Alternatives to pie crusts, a flaky love affair

FlakyLoveAffairICC2Did your gram make the perfect pie crust?

Mine did. She made it look effortless, but for many people it’s not.

It really only turned a corner for me once I attended pastry school, and I understood the balance between flakiness and crunchiness, and how much (or little) to handle the crust. If you’d like to perfect your pie crust, then this year I am teaching a class about it called Perfect Pies and tarts, just in time for Thanksgiving and all those holiday treats that require a crust.

All that said, there are so many other options available that create a great texture, and go perfectly with just about any pie filling, especially a fruit one.

Here are three options:

FlakyLoveAffairICCDanishDanish dough 

Takes a bit of time, but an unbelievable result, and if you need help with this, I teach a class on this too - Upcoming Flaky Viennoiserie class


Danish Recipe:

600gr   Bread Flour 240gr   Milk 120gr   Eggs or 2 extra large eggs 60gr    Sugar 12gr     Yeast 12gr     Salt ________________________

250gr Butter, unsalted 50gr Bread Flour

  1. Incorporate all ingredients (except for butter/flour mixture) on low speed for 3 minutes. Dough should be medium stiff consistency.
  2. Increase mixing speed to medium and mix until dough becomes smooth, but not fully developed. Dough temperature should be 75˚F/24˚C
  3. Remove dough from mixer and let ferment ½  hour at room temperature. (Covered)
  4. Shape dough into a rectangle, cover again and refrigerate dough overnight.
  5. Place prepared butter (pliable) on ½ of the dough rectangle, and then fold over to cover butter. Roll dough to a thickness of about ½ inch (8mm) and fold into three equal parts like a business letter. (single fold)
  6. Refrigerate dough for 30 minutes. Do one three fold, then let the dough rest for about 15 minutes (in the fridge if it is getting too warm, and then repeat again for a total of 4 three folds. Refrigerate dough at least one hour before make-up.
  7. Roll dough to a thickness of 3mm and cut into 75 g squares for most shapes, or long skinny strips for ‘twists'
  8. Shape and egg wash, and proof for 1 to 1 ½ hours @77˚F (covered under greased plastic sheet).
  9. Egg-wash and bake 16 to 18 minutes @ 375˚F / 190˚C After baking for 10 minutes and then put filling on those shapes that have space and return to the oven.

FlakyLoveAffairICCPhyloPhyllo Bundles - great for individual portions

1 pkg   Phyllo sheets, thawed in fridge overnight, then cut into 6 inches squares 225g   butter, unsalted, melted 100g   sugar - with a pinch cinnamon, if desired


  1. On each square brush the entire surface with the melted butter, then place another layer on top and repeat until there are 3 layers.
  2. Place these 3 layered squares into large muffin tin holders, pressing them down into the bottom.
  3. Fill each one with a scoop of desired filling and then bring the lose ends up and twist them around the pocket of filling.
  4. Brush the outside of the bundle with butter, and then sprinkle lightly with the cinnamon sugar.
  5. Bake at 400F until phyllo is golden brown on the bottom of the bundle.

FlakyLoveAffairICCTatinPuffy Pastry "Tatin-style fruit tart"

This layer is usually placed over the top of an oven proof pan (a skillet works really well), and then baked.

Once it is ready, it is flipped upside down out of the pan and onto a plate or serving dish, putting the crust on the bottom. An example of this is a classic Tart Tatin.

  1. Puff Pastry thawed, rolled out to 1/3 of centimetre thick, and cut into rounds slightly large then the diameter of the pan
  2. Place over the apples/fruit filling in the pan. Trim the pastry and push/tuck the edges down around the fruit, using a spoon dusted with flour.
  3. Brush the pastry using a milk/egg yolk wash, then place in a pre-heated oven (400 F - 200C-) and cook for 15 minutes or until golden brown.
  4. Remove from heat and let cool slightly.
  5. Place a serving plate over the pan and flip the tart onto the plate.