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Grain-Free Pie Crust and Butter Cookie Dough

I have an admission to make – while it is generally accepted that I make one helluva good pie crust, I have freely admitted (when asked) to have been working from another’s recipe. The Silver Pallete cookbook has been a mainstay of our household, since before I was even part of this household. The binding is worn and 3/4 of the pages are falling out, and it is well used.

The Pâté Brissé recipe towards the back – it is not so much a recipe as one of a set of tips – explains the secret: cold, cold, COLD butter, and just enough water to let the dough form.

Making a grain-free version of this crust is a bit tricky, because what tends to make for a very good pie crust – flaky but not crumbly – is gluten. Gluten holds everything else together, and its binding power is hard to replace. We’ll use an egg here, but you can also try – if you’re brave enough – a mixture of tapioca starch, arrowroot powder and ground flax seed (about 1/8 cup each) to try to make things a bit gooey-er. But honestly, a single egg works fine. Scramble it first, before you mix it in with the other ingredients.

The trick here is to use a bit of teff flour. Teff is not a grain – it is the seed of a grass – and teff flour may even qualify as Paleo if it is properly fermented prior to cooking (I don’t do that here.)

As you’ll see in the steps below, the trick is to have ice-cold chopped up butter and to work it into the dry ingredients quickly but without heating it up. A strong set of wrists help, as well as a very solid fork.

Grain-Free Paleoish Pie Crust/Butter Cookies
Print Recipe
Servings Prep Time
1 9" Crust 20 Minutes
Cook Time Passive Time
20 Minutes 25 Minutes
Servings Prep Time
1 9" Crust 20 Minutes
Cook Time Passive Time
20 Minutes 25 Minutes
Grain-Free Paleoish Pie Crust/Butter Cookies
Print Recipe
Servings Prep Time
1 9" Crust 20 Minutes
Cook Time Passive Time
20 Minutes 25 Minutes
Servings Prep Time
1 9" Crust 20 Minutes
Cook Time Passive Time
20 Minutes 25 Minutes
Ingredients
Servings: 9" Crust
Instructions
  1. Pre-heat oven to 425 degrees
  2. Add Teff flour, almond flour, salt and baking powder to a bowl.
  3. Chop the butter, which should already be frozen, into cubes, and add to the bowl of dry ingredients. Frozen butter is the secret to every decent pie crust you've ever had, and that's what we're shooting for here.
  4. With a sturdy metal fork or wooden spoon, begin smearing the butter into the dry ingredients. You can do this in a cuisinart blender as well, but you will not get credit for the reps. You'll also need to move more quickly with a blender, because the heat from the blade will melt the butter, and you really don't want that.
  5. Eventually you will have "sheets" of butter encrusted with the dry ingredients. You can stop mixing at this point - you don't want to completely incorporate the butter and the dry ingredients any further.
  6. Scramble the egg throughly, and then add to the dough. Mix until incorporated. There's usually enough water in the egg to form a dough ball, but if not, add up to 1-2 TBSP of water. Stop when a ball forms.
  7. Put the dough in the the freezer for 10-15 minutes. The goal is again to get the butter nice and cold. A good crust can only form if the butter melts as the crust hardens in the oven.
  8. Remove the dough ball from the freezer. Place a sheet of wax paper down on the baking sheet, and put the dough ball on top.
  9. Place another sheet of wax paper on top of the dough ball, and roll it out to approximately 1/4" thickness. Work quickly, you don't want that butter to melt!
  10. Remove the top sheet of wax paper, flip the rolled out dough over into a 9" pie plate, and remove the other piece of wax paper. If the dough is sticking too much to the wax paper as you remove it, put the entire sheet back in the freezer for 10 minutes, and try again.
  11. (Optional) Place a clean sheet of parchment paper onto the pie crust, and cover the pie tin with dried beans or rice. You want to use something that will keep the pie crust weighted down. Note that this tends to not make much of a difference with the Paleo version of this crust, but the gluten-y original will puff up unless weighted down in this way.
  12. Alternatively, if you are making butter cookies, this is where you'll cut the crust into shapes and arrange on a cookie sheet.
  13. Bake in the oven at 425 degrees for 15-20 minutes.
  14. Remove and allow to cool.
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