Whole Wheat Pie Crust

This wheat pie crust is tender and flaky and slightly buttery, making it the perfect base for your favorite fruit filling!

Working with pie crusts has always been my biggest challenge. I started making pies years ago using pre-made crusts, and even then I had so many fails! The pies actually tasted good, but didn’t look very beautiful.

Well, I needed a crust for my Apple Pie recipe, and I was determined to make my own pie dough from scratch and have it look lovely as well. Practice makes perfect, right?

Actually, yes! When it comes to making pie, you need to practice, practice, and then practice some more.

I have learned a lot on my journey to the perfect pie crust, and I think I found a method and recipe that gives me consistently good results. I was even able to reduce the total amount of fat and still have it come out tasting buttery and delicious. The kids and husband love it and have not complained about me making it over and over again until I got it right.

Here is what I’ve learned over the years, either from other bakers or my own trial and error:

  • Butter & Oil: Though butter crusts taste delish, they sometimes turn out too crispy and crunchy. Of course, that could be due to my non-expert handling of the dough. So I tried adding a small amount of oil to make the crust more tender. I tried different ratios of butter to oil and finally settled on the proportions below. As long as you use the total amount of fat listed for each crust size, you can play around with the ratios and see what works for you.

  • Vinegar: Apparently a dash of vinegar inhibits some gluten production, resulting in a tender crust. But I’ve also read this is not true, so who knows? I do notice the dough is harder to roll out when not using vinegar. Again, this can be attributed to my non-expert abilities or not adding the right amount of water. Right now it works for me, so I’ll stick with it!

  • Chill Ingredients: I’m sure you know the tip of making sure the butter is chilled. Cold butter is less likely to leak out of the crust while baking. But I go a step further and put the flour and oil in the fridge too, and the water in the freezer. This way, all the ingredients are chilled.

  • Freezing: Since warm hands are likely to soften the butter too much making it difficult to shape, putting the dough periodically in the freezer while crimping and shaping it, helps the crust keep its shape. Once again, the goal is to keep the butter very cold.

  • Blind Bake: Pre-baking or blind baking the bottom crust before adding the filling prevents it from getting soggy. It also helps the pie hold it’s shape better and results in a nice golden crust. This can be challenging with a double pie crust because you’re essentially trying to seal a raw dough (top crust) onto a cooked dough (bottom crust). Though I may not get a beautiful crimp this way, it’s worth it if it means no soggy bottom!

Make the Pie Dough

The recipe starts off easy enough: mix together flour and salt. Oil is then stirred in followed by butter chunks. Both fats are cut into the flour until it resembles coarse sand. It should also be able to clump together when you squeeze it with your hand.

After chilling in the fridge for a few minutes, vinegar and ice water are added. The water is added in small amounts until the flour mixture stars getting clumpy. Be careful to not add too much at once.

Next the clumpy mixture is placed in plastic or wax paper, which allows you to bring the clumps together without overworking the dough. Also, rolling the soft dough into a flat disk while it’s wrapped, forces it to spread into the edges which helps hydrate all the flour and prevents the edges from cracking.

Roll the Dough

After the dough has chilled for long enough, lay it between two pieces of plastic wrap or wax paper. I do this so it doesn’t stick to my rolling surface or rolling pin.

If making a double crust pie, you want to use about 2/3 of the dough for the bottom crust and 1/3 for the top. Then use your pie pan as a guide on how big to roll out the crusts, usually 1-2 inches bigger in diameter than the pan for the bottom crust, and 1 inch bigger than the pan for the top crust.

Place the crusts in the pan with a piece of plastic wrap separating the two crusts, and one on top to keep them from drying out (I reuse the same plastic wrap from the previous step). By placing the top crust on top of the bottom, it takes the shape of the pie pan. So when you invert it later, it will have a rounded shape like a pie cap or pie “toupee.”

Blind Bake the Crust

When it’s time to bake, only take out the bottom crust, leaving the top one in the fridge so it stays chilled.

Line the crust with parchment paper or foil and place pie weights or dried beans on top. You will be doing an initial bake on the lower middle rack of the oven.

After 20 minutes,take the pan out, remove the liner and weights, and prick the bottom of the crust with a fork to prevent it from bubbling up.

Next, either do a partial bake which is best for pies that will need to go back into the oven to cook the filling; or do a full bake which is best for pies that will have a cooked filling and will not need to be baked further.

This recipe might seem to have too many steps, but I wanted to be as detailed as possible because I know pie making can be daunting. It’s actually not that bad when you’re physically doing each step.

I also give instructions for making a 6-inch pie, both single and double crust. If you don’t want to commit to making a regular 9-inch pie, try out the mini version first. You might be surprised at how easy it is!

(Recipe for 6-in Double Pie Crust adapted from Dessert for Two)

What My Family Says:
10 year-old: “It is sweet and crunchy and has a nice texture.”
7 year-old: “It is crunchy, crispy, and crusty.”
Husband: “It’s very good! Love it!”


Baked pie crust on cookie sheet.

