Nuts put crunch into pie crusts

By Olivia Fowler
For the Courier

If you would like to turn a good pie into a great pie, rethink the crust.

Using these nut-based pie crusts will really jazz up an old favorite. The pecan and almond crusts are delicious with a chocolate or banana cream filling. And pairing them with coconut cream is also a winner.

Lemon meringue pairs well with the pistachio crust, and pumpkin or apple go the extra mile with the walnut curst.

Actually, it’s hard to come up with anything that wouldn’t taste good with nuts… So go ahead and knock their socks off.

Come up with your own pairings. Don’t be afraid to experiment a little with these.

Almond Pie Crust


  • 2 c. all-purpose flour, plus extra for rolling
  • 1/2 c. finely ground blanched almonds or almond flour
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 16 tbsp. (2 sticks) unsalted butter, very-cold, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
  • 1 heaping tsp. brown sugar
  • 3 to 6 tbsp. ice water, very cold

Start by cutting the sticks of butter into 1/2-inch cubes and placing in the freezer for 15 minutes so that they become thoroughly chilled.

In a food processor, combine flour, almond flour, salt, and sugar, pulse to mix. Add butter and pulse six-eight times, until mixture resembles coarse meal, with pea size pieces of butter. Add water one tablespoon at a time, pulsing until mixture just begins to clump together. If you pinch some of the crumbly dough and it holds together, it’s ready, if not, added a little more water and pulse again.

Remove dough from machine and place on a clean surface. Carefully shape into two discs. Do not over-knead the dough! You should still be able to see little bits of butter in the dough. These bits of butter are what will allow the baked crust to be flaky. Wrap each disc in plastic wrap and refrigerate at least one hour.

Remove one crust disk from the refrigerator. Let sit at room temperature for 5-10 minutes. Sprinkle some flour on top of the disk. Roll out with a rolling pin on a lightly floured surface to a 12 inch circle; about 1/8 of an inch thick. As you roll out the dough, use a metal spatula to check if the dough is sticking to the surface below. Add a few sprinkles of flour if necessary to keep the dough from sticking. Gently fold in half. Place on to a nine-inch pie plate, lining up the fold with the center of the pan. Gently unfold and press down to line the pie dish with the dough.

Add filling to the pie.

Roll out second disk of dough, as before. Gently turn over onto the top of the filling in the pie. Pinch top and bottom of dough rounds firmly together. Trim excess dough with kitchen shears, leaving a 3/4 inch overhang. Fold dough under itself so that the edge of the fold is flush with the edge of the pan. Flute edges using thumb and forefinger or press with a fork. Score the top of the pie with four two-inch long cuts, so that steam from the cooking pie can escape.


Walnut Pie Crust

  • 1 c. all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 c. sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1 dash salt
  • 3/4 c. walnut pieces
  • 6 tbsp. butter, melted

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. You will need one buttered, nine-inch deep-dish pie pan either a light-colored or glass pan.

Place the flour, sugar, cinnamon, and salt in a small bowl and stir to combine.

Place the nuts in a food processor or blender and pulse just long enough to chop the nuts finely, not into a paste. Scrape the nuts into the flour mixture and stir to combine.

Add the melted butter and combine well.

Press the mixture into the buttered pie pan making certain that the crust is of even thickness.

Bake for 15 to 18 minutes or until it just starts to brown on the edges. Do not over bake. A light-colored or glass pan will absorb less heat than a dark one and help ensure against over baking.


Pistachio Pie Crust

  • 1/2 c. shelled unsalted pistachio nuts
  • 1/4 c. confectioners’ sugar
  • 1 1/2 c. all-purpose flour
  • 2 tbsp. cold unsalted butter, cut into small chunks
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 c. cold unsalted butter, cut into small chunks
  • 1 large egg yolk, lightly beaten with 2 tbsp. cold water

Chop pistachios and confectioners’ sugar in a food processor until nuts are ground into a powder, 30 seconds. Add flour and salt; pulse until combined. Add butter; pulse several times until mixture resembles coarse meal. Add egg mixture; pulse until dough just comes together into a ball. Press dough evenly into bottom and up sides of a nine-inch pie plate. Prick bottom of shell with a fork in several places. Freeze shell 15 minutes.

Heat oven to 325 degrees F. Line shell with parchment paper and fill with pie weights or dried beans. Place pie plate on a baking sheet. Bake 15 minutes. Remove parchment and weights from shell. Bake shell eight minutes longer, until golden. Cool completely on a wire rack.


Pecan Pie Crust

  • 2 1/2 c. ground pecans
  • 1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1/3 c. white sugar
  • 4 tbsp. unsalted butter, melted

Stir together ground nuts, cinnamon, and sugar. Mix in melted butter.

Press the mixture into the bottom and up the sides of a nine-inch, deep-dish style, pie pan. Chill the unbaked crust in the refrigerator for about 30 to 45 minutes.

Place pie crust on a cookie sheet, and position on the middle rack of a preheated 350 degree F (175 degree C) oven. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes, or until lightly browned. Watch it carefully, as nut crusts burn easily; they don’t have to turn black to taste burnt! Cool completely before filling.