Master Barley Flour Pie Crust
The trick in making a better pie crust is to keep all ingredients as cold as possible throughout the process of making and rolling out the crust. If the fat (lard, butter, or whatever) becomes too warm, it will melt into the flour, as opposed to remaining separate. It is the pieces of un-melted fat in the dough that melts when baking, creating melted fat pockets, that then create flake.Don't be affraid to re-cool the dough any time during the making or rolling process. In fact, I have even place the flour in the fridge, along with using ice water and frozen fat, just to help keep the temperature down.
As it turns out, Barley is a very good substitute for wheat flour. Unfortunately, barley does contain gluten, so this is not a gluten free recipe. But barley has a slightly sweet flavor, and makes for a nice, slightly sweet alternative to white wheat flour. Or better yet, try Black Nile Barley Flour, which is whole grain -- although you would never know it. It is not heavy like whole wheat, so it makes for a healthy option.... And delicious too.
2 1/2 cups Barley or Black Nile Barley Flour, plus extra for rolling
1 cup un-salted butter or lard, very-cold and cut into 1/2 inch cubes
1 teaspoon fine sea salt
1 teaspoon superfine sugar
6 to 8 tablspons ice water
1 Combine barley flour, salt, and sugar in a food processor and pulse to mix.Place in freezer for 15 minutes to cool.
2. Add butter/lard cubes to flour mixture in processor, and pulse 6 to 8 times, until mixture resembles coarse meal, with pea size pieces of butter. Add ice water 1 Tbsp at a time, pulsing until mixture just begins to clump together. If you pinch dough holds together when you pinch it, it's ready. If the dough doesn't hold together, add a little more water and pulse again.
3. Remove dough from bowl and place in a mound on a clean surface. Gently shape into 2 discs - one slightly larger than the other. Knead the dough just enough to form the discs, but do not over-knead. Sprinkle discs with flour, and wrap each disc in plastic wrap and place in the refrigerate at least 1 hour, or up to 2 days.
4. Remove larger crust disk from the refrigerator at a time. Let sit at room temperature for a few minutes to soften just a bit. Roll out into a 12 inch circle with a rolling pin on a lightly floured surface. It should be about 1/8 of an inch thick. As you roll out the dough, check if the dough is sticking to the surface below. If necessary, add a few sprinkles of flour under the dough to keep the dough from sticking. Carefully place onto a 9-inch pie plate. Gently press the pie dough down so that it lines the bottom and sides of the pie plate. Use a pair of kitchen scissors or a small knife to trim the dough to within 1/2 inch of the edge of the pie dish.
5. Add whatever filling is desired. If recipe calls for a pre-baked crust, place dried beans or pie crust stones on the bottom of the crust to prevent it from lifting up while baking, and bake accordingly.
6. Roll out second circle of crust to about 11 inches and 1/8 inch thick. Place on top of filled crust, and seal edges by folding to top crust under the bottom, and pressing with fingers or fork. Score the top crust with 2-3 cuts, so that steam can escape when baking.
Makse 1 pie crust