature from 425 degrees to 375 degrees if it browns too much in the early stages of baking.
How about this alternative for a pizza crust. It’s gluten-free and uses no yeast. The recipe idea is from – She Knows.
At She Knows, they say that in this recipe they used both almond and coconut flours, and the result was anything but boring. The pizza crust turned out soft, fluffy and delicious.
Gluten-Free Pizza Dough
1 cup almond flour
1/2 cup coconut flour
Image credit: She Knows
1/2 cup tapioca flour (plus more for rolling the dough)
1 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp sea salt
4 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 cup almond milk (warmed plain, or other nondairy milk)
2 whole large eggs (organic)
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F, and line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
To a large mixing bowl, add the almond flour, coconut flour, tapicoca flour, garlic powder and salt.
To the flour mixture, add the olive oil, the warmed nondairy milk and the eggs. Mix very well until the dough is soft and fluffy.
Turn the dough out onto a large surface lightly dusted with extra tapioca flour.
Gently knead the dough until it is no longer sticky and can be rolled out.
Roll the dough out into the desired thickness but being careful to not make it too thin (or it will break).
Bake the pizza dough for about 15 minutes, until it’s firm and slightly golden brown.
Remove from the oven, and set aside until ready to prepare your pizza.
A pizza crust traditionally is dough, but since the food revaluation started, people like yourself are looking for healthy alternatives to pizza crust. The pizza crust replacement (made from flour) is vegetable crusts, which are becoming more popular, and eating a pizza like this is a great way to incorporate more vegetables into your diet.
How about this wonderful and tasty alternative for a shortbread or tart crust.
Peach and Cardamom Bakwell Tart
For the almond shortcrust pastry
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
Image credit: Food Network U.K.
1/4 cup almond flour
1/3 salted butter, frozen and grated
1 tbsp sugar
2 drops almond essence
1/4 teapoon organic cornflour
1/8 teaspoon ground cardamom seeds
1-2 tablespoons ice-cold water
Extra flour to roll the pastry
For the peach jam filling
1 ripe peach
1/2 cup sugar
For the almond cake filling
1/4 cup self-raising flour
1/4 cup sugar
1/3 cup almond flour
1/8 tsp baking powder
1/8 tsp baking soda
1/3 cup coconut oil
1/2 cup milk, full fat
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
1-2 drops almond essence
1-2 ripe peaches, sliced to decorate
For the cardamom mascarpone cream
8 ounces mascarpone cheese
2 tablespoons icing sugar
1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom seeds
Tips For a Great Pie Crust
These are some reminders to making a great pie crust.
Chilling the dough after preparing it makes it easier to roll out and much less likely to stick. It also resolidifies the shortening, butter or coconut oil to ensure flakiness.
When rolling out the chilled dough, roll from the center to the outside edge. Use just enough flour on the rolling surface and rolling pin to keep the dough form sticking.
To bake a “blind” a raw dough crust, first chill it for 20 minutes and then fit a piece of aluminum foil or parchment paper on the inside surface. Prick both the crust and the foil or paper, to allow steam to escape and keep the crust from developing a bubble.
Fill the foil with baker weights, or dried beans to help the crust keep its shape while it blind bakes (view our post here: Blind Baking).
To store up some labor in the freezer, Make several pie shells at a time and freeze them in airtight plastic bags. They’ll keep for 6 to 8 months.
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