I’m actually making a pie for Pi Day. If this doesn’t impress you then I’m sorry, but I usually never remember these fun food holidays so this feels like kinda a big deal for me. This is a simple classic vegan berry pie with a flaky crust made with a little bit of spelt flour for good measure and a very ooey gooey fruity filling with hints of lemon and vanilla bean throughout.
I used my go-to vegan flaky pie crust recipe and subbed in a 1/2 cup of spelt flour and added a spoonful of my homemade vanilla bean extract with vanilla bean seeds. If you have something similar go ahead and use it or instead scrape the seeds from 1 whole vanilla bean or use vanilla bean paste or powder. Options. For the fat I used 1/2 vegan butter alternative (earth balance) and 1/2 shortening (nutiva) plus a smidge of extra virgin olive oil (it makes it extra flaky). I get a lot of questions about this… No I don’t chill the dough before rolling. I know. Breathe. While chilling pastry dough is necessary when using dairy butter, I found that it doesn’t really matter with vegan butter or shortening because… they don’t melt so quickly like real butter. It’s also much easier to roll out, especially if your using whole grain flours, and you wont have any of those pesky cracks.
Having no-cracks in your bottom crust is important for avoiding the dreaded soggy bottom. It’s also important to seal and crimp the top and bottom crust well to avoid side leakage down into the outside for the bottom crust. Take care and go back over your crimping to to be sure it sealed tightly. Then you should be good. Even with this very juicy vegan berry pie filling the bottom crust comes out beautiful and there is no need to blind bake it first.
When I decided to make a pie yesterday (so last minute… my m.o.) I didn’t have many options so I checked the freezer and found bags of wild Maine blueberries that my parents brought us fresh from Maine last summer. Perfect, right? So blueberry pie it was with a bit of frozen raspberries too. I’m calling this berry pie because you can use and one or combo of berries, though I’d probably pass on strawberries, unless you’re doing them rhubarb of course. Adding lemon zest and juice and more vanilla extract, or whatever vanilla concoction you have, gives this pie a wonderful flavor and aroma. You can even throw the scraped vanilla bean pod into the mix and it will infuse itself nicely into the filling while its baking – plus someone gets a surprise in their slice.
I posted step-by-step time lapse videos of me making this vegan berry pie, how I cut the crust and all that (made it up as I went), on my Instagram stories last night. Saved them in my highlights here if you want to watch along. On that note, I appreciate all of your awesome messages on my food stories. Thanks for watching and if you have any questions just shoot me a message or leave a comment below!
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Vegan Berry Pie with Vanilla Bean Spelt Crust
Yield 8 servings
Sweet juicy berries are dressed with lemon zest and vanilla bean then nestled into a flaky af spelt vanilla bean crust in this updated version of classic berry pie.
for the Pastry Crust
- 1/2 cup spelt flour
- 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 cup (or 2 sticks) vegan butter or shortening or 1/2-1/2 mix
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- seeds scraped from 1 vanilla bean
- ice water
for the Filling
- 5 cups frozen or fresh berries such as blueberries, raspberries and/or blackberries
- 2 cups organic sugar
- 1/4 cup organic cornstarch
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- zest of 1 lemon, finely grated
- juice of 1/2 of lemon
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract (with seeds if possible)
for the "Eggwash"
- 3 tablespoons non-dairy milk
- 1/2 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
- 1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 teaspoon maple syrup
- 1/8 teaspoon turmeric powder (optional)
- extra organic sugar for sanding the crust
Prepare the Crust
- Whisk flours, salt and vanilla bean seeds together with a fork in a medium sized mixing bowl.
- Cut vegan butter (if using) into small cubes and coat each piece in the flour. If using all shortening then break it up into smaller pieces with your hands in the flour. Cut butter and/or shortening into flour until it reaches a consistency of coarse breadcrumbs with some pea-sized pieces.
- Add ice water 1 tablespoon at a time, stirring with a fork after each addition until the dough is shaggy but holds together when squeezed.
- Turn dough out onto work surface and press it into a ball. Cut the ball in half and form each half into a disc. Wrap one half and set aside. *Note: when using vegan butter/shortening there is really no need to chill the dough at this point before rolling it out, unlike when using dairy butter, which melts more easily.
- Lightly flour the work surface and dough and press dough into larger disc with the rolling pin. Roll dough out to a 1/4" thick circle. Fold dough over the rolling pin and transfer it to a pie plate. Trim overhang to 1" with kitchen shears or a sharp knife.
- Unwrap the second disc of dough and roll out in the same manner. This it the top crust so make any decorative cuts now or cut into strips for a lattice crust. If you're planning to transfer the top crust directly onto the pie then roll it out on parchment paper so it is easier to move around.
Prepare the Filling
- Preheat oven to 425˚F and line a sheet pan with parchment paper or tinfoil.
- In the same mixing bowl you made the pastry dough in, add berries and coat them in the cornstarch now to avoid clumps later.
- Add the remaining filling ingredients and stir everything together evenly.
- Add filling to the bottom crust then place the top crust over the filling. Trim overhang to 1" like the bottom crust.
- Tuck the overhang of both crusts under itself and crimp edges to form a tight seal.
- Whisk the "eggwash" ingredients, aside from the extra sugar, together with a fork in a small ramekin. Brush the top crust and crimped edges generously with the "eggwash" then sprinkle a little sugar over the top crust.
- Place pie on the prepared baking sheet and bake at 425˚F for about 25 minutes. Check the crust 1/2 through and if the edges are browning too quickly, take pie out of the oven and cover the edges with strips of tinfoil to form a crown, leaving the center of the pie uncovered. Return to oven immediately and add those minutes the pie was out of the oven back to the baking time.
- After 25 minutes at 425˚F reduce temperature to 375˚F and bake for an additional 30 minutes until the center of the piecrust is golden brown and the filling is bubbling everywhere.
- Remove pie from oven and transfer to a cooling rack to cool to room temperature and let the filling set up. It is even better to wait until the next day to cut the pie if you don't like runny filling.
- Leftover pie will keep covered at room temp for a few days or refrigerated for up to 1 week.
- The vanilla bean can be subbed with vanilla bean paste or powder or extract with seeds in it.
- Add a splash of rum, whisky or bourbon to the filling if you're so inclined.
- The dough can be made ahead, formed in to discs then wrapped and refrigerated for up to 1 week or frozen for up to 6 months. Bring to room temp before rolling it out.
- I used Earth Balance Buttery Sticks and Nutiva Shortening with Coconut Oil for this recipe (not sponsored in any way)
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