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This easy to work with Paleo Pie Crust dough crimps beautifully and works well for summer or holiday pies. Enjoy grain-free flaky crust again!
Paleo Pie Crust with cassava flour
It was my mission to create the perfect Paleo pastry dough after discovering cassava flour. It’s white flour, after all. And our family hadn’t had real pie crust for about six years.
Soooo … June (summer fruits) and the upcoming holidays finally made me do it. When rhubarb came, it was a reminder that pie season in full force was just around the corner. I made cobblers and crumbles.
But what about topping the pie with pastry cut-outs and a great pie shell that could really hold a pretty crimp?
I learned to make pie crust from my aunt-in-law. Shortly after getting married it seemed an important kitchen skill to learn — because my husband loves pie. Lovely Auntie Jan taught me, and she taught one of her daughters-in-law at the same time. A good memory. I wasn’t instantly great at the technique. But almost everything I needed to know about making pie I learned that afternoon.
Those same principles apply to pie crust made with cassava flour. It’s like white flour in a lot of ways. Even the glutenous quality. Of course, cassava flour is not only gluten-free, it’s grain-free. But it’s stretchy, a bit, as if it had gluten. (As I’ve mentioned before, cassava flour also contains resistant starch, which is great for colon health and the gut ecosystem.)
Ingredients & ratios for Paleo Pie Crust
My aunt taught us that the ratio of flour to fat needs to be close to 2:1. This principle applies! It’s how I approached this recipe and succeeded on the first go.
The principle of fat to liquid we learned, gets tweaked a bit here. An egg (plus the usual ice water) makes cassava pastry get waaay flakier. (It’s optional, and I give an egg-free flaky AIP alternative below that’s great!)
I also recently updated this recipe after much “playing round” to improve the recipe more: I’ve added a small amount of arrowroot and tapioca flour to make the recipe even flakier, and the bite completely tender.
(This changed the overall flour to fat ratio, but I’m so happy with final result, and life is often a process!)
You’ll find below a super simple recipe, easy to make, and a dough that’s easy to handle.
WHICH FAT TO USE
I use unsalted Kerrygold butter in this recipe. It’s pasture-raised and a good, gentle butter that’s easy to digest.
You can also use animal fat to make this dough. I have made this dough with tallow + duck fat; and I’ve made it with leaf lard. (Find it on Etsy.) (If you use tallow all by itself, don’t chill it, as that creates a less pliable dough; tallow gets really hard.)
This recipe makes the perfect quantity of dough for one bottom pie crust. You can double the recipe if you’d like a top crust or to cut out shapes for the top.
WHICH CASSAVA FLOUR TO USE
It’s important in all of my cassava recipes to use either Otto’s or Bob’s. Recipes made with other cassava flours do not turn out the same, because other brands harvest older cassava roots, which are starchier and behave more like tapioca flour in recipes.
I know it’s nice to save money on bulk cassava from large companies, but with baking, I only recommend these two companies.
Otto’s is in the process of being certified organic, so if you’ve ever doubted the sustainability of their product, I think they’re a very conscientious company with a truly healthy cassava flour. (You can find Otto’s here. It’s great to buy in bulk or put on autoship, to save.)
The AIP version of Paleo Pie Crust
To avoid confusion, I’ve printed the AIP version of this recipe separately — in the Recipe Notes below the recipe — (as well as within the recipe itself).
Two of the ingredients in Paleo Pie Crust, that I don’t include in the AIP version, are actually AIP-compliant (tapioca flour and arrowroot). BUT, they are there to interact with the egg in the Paleo version. SO, they’re NOT needed in the AIP version.
The AIP Pie Crust is very simple and very good. There are actually fewer ingredients in the AIP crust. I’ve made the recipe repeatedly to make sure it works perfectly, and I know you’ll be happy with it. 🙂
Paleo Pie Crust (with wonderful AIP version)
- food processor or hand held pastry blender
- 1 cup cassava flour
- ½ cup unsalted butter or leaf lard; Grain Brain palm oil works too; (for AIP: use only the leaf lard or palm oil option [Do NOT use Spectrum palm oil.])
- ½ cup ice water (for AIP: use 4 to 5 Tablespoons)
- 3 Tablespoons arrowroot powder (omit for AIP)
- 2 Tablespoons tapioca flour (omit for AIP)
- 1 egg (omit for AIP)
- 1 Tablespoon apple cider vinegar (for AIP: use 1-½ teaspoons)
- ¼ teaspoon sea salt omit if using salted butter
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Cut butter (or preferred fat) into 1 Tablespoon sections. Place in freezer for 10 minutes.
- Put cassava flour, arrowroot and tapioca into food processor (or work bowl, if you're using handheld pastry blender). Add sea salt. Blend to mix. Remove cold butter from freezer and cut tablespoons in half, so they are in 1/2-tablespoon rectangles/sections. Add these to food processor and pulse to blend, until largest pieces are pea size (or a bit smaller if using a pastry blender by hand).
- Add egg, water and apple cider vinegar, and pour over flour in a donut-shaped gully. Pulse. Use Pulse button until mixture begins to come together: see photo — about 10 seconds.
- Dump out contents of food processor onto a large square of parchment paper. (Reserve half if you've doubled the recipe to cut out shapes for the top.) Form into a circle with your hands, pressing and patting it together. The circle will be about 7" in diameter. Place second large square of parchment paper onto dough and begin rolling out with rolling pin, from the center, until you have an 11"-12" circle. (Ideally the center is rolled thinly, as this creates a flakier texture.)
- Transfer pie crust to pie plate by peeling off one side of parchment, placing pie plate upside down on pastry, sliding your hand under pastry that still has parchment, then flipping the whole thing over using both hands. If any breaks off you'll be able to piece it back together. Carefully peel remaining parchment paper off of top.
- Allow crust to slide down into pie plate, fitting into concave shape. Fold over and flute/crimp top edges. If dough breaks during transfer, it easily pieces back together. Dust your fingers with cassava flour if edges are sticky. To bake the crust blind (without filling), prick all over with fork and bake in preheated oven for about 30 minutes. (To prevent the sides from collapsing in a couple of places, you can line the crust with parchment and pie weights for the first 10 to 15 minutes of baking; then empty and continue for remainder of baking time.) Otherwise fill and bake according to chosen recipe. If you wish, brush crimped edges of pie with egg yolk, to create a really golden outcome.
AIP Pie CrustThis recipe may be doubled. Ingredients
- 1 cup cassava flour
- ½ cup leaf lard or Grain Brain palm oil (Do not use Spectrum palm oil.)
- 4 to 5 Tablespoons water
- 1-½ teaspoons apple cider vinegar
- ¼ teaspoon sea salt
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Scoop preferred fat into 1 Tablespoon sections (approximately, doesn't need to be exact). Place in freezer for 10 minutes on parchment lined plate.
- Put cassava flour and sea salt into food processor (or work bowl, if you're using handheld pastry blender). Blend to mix. Remove cold fat from freezer and cut tablespoons in half, so they are in 1/2-tablespoon rectangles/sections. Add these to food processor and pulse to blend, until largest pieces are pea size (or a bit smaller if using a pastry blender by hand).
- Add water and apple cider vinegar, and pour over flour in a donut-shaped gully. Pulse.
- Proceed with Step 5 in the main recipe above.
Here’s a Marionberry Pie I made with this crust. I love how the crust holds its crimp so well, for pretty fluted edges.