This was definitely a recipe I should have thought about longer before starting. A naptime project shouldn’t involve multiple “chill 30 minutes” steps. But I chopped the strawberries and frozen some oil the night before, so it felt like it was too late to back out.
This all started because our neighborhood market was selling strawberries 4 pounds for $3 (and these were organic!). Who can pass that up? (While we’re talking about cheap produce, I also bought 6 avocados for $1 on Sunday. There are some definite perks to living in California.)
So I was thinking about pie.Then I thought maybe I should make hand pies so I wouldn’t have to eat a whole pie (I had our second baby almost three months ago and have some jeans I want to be able to wear again). Then I wanted to make a dairy-free crust so C could have some (I usually make my pie crust with butter). The first thing I thought was, where can I get some leaf lard? But then I remembered oils.
As I was making the crust this afternoon, I finally read all the directions and started to freak out a little. This was definitely going to take all of naptime and probably longer. I wasn’t going to have any time to zone out reading blogs! C would probably wake up before I finished and half the project would be postponed! So I omitted some chillings. And I took some liberties when rolling out and cutting the dough. But the crust still turned out great. Next time I might bake a little longer, or brush the tops with a little soy milk or something to give the pastry a little more color.
Four notes on the crust:
You will notice in my recipe I use three different kinds of oil. That’s totally unnecessary but I couldn’t bear to use 2/3 cup olive oil as the original recipe calls for. So I was just going to use 1/4 cup olive and 1/4 cup canola. But then I went grocery shopping before naptime and got some coconut oil (for other reasons) and decided to throw some of that in and use the full 2/3 oil in the recipe. The crust does have a bit of a coconut taste on first bite, maybe something you wouldn’t even notice without knowing. But I think next time I will try just olive and canola, or reduce the coconut oil to 1/4 cup or less.
The original crust recipe also specifies that the oil should be partially frozen to produce a flaky crust. I’m not sure about all that, but I did it anyway. I froze the oil the night before and set it out on the counter as I was gathering the other ingredients.
Many directions for oil crusts instruct you to either mix the dough directly in the pie pan or roll out between two sheets of wax paper because the dough is very sticky. I didn’t have any wax paper and only one sheet of parchment, which I was saving for baking. So I used a lot of flour, my marble rolling pin and a flour sack towel. The towel is something I keep for rolling out pastry. I don’t wash it. The idea is the towel becomes impregnated with flour and dough does not stick to it.
I was skeptical about the vinegar, but then I read that it helps keep a crust flaky. I don’t know if that’s true, it’s just something I read online. But I did it anyway.
2.5 c flour (plus a lot more for rolling dough)
3/4 tsp salt
2/3 c chilled oil (I used 2 1/2 Tbsp olive, 2 1/2 Tbsp canola and 1/3 c coconut, because I couldn’t decide on just one)
4+ Tbsp cold water
1 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
1.5 lbs strawberries, chopped
1/4 c flour
3 Tbsp sugar
Mix flour and salt. Add oil and blend with your hands, pastry cutter or a couple of forks. Mix 4 Tbsp water and the apple cider vinegar. Add to the fat-flour mixture a little bit at a time until the dough comes together. I do this by moving all the flour mixture to one side of the mixing bowl and sprinkling a little water on the edge. Using a fork, I toss it together to form dough and move it to the other side. Use more water as needed. Cover with plastic wrap and chill for 30 minutes.
Prepare filling by tossing strawberries with flour, sugar and salt.
Preheat oven to 350F, line baking sheets with parchment or lightly oil. Roll out your dough, working in several batches and chilling the remainder of the dough when you’re not working with it. Cut circles or squares and re-roll any scraps. Place filling on the dough, dampen the edge of the dough with water, fold and seal by crimping the edges with a fork. Prick the top of the pie with the fork.
Bake about 25 minutes. They leak a lot but that’s just how it goes with a raw filling.