Vegan Pie Crust Recipe

Homemade pie crust is one of those things that can be intimidating to make the first time, but it’s actually not that hard. I got a new pie plate and a pie bird for Christmas, so I wanted to try them out. I veganized a pie crust recipe from The Joy of Cooking to make an apple pie a little while back and the crust came out perfectly. Everyone has their own way of making pie crust, but this one works really well for me.

Growing up, my mom always made her own pie crusts, and she’s really good at it. Maybe I’m just spoiled, but I think homemade pie crust is so much better than frozen store bought crust! It’s really worth the effort to make it yourself. Try out this recipe with your favorite filling. It makes enough for the top and bottom crust for a 9 inch pie plate. It could also work as the top of a pot pie if you added in some savory spices like thyme or rosemary.

Unbaked Pie

A few tips before you start… The recipe calls for using ice cold water. The reason that you want cold water is so the shortening and vegan butter don’t melt in the dough. On that note, the shortening and vegan butter should also be cold when you start working with them. Don’t leave the vegan butter out to soften up. Another important thing is not to overwork the dough or it will get tough. Just do enough to get everything combined. The amount of water you need to add can also vary greatly depending on a lot of different factors. Just pay attention to the dough and only add a little at a time until you have just enough. If you’re wondering what a pie bird is, it’s a little ceramic bird that is open on the bottom and the beak. It helps vent steam out of your pie while it bakes. They help prevent the filling from boiling up and breaking through the crust.

If you want some very detailed and more scientific info about making pie crust and the various factors that come into play, check out this post on Serious Eats called The Food Lab: The Science of Pie Dough.

Baked Pie

Ingredients:

2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp vegan sugar
1 tsp salt
1/2 cup Spectrum vegetable shortening
1 cup vegan butter (Earth Balance or Smart Balance) or another cup of vegetable shortening
1/3 + 1 tbsp (and maybe more) of ice cold water

Directions:

  • In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour, sugar, and salt. Stir so they are well combined.
  • Break the vegan butter and shortening into chunks and add them to the dry ingredients. Using a pastry cutter or fork, cut the shortening into the dry ingredients. The mixture will start to form crumbs, with some of the shortening and vegan butter remaining in about pea size clumps. Don’t over mix it. It should be dry and crumby, not pasty like a dough or batter.
  • Slowly drizzle 1/3 cup plus 1 Tbsp of ice cold water over the mixture. Using a spatula, gently cut the water into the mixture so it’s evenly distributed. It will start to form into balls of dough that should stick together if you press them together. If the dough won’t come together, continue to add ice cold water 1 tbsp at a time until it does. The dough should be a little on the dry and flaky side however, so don’t add too much water. You can use your hands or the spatula to gently coax the dough together. It’s not going to look smooth like bread dough. It will be a rougher texture. It’s okay to still see little bits of the shortening and butter in the dough. Don’t overwork the dough. Just do enough to get everything combined.
  • Separate the dough into two even balls and wrap them tightly in plastic wrap. Refrigerate them for at least half an hour, but it’s best to leave it several hours.
  • When you’re ready to use the dough, preheat the oven to 425°. Roll the dough out on a floured surface using a floured rolling pin until it has formed a circle big enough for your pie plate. If any holes form, patch them with extra dough. Using the rolling pin to support the dough, pick it up and place it flat in the pie plate. Pinch off excess dough that hangs over the sides.
  • If you’re using a pie bird, place the pie bird in the middle of the crust and fill the pie with your favorite fruit filling around the pie bird. The bird’s head should be sticking out of the top of the fruit. Then roll out the dough for the top in the same way you rolled the bottom. Lift it up with the rolling pin and place it on top of the filling. Cut a little x in the center of the dough so the head of the pie bird can peak through the crust. Crimp down the edges of the dough to form a seal, removing excess dough as you go. If you aren’t using a pie bird, you’ll want to poke the top crust with a fork 6-8 times around the top so the steam can vent.
  • Before baking the pie, I brushed on a little soy milk and sprinkled on some cinnamon sugar, but this is optional. I like the texture and golden color it creates on top though.
  • Bake the pie at 425° for 30 minutes, then lower the temperature to 350° and bake 30 to 45 minutes more. The top of the pie should look golden brown and you should see thick juice bubbling around the edges when it’s done. Pull the pie out of the oven and let it cool. Enjoy!

