I’ve been fearing the day I would attempt my first protein pie crust recipe. I’ve never made a pie crust before, and visions of crumbly unworkable dough filled my nightmares. It’s one of those elements of baking that has a big potential for error, and with the added factor of making it high protein only added to the challenge ahead. I carefully studied several pie crust recipes and how to articles, to arm myself for the battle ahead. I’m relieved to say that I emerged victorious!
Aside from a slightly awkward go at the crimped crust, my dough was neither crumbly nor unworkable, and a tasty and very stable crust resulted. (Stay tuned for the recipes for the pie fillings I used to test this puppy out!)
I made three different versions: one with regular wheat flour, one with all purpose gluten free flour, and one that’s vegan and gluten free. The first two versions are included in this post, and I was surprised that they both turned out incredibly well, and it was very hard to tell the difference between the two! I haven’t rolled out, baked or tasted the vegan version yet – there’s only so many pies a person can eat in a week ;) – so I will include that recipe in a future post.
These protein pie crust recipes can be used for sweet or savoury pies, and the combination of animal shortening, and butter yields the perfect balance of taste and workability/stability. I was expecting the first slice to crumble apart when I took it out, but the crust stayed together like a champ! Enjoy folks, and let me know about all the awesome fillings you put in this bad boy. I know I’ll be using this recipe again and again, so stay tuned for recipes :)
- ¾ cup flour (use gluten free if you like - I used Bob's Red Mill) with 1 Tbsp set aside for rolling
- ½ cup unflavored whey protein isolate
- ½ tsp salt
- 1 packet (1.1 g) stevia balance powder
- ¼ cup cold unsalted butter
- ¼ cup cold lard shortening (I used Tenderflake)
- 2 Tbsp + 1 tsp ice cold water
- Cut up butter and shortening into medium sized chunks and put them in a ziplock bag in the freezer for around 15 minutes. Put a small glass of cold water in the freezer as well. You want your ingredients to be cold cold cold. Warm ingredients will cause the fats to melt in the dough as you mix it, and will result in a tough crust lacking in flakiness.
- Mix flour, salt, and stevia in a medium sized bowl.
- Mix in the butter with a pastry cutter - or 2 forks, your hands, or a stand mixer - but I liked the pastry cutter as it gave me more control and helped me avoid over mixing. Mix until most of the butter is in pea sized pieces.
- Cut in the lard the same way.
- Drizzle in 2 Tbsp of water and mix it in, being careful not to overwork the dough. Add in the extra teaspoon of water if needed. You want to add just enough so the dough comes together.
- Gather the dough into a ball with your hands, and flatten into a disc shape.
- Put your dough disc into a ziplock baggie, and into the fridge for 30 to 60 minutes. This allows the moisture to equally distribute. You can also leave it in there for longer, days even. You'll just need to take it out for a bit before you roll it.
- Make sure the dough is the right texture for rolling. If it's too hard, it will crumble. If it's too soft, it will be sticky as heck, and the fats will melt and cause a tough crust. You should be able to poke it with your finger and leave a bit of an indent. If it's too hard, leave it out for a bit.
- Lay out a sheet of parchment paper on your counter, and flour it with ½ the Tbsp of reserved flour. use the other half to flour your rolling pin, and to re-flour as needed as you roll.
- Roll out the dough, changing direction, and turning the parchment paper often to ensure an even roll.
- If cracks form, just squish them back together. When you have a circular shape roughly 2 inches larger than your pie dish, you're done.
- Now, the hard part is getting your rolled out dough into the pie dish. I picked up the parchment paper with my thumbs underneath, and my fingers over the dough, and kinda flipped it onto the pie dish. Whatever works though, I hear that some folks the rolling pin to roll the dough onto and off of. If the dough does break, no worries, you can just put it back in place and pinch it into the other piece.
- Press the dough into the dish, and even up the edges as needed. Crimp the crust with your finger if you like, or keep it simple.
- Depending on the filling, you'll either pour it directly into the raw pie crust to bake it, or for cream/custard based pies, you'll need to pre bake the crust for 10 mins or so before adding the filling.
* Nutritional info is for the regular flour version. The gluten free version is almost the same nutritionally, so I didn’t see it necessary to post two charts.