Why I need a nap (and all about my new piecrust recipe)

(Psst: don’t forget to go enter this drawing to win a $100 Cooking.com gift card from Country Crock.)

A whirlwind session in the kitchen this morning produced:

  •  7 quarts of sliced peaches
  • 3 quarts and 2 pints of applesauce
  • 1 peach pie (for the freezer)
  • 1 leek/eggplant quiche (lunch today)
  • 2 apple pies (1 for freezer, 1 for dinner tonight)

Thankfully the kids helped me for about an hour, or my kitchen time would have gone on all day instead of just three hours!  I am really excited to tell you about an adaptation that I discovered recently to my push-in piecrust recipe.  The original recipe is on page  _____   of Family Feasts. (Have any of you tried it?)

Anyway, I’ve been reading recently that coconut oil is better for your health that most other oils (excluding olive oil).  And since the original piecrust recipe in my book calls for regular oil, I decided to try substituting coconut oil instead.  YUM!  The flavor is wonderful, and the texture is light flaky perfection.

For those of you not familiar with the original recipe, this is not one of those tetchy roll-out piecrusts.   All you do is heap the dry ingredients right in the pie pan, mix, add the wet ingredients, and form into a ball.  Then you simple flatten the dough and push it up the sides of the pan.  The piecrusts that you see above were made by my 13 year old son.  Here’s the recipe:

Easy Push-In Pie Crust

Makes one crust

Prep time: 10 minutes or less

  • 1-1/2 cups flour
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

Measure the above ingredients right into an 8 or 9 inch pie pan and mix with a fork.  Make a well in the center of the flour mixture and add:

  • 1/2 cup coconut oil  (or vegetable oil)
  • 1/4 cup milk (decrease milk to 2 tablespoons if you are using vegetable oil)

Using your hands, mix all ingredients until  ingredients are evenly dispersed and you can form the dough into a ball.  If your dough looks very crumbly, you can add a dab more milk to help everything stick together.  But don’t overdo the milk.  Once everything is well combined, your dough should feel smooth and a little oily, not sticky.

Press the dough out towards the edges of the pan, working it until the entire pan is covered.  This step will take several minutes, especially the first time you make this recipe.  But once you’ve done it a time or two, you’ll find that you can form a crust in  less than 5 minutes. At this point you can treat your crust just like you would any piecrust.  I usually top my peach and apple pies with a crumb topping.


More about coconut oil:

New York Times: Once a Villain, Coconut Oil Charms the Health Food World

Huffington Post:  Coconut Oil Benefits



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  1. Oooh, pick me! Pick me! I’VE tried your pie crust (along with almost every other recipe in there…and they ALL have smiley faces)!

  2. Coconut oil is amazing for our bodies. Our bodies utilize it so much better than other oils. I use it on air popped popcorn with a little sea salt and my kids love it. Coconut oil also helps us utilize the other fatty acids better. Anyways . . . I can’t say enough good things about it. I’m going to have to try it in pie crust as it just never occurred to me to use it that way.

  3. Mary – is there a strong taste of coconut using coconut oil in this pie crust? I have a husband with a strong aversion to all things coconut (he can even taste the coconut oil in Burt’s Bees lip balm!). It’s too bad because it is so good for our Ethiopian children’s skin and hair…but I don’t use it very often because he is so hyper-aware of it in things!

    • Yes, it does taste like coconut. But I read today that you can buy some that is ‘expeller-extracted’ (I think) that doesn’t taste like anything but still has the good nutrients in it.

      • The coconut oil that does not taste like coconut is ‘deoderized’ – it is expeller pressed, but is not virgin coconut oil. It does contain many of the same nutritional properties as virgin coconut oil but not all. I buy the deoderized version as my husband also does not like the taste of coconut.

  4. Ooooh….I’m excited to try this crust! Thank you!

  5. I tried your pie crust recipe, along with the pear and cheddar pie. I have tried many of the recipes in your book. When I made it with the pear and cheddar pie, the crust burned and tasted awful. What was I doing wrong?

    • Hi Katy-Anne:
      Sorry you had a bad experience with it. Possibly your pie was too close to the top element in your oven? Or maybe the top edge of the crust was too thin?