Cinnamon Buns From Vegan Yum Yum

In the morning when I get off the bus, there’s a Cinnabon right next to the stop. The smell always hits me as I walk through the door, and it was making me really crave cinnamon buns last week. I decided to try making some at home.

I found an amazing recipe on Vegan Yum Yum. The cinnamon buns come out just as good or better than Cinnabon. They also probably have just as many calories.  I must admit I felt like I gained 40 pounds just by making these before I’d even tasted one. They contain a lot of vegan butter and sugar. Healthy, they are not, but they are really, really yummy.

One batch made three containers or about 14 cinnamon buns. I would definitely recommend having a plan in place to share these with friends and family. They got good reviews from everyone who tried them. They are addictive, but you really don’t want to eat these all by yourself. You’ll see when you make them.

They rise quite a bit. The dough stays soft and the perfect texture when baked. They don’t dry out, which can happen sometimes with cinnamon buns. I would really recommend making these at least once. This is not a recipe for all the time, but if you want to splurge, these are really worth it.

I’m not going to copy and paste the recipe here, because there are great directions, photos, and a video on Vegan Yum Yum. I would recommend you follow the recipe right from that site, watch the video, and they will turn out perfectly. I’ve included my photos of the process. Hope you enjoy these cinnamon buns!

The yeast proofs while you are prepping the other ingredients.

Mixing all the dough ingredients together.

This is the dough after mixing, but before the first rise.

This is the dough after it’s risen the first time. You can see that it rises quite a lot compared to the last photo.

Once the dough is rolled out, a generous layer of vegan butter goes on top.

On top of the butter goes a generous sprinkling of cinnamon and sugar.

After the vegan butter and cinnamon sugar layers, the dough gets rolled up. On Vegan Yum Yum there are instructions on how to cut the rolls with a piece of thread. This technique works really well, and I would recommend trying it out.

Once the cinnamon buns are in the pans they need to rise again. This recipe made three tins this size, which was about 14 cinnamon buns.

These are the cinnamon buns right out of the oven.

A cinnamon bun, ready to eat, with vegan cream cheese frosting on top. They were yummy warm and cold, whichever you prefer.

Homemade Vegan Naan

I was inspired to try making my own vegan naan after seeing this recipe posted on the blog Bacon is Not an Herb a while back. She originally found the naan recipe on PETA’s website. I didn’t change anything (besides adding a little salt and garlic powder during cooking) because it’s a simple recipe and it came out well. I’m just sharing in hopes that you’ll feel inspired to make some too!

A lot of times naan that you find in restaurants or stores isn’t vegan, so it was really nice to make my own. I was really missing it from my pre-vegan days! Thanks to Terri from Bacon is Not an Herb for posting this recipe!

Ingredients:

1 tsp. active dry yeast (about a 1/2 package)
1/2 cup warm water
1 Tbsp. sugar
3 Tbsp. soy milk
1 tsp. salt
1 3/4-2 cups bread flour
2 Tbsp. olive oil
salt and garlic powder optional

Directions:

•In a large bowl, dissolve the yeast in warm water. Let stand about 10 minutes, until frothy.

•Stir in the sugar, soy milk, salt, and enough flour to make a soft dough, between 1 3/4 to 2 cups.

•Knead for 6 to 8 minutes on a lightly floured surface or until smooth. Place in a well-oiled bowl, cover with a damp cloth, and set aside to rise. Let it rise 1 hour, until the dough has doubled in volume.

•Punch down the dough then roll into golf ball-size pieces and place on a baking sheet. Cover with a towel and allow to rise until doubled in size, about 30 minutes.

•Preheat a pan to high heat and lightly oil. Roll each ball of dough into a thin circle then add to pan one at a time. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes, or until bubbles begin to brown and brush the top side with additional oil. Flip the bread and cook for 2 to 3 minutes on the other side. I tried sprinkling a little garlic powder and salt on top before flipping and it turned out really well. Continue until all the bread is cooked.