This dough is adapted from the Tart and Pie Dough by Alice Waters. I have veganized it simply by substituting Earth Balance Buttery Sticks, instead of cow butter. This dough is tender, buttery, flaky and crisp, as any tart dough should be. Don’t let this lattice crust distract you, this is a tart dough that can also be used for pies. There is also a pate sucree (sweet tart dough) that can be used, and I have not tried veganizing that yet (but I will). In a pate sucree, we need to eliminate the egg, as well as change the fat.
Vegan Tart and Pie Dough
Makes two 10-ounce balls of dough, enough for two 11-inch tarts or one double-crust 9-inch pie.
This recipe is easily halved or doubled. You can make this recipe a day or two ahead. This freezes well, and can be kept in freezer for two months. This is also good for savory tarts and galettes.
½ Cup ice water
2 Cups all-purpose unbleached flour
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
12 Tablespoons (1.5 sticks) cold Earth Balance Buttery Sticks vegan butter, cut into small (1/4 inch) cubes
-Put rolling pin into the freezer.
-Put cut-up vegan butter cubes into the freezer for at least 15 minutes.
-Have some bench flour at your side.
-Mix together flour and salt.
-Using a pastry cutter, cut the butter into flour, leaving some of the butter in larger pieces (this will take a couple of minutes).
-Pour in three quarters of the ice water while stirring with a fork, until dough just begins to form clumps.
-Add rest of water if needed.
-Gather dough gently into a shaggy ball and then cut it in two.
-Compress each dough ball into a disc and wrap in parchment paper.
-Let dough discs “rest” in refrigerator for at least one hour, or for two days if you like. This rest is critical for ease of rolling.
You can roll out the dough on the parchment paper that you wrapped the dough in. The way I do this is to crease/fold one inch of the long paper edge over my counter edge, and then I lean on that edge to hold the paper in place. Either way, flour your surface and your chilled rolling pin. Roll from the center out away from you. Lift and give the dough a quarter turn after each couple of rolls. Flip the dough over every couple of times, and smooth a little flour on the dough or the rolling pin to keep it from sticking. Pinch together any cracks in the dough, but don’t stress. You want about 1/8” thickness when you’re done. Once you’re done rolling, dust off any excess flour with the light touch of a dish towel, your hands, or a soft dry brush.
If making a flat rustic tart (with no pan), place crust onto a parchment-lined baking sheet. To move the dough, lift an edge of the dough and curl/place it onto your rolling pin and roll the dough partly onto the pin and lift it this way. A flat spatula can sometimes help too, if you don’t have a pastry scraper. Put dough back into refrigerator to chill, baking sheet and all. If fruit is very wet, spread about one Tablespoon of flour evenly in a circle on the dough, leaving a two-inch border free of flour at the entire edge of the circle. Pile on fruit and fold and crimp the two-inch un-floured border of dough up over the fruit. Sugar the top of this pleated dough edge.
If filling a tart pan, put dough right into the tart pan, and trim and/or crimp the edges and place the dough and pan back in the refrigerator to firm up before filling and finishing. If fruit is wet, brush bottom of tart (not sides) with a tablespoon of flour (to keep bottom crust from getting soggy). This Tablespoon of flour can be mixed with sugar, chopped nuts or ground spices if you like. Or, instead of the Tablespoon of flour, you could spread a couple of tablespoons of jam on the bottom of your tart pastry but this works best for fruit that’s only slightly juicy. Bake tart according to your filling directions. You will want your tart pan on the lower rack. I’m not brave enough to put it on the bottom rack, so I put it one rack above the bottom, but bottom rack is suggested by Alice Waters. To make my cherry pie, I had my oven at 400 degrees Fahrenheit. The chilled dough hitting the hot oven will give it a good puff.
To bake this crust “blind” (without a filling), line the shell with a piece of parchment paper, then fill tart with a layer of dried beans or pie weights. Bake in a 375 degree Fahrenheit oven for 15 minutes, or until lightly golden around the edge. Take empty tart out of oven, remove parchment paper and weights. Return to oven and cook another 5 to 7 minutes, until tart is an even, light golden brown.
Additional tips from Alice Waters are to glaze the tart after baking. You can do this with the fruit juice in the tart itself, or heat up a little jam and glaze it with that. Other cookbooks suggest heating apple jelly and I like this idea because it would be clear and let the fruit shine through. Fruit should be fitted snugly in the tart because it will shrink as it bakes. If using really tart fruits such as rhubarb, tart plums, sour cherries or apricots, sprinkle top of fruit with another tablespoon or two of sugar before dotting with butter. Another way to create a barrier between the pastry and the juice is to spread about 1/2 Cup of frangipane (a mixture of almond paste, sugar and butter) over the pastry (I have also seen someone just use almond paste from the supermarket, but I don’t yet know if almond paste has egg in it).