      I’ve found that if I make my crust edge fairly thick and robust, it cooks slower. But I do keep an eye on the pie in the last 20 minutes, and pull it when the crust is nicely browned, but not overdone.

      In the case of something like a pumpkin pie where pulling it out too soon makes for uncooked filling (yuck!) , you can prevent burning by putting a thin strip of foil around the whole edge of the pie to shelter the crust from the heat of the element. Cooking at a slightly lower temp may be necessary too, as ovens do vary in their temperatures.

      Hope that helps!

  6. Mary-I loved your post, and I need a nap, too, because: today I canned 7 jars of peaches, made homemade bread, made homemade beef stew, and helped a daughter finish packing and sent her off to college. I then deep cleaned her bedroom and the bathroom to keep myself from mourning her departure. Gonna take things easier today!

    • Oh Jenni! I feel for you! It is so hard to send a child off to college!! I found that once I survived the first month, it got easier, but still, it is tough….

  7. I have your book but haven’t tried the crust yet! don’t have coconut oil and i hate the taste of coconut, but I’ll try the original tonight – we have apples and the power is FINALLY back on so I’ll add apple pie to my plan for lasagna – we have all been absolutely craving a home cooked meal for days and with my fridge/freezer shiny clean and stocked late last night with the basics, I’m ready to serve my family some a good meal!

  8. Anyone want to try some really FUN recipes: find the ones that are fair food on a stick. They are so much fun to make and the kids really get a kick out of it. We just made key lime pie on a stick and at brithday party next weekend going to have the kids make swedish meatballs on a stick.

  9. I have tried your piecrust and it is great, I will have to give the coconut oil a try. I love to be able to make a pie or quiche on a weeknight without having to make a big production of flour flying everywhere! Thanks!

  10. Oh, an easy pie crust recipe is a gift. One made with coconut oil is heaven sent! YEA! I will try this next week with freshly ground whole wheat and will let you know how it goes.

    Have you ever considered grinding your own wheat? It’s so good for you and the breads (ww and corn) are sooooo yummy!

  11. I made your pie crust (so easy!) this week, using coconut oil and gluten-free flour blend. It was wonderful! The coconut oil added a wonderful flavor, but I couldn’t really identify distinctly coconut. I’m thinking that those who don’t like coconut will still enjoy cooking with coconut oil. For those who need to be gluten-free, the trick is to bake the pie crust (about 15 min at 400) prior to adding the filling. I used fresh peaches, seasoned with 1/2 the sugar called for, cinnamon, nutmeg, g-f flour, and butter – yum!) I saved some of the mixture to use as a crumb topping. Best pie of the season! I baked it outside in my big turkey roaster in order to avoid heating up my kitchen; worked perfect!

  12. I’ve been loving coconut oil for a few years now. First, it was just for diy beauty things, but then I started doing some nutrition research and the only oils in my kitchen now are olive, coconut and peanut for high heat frying. I use coconut in place of shortening everywhere. The (new) rap against it can be that it makes things taste like cocnut that shouldn’t. But there are several brands that are totally tasteless. The last time I bought some I kinda forgot about that aspect of it and came home with a jar that smells like bain de soleil! Ooops! So I was wondering what do I use all this coconutty tasting oil in! I had a pound cake recipe this past weekend that called for shortening and coconut flavoring (it’s Beth Moore’s recipe – if you haven’t made it you absolutely need to give it a whirl! There is no better recipe for pound cake imo!). At any rate, I did the two birds/one stone thing and it was fantastic! The coconut oil gave it a texture unlike anything else and the coconut flavor was perfect!

    I’m anxious to try your push-in pie crust recipe! I’ll look it up in the book! 🙂

  13. that’s the same pie crust recipe i’ve used for years. i am so grateful to my friend that shared it. makes pie baking so much easier! i’m making an apple pie tomorrow 🙂

  14. Mary,
    Do you freeze your pies cooked or not cooked? Do you thaw and bake?
    mom to 8

  15. Good thing you’ve tried to substitute your regular oil with coconut oil instead. It is indeed healthier than the usual oils we use for cooking. I personally testify the benefits of coconut oil because my mom had been using this for a long time now especially when she’s cooking our meals.