Whole Wheat Pie Crust

Joby’s Test Kitchen
This pie crust is tender, flaky, and slightly buttery, making it the perfect base for your favorite fruit filling!
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Servings 1 6-inch or 9-inch single or double crust pie

Ingredients
  

6-inch Single Crust

  • cup (40g) whole wheat flour
  • cup (40g) all-purpose flour
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 2 tbsps (28g) unsalted cold butter, diced small or thinly sliced
  • 2 tsps (10ml) oil
  • tsp apple cider vinegar
  • 2-3 tbsps (30-45 ml) cold water

6-inch Double Crust

  • ½ cup (60g) whole wheat flour
  • ½ cup (60g) all-purpose flour
  • ¼ + ⅛ tsp salt
  • tbsps (35g) unsalted cold butter, diced small or thinly sliced
  • tsps (22ml) oil
  • ¼ tsp apple cider vinegar
  • 3-4 tbsps (45-60ml) ice-cold water

9-inch Single Crust

  • ¾ cup (90g) whole wheat flour
  • ¾ cup (90g) 90g all-purpose flour
  • ½ tsp + a pinch salt
  • tbsps (63g) unsalted cold butter, diced small or thinly sliced
  • tsps (22ml) oil
  • tsp apple cider vinegar
  • 4-6 tbsps (60-90ml) water

9-inch Double Crust

  • cup (150g) whole wheat flour
  • cup (150g) all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 7 tbsps (98g) unsalted cold butter, diced small or thinly sliced
  • 3 tbsps (45ml) oil
  • 2/3 tsp apple cider vinegar
  • 8-10 tbsps (120-150ml) ice-cold water

Instructions
 

  • Mix together the flours and salt. Stir the oil in. Then add the butter and cut it into the flour using a pastry cutter, two butter knives, or a fork. When the butter breaks down to the size of a pea, and all the pieces are coated in flour, use your hands to squeeze the mixture until it clumps together like wet sand. Chill in the fridge for 10 minutes.
  • Take out flour mixture and add the vinegar and a little ice water. Stir with a fork. Keep adding few teaspoons of water at a time, mixing after each addition. The dry crumbly flour will start clumping together. Don’t add too much water! You’ll know when it’s enough water when you have large clumps of dough and no powdery bits of flour remaining.
  • Place the crumb mixture on a piece of plastic wrap (or wax paper) and using the plastic wrap bring the crumbs together until it forms a soft dough. Then cover and wrap it loosely. Using a rolling pin or your hand, gently roll out or press the dough until it forms into a flat disk and spreads out into the edges of the plastic wrap, becoming tightly wrapped (see pics above). Chill in the fridge for 1 hour or up to 1-2 days.

Single Crust:

  • After the dough has chilled at least 1 hour, take it out and lay it between 2 pieces of plastic wrap or wax paper. Roll it to about 1 inch larger than the rim of the pie pan.
  • Picking it up with one of the plastic wraps, flip it over onto the pan. Rather than stretching the dough to fit the pan, gently push the crust all the way into the corners of the pan, until it fits snugly. If you don’t do this step, the pie crust might shrink when you bake it.
  • Fold over the edges underneath itself and pinch/crimp it all the way around. Or use a fork to crimp it. Cover with plastic wrap and keep in fridge until ready to use.

Double Crust:

  • After the dough has chilled at least 1 hour, divide the dough into two portions, one slightly larger than the other. The larger portion will be used for the bottom crust and the smaller portion will be for the top.
  • Form the larger portion into a round disk. In between 2 pieces of plastic wrap or wax paper, roll out the bottom crust making sure it’s about ½-¾ inch larger than the rim of the pie pan. Picking it up with one of the plastic wraps, flip it over onto the pan. Rather than stretching the dough to fit the pan, gently push the crust all the way into the corners of the pan, until it fits snugly. If you don’t do this step, the pie crust might shrink when you bake it. Fix the top edges to make it look neat as possible and make sure all the dough is evenly spread out. You can also tuck in the top a little on to itself to create a rim.
  • Next, reuse the 2 plastic wraps to roll out the top crust the same way, about ¾ to 1 inch larger than the rim of the pie pan.
  • Finally, take one of those plastic wraps and cover the bottom crust completely. Lay the top crust over that, and cover with the second piece of plastic wrap, making sure both crusts are nicely covered. Keep chilled in the fridge until ready to use.

Blind Baking Directions:

  • When ready to bake, preheat your oven to 425℉. Take out dough and pie pan from the fridge. If making a double crust pie, keep the top crust covered with plastic wrap in the fridge. Line with parchment paper or foil and place pie weights or dried beans on top.
  • Bake on the lower middle rack for 20 minutes. Take the pan out of the oven and lift out the paper and weights. Prick the bottom of the crust with a fork. Put it back in the oven and bake.

Partial Blind Bake:

  • 7-10 minutes until it begins to start getting golden.

Full Blind Bake:

  • 15-20 minutes until the crust is golden all over.
Keyword crust, pie, wheat flour