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
Servings: 9" Crust
  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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11 Questions About Butter Coffee, Answered

Whether you’ve been putting butter in your coffee for years, or you’re just hearing about it, chances are that you’ve come across at least some of these questions. While I’ve obviously got an interest in the answer, it’s still a great idea to critically examine as many viewpoints as possible, so that you can draw your own conclusions.

1) What’s this new fad about?

It’s actually not very new. As Dr. Weil explains: “adding butter to hot drinks is a longstanding tradition in many parts of the world. Mixing spiced butter into coffee is common in Ethiopia, for example. Similarly, hot tea with yak butter…”


2) Isn’t all that fat a bad idea?

Of the many debunked nutrition myths many people still cling to, the Lipid Hypothesis is among the most stubborn. There are ample reasons to doubt the assertion that fat intake leads directly to heart disease, but the story is far more complicated than a simplistic “eating A causes B” simplification. Among those which I find most compelling, this is an excellent place to start.

Also take a look at Why a High-Fat Diet is Healthy and Safe, paying particular attention to the fact that the types of fat are essential.


3) But fat is fat, right? What’s the difference?

It’s tempting to think that what we call “fat” is basically all the same thing. Again, start with some basic definitions, paying careful attention to the differences between monounsaturated, polyunsaturated, essential fatty acids and saturated fats. And keep an open mind, because much of what you may think you know about these (“they’re all bad”; “avoid fat entirely”; etc.) deserves a much closer look.

Saturated fat has received a bad reputation, but it's what 1/2 of our cells' membranes are made of, and it's essential for good health
A saturated fat molecule. Saturated fat has received a bad reputation, but it’s what 1/2 of our cells’ membranes are made of, and it’s essential for good health

Because of what we’ve chosen to make fatCoffee from, it bears taking a moment to learn a bit about saturated fat, which many people assume is another phrase for “pure, concentrated evil.” It’s not. Saturated fat is an essential dietary element, as it comprises about 1/2 of our cell membranes. And “saturated animal fats, like butter or fatty organ meats, contain huge amounts of essential fat-soluble vitamins (K2, A, D, among others).” (Read more…)


4) Great, so butter is awesome. Any butter, though, right?

If only it were that simple! There are an abundance of differences between butter from grass-fed cows and butter from cows which eat grains. Your best bet for obtaining excellent, high-quality butter is your local farmer’s market. fatCoffee® is made with ghee that comes from 100% grass-fed cows, pastured in Lancaster County, PA (about 20 miles from where we make it.)


5) Why would I actually put butter in my coffee? It tastes fine on this piece of toast.

To each her own, but you might want to think again about that toast. Apart from the awesome nutritional profile of grass-fed butter, adding it to your coffee, and shaking it vigorously or using a blender, makes an incredible, latte-like beverage. And unlike these concoctions, none of that amazing taste comes from refined sugars.

If you’re a coffee drinker, adding grass-fed butter has some potential benefits.


6) But why ghee? And what is ghee?

One of the essential reasons I began looking for an alternative to butter was that I wanted to make butter coffee when I traveled. And although some folks don’t mind packing a Nutribullet and a stick of butter with them, I found that TSA officials tend to be suspicious of big oily stains seeping through your carry-on luggage.

Plus, butter needs to be refrigerated, and do you really want rancid, spoiled butter in your coffee? Of course not.

Ghee, on the other hand, doesn’t need to be refrigerated. And the reason is simple: ghee is simply butter, with the water and milk solids taken out. Take a pound of butter, put it in a pot over medium heat for about 15 minutes, then strain the resulting goodness through a bit of cheesecloth. What comes out on the other side is ghee.

7) How does this actually taste? 

Well, if you ask me, it tastes amazing. But it would, right? It’s butter, and most people don’t complain that “this food is just too buttery. I mean, it’s just so succulent and mouth watering and satisfying, I can’t stand it.”

But truth be told, there’s definitely a trick to it: you need to mix it up good. Because butter floating on top of coffee tastes like… well, a mouthful of butter, followed by a cup of coffee.

When you mix it up, the fat in the butter emulsifies into the coffee, and the result is a very creamy, smooth, latte-like beverage.

Think of it this way: on a scale of 1-10, where “1” is the limp, pasty complexion of coffee with skim milk, and 10 is the rich, creamy succulence of coffee with heavy cream, butter ranks around 12.


8) So, it’s high calorie, yeah?

Yes, not that that’s a bad thing. Again, look at the structure of what’s going into your coffee. Grass-fed butter has a vastly different nutritional profile than conventional whole milk – and, heaven-forbid, CoffeeMate (whoa, those are certainly some… ingredients.)


9) Coffee + Butter = Breakfast?

Satiating, certainly. And some people do find that they’ll skip breakfast when they have butter coffee, but we don’t recommend it. (Besides, why would you skip bacon?) Many people who drink butter coffee find that it helps them stay focused and energized through the morning.

But I tend to view butter coffee in general, and fatCoffee in particular, as a supplement to a breakfast that is high in the nutrients which butter and coconut oil aren’t. (Which are plenty, and important.)


10) This all sounds complicated

There are a number of recipes you can follow for making butter coffee, but I obviously have my favorite:

  • Add 1 packet of fatCoffee to a small, sealable water bottle
  • Add 8 oz of fresh-brewed, hot coffee
  • Shake for 30 seconds; open carefully
  • Drink (or, optionally, pour it into a mug first)

Here’s a source of  15 Bulletproof Coffee Recipes That Will Get Your Body and Mind FIRING you can check out – I think a good number of them work quite well with fatCoffee.


11) Does it matter what kind of coffee I use?

There are definitely people who think it does, as well as some considerable number of people who’ll tell you that most single-source, fresh-roasted beans are equally fine to use. We have sourced some excellent single-source coffee which I’m including in our Private Beta Taste Release 1, if you’re lucky enough to get a pack.