Recently, I’ve been kind of throwing together some rustic but luscious berry galettes (more on that later). They seem to taste best when I find some succulent berries on a grocery-getting mission and can have a pie in the oven during suppertime that can serve as immediate dessert. This only works if I have a pie crust ready to go, either a homemade one that I made ahead and froze (not likely), a store-bought pastry (an extremely easy last-minute fix, but not quite as good), or something reliable that I can make very quickly without much fuss. Toward this final choice is where I’ve been leaning and a practically fool-proof Easy Cream Cheese Pastry seems to be the way to go.
I first came across this pie crust in a recipe for this savory Morel Mushroom Galette. I found it so easy and so satisfying to use that I’ve been falling back on it for all kinds of sweet and savory pies. It’s made by simply beating together its 4 basic ingredients (3 if you want to replace the whole wheat pastry flour with more all-purpose flour) in a heavy-duty stand mixer, pulling them all together, chilling the dough, and then rolling it out. It’s sturdier, much less delicate and more forgiving than traditional pastries, although, I’ll admit, less flaky and a little less tender.
I like the trade-off, though, since it can make the difference between having pie today, or having pie in some indeterminate future (and at the rate I’ve been following through with things lately, that pretty much means never). If you’re new to baking and pie crust is holding you back from your summer fruit dessert dreams, try this one. It’s easy to make in the mixer, and may even be workable in the food processor (I had hoped to try that before posting this but…). It rolls out on a floured surface easily, too, especially if it’s not too cold. It is subject to some of the other problems that pie crusts can have, however, such as shrinking in the pan, so handling it carefully is still in order.
And so, if your kitchen is like mine and it seems like there’s always pie yesterday and pie tomorrow, let this easy pie crust put you one step closer to pie today!
Easy Cream Cheese Pastry
Adapted from Midwest Living magazine
This makes enough for two single-crust pies or galettes, or 1 double crust pie. The recipe is easily halved.
You could replace the whole wheat pastry flour with additional all-purpose flour
8 ounces cream cheese (low-fat is fine), at room temperature
8 ounces butter, at room temperature
1 cup all-purpose flour
½ cup whole wheat pastry flour
1. Combine cream cheese and butter in the bowl of a heavy-duty mixer. Beat at medium speed until smooth and fluffy.
2. Add the all-purpose flour and the whole wheat pastry flour. Beat on low speed until all the flour is incorporated and the mixture comes together into a moist ball.
3. Form the dough into two equal disks and wrap each in plastic wrap. Refrigerate at least 1 hour (and up to a few days) before using. Roll out into desired shape and use as you would any pie pastry.
Makes two 8-10 inch pie crusts.
One year ago: Green Pea Hummus