Take the 2-minute tour ×
Seasoned Advice is a question and answer site for professional and amateur chefs. It's 100% free, no registration required.

I want to convert my grandmothers pie crust recipe.

The whole recipe is:

3 cups flour
1/2 tsp salt
3/2 cups Crisco (butter flavor)
1 egg
1 tsp vinegar
5 Tbsp cold water

Mix flour, salt and Crisco till pea size pieces. Beat the egg, add the vinegar and the cold water to it. Add liquids to the flour mix & blend, handling it as little as possible. Refrigerate for several hours.

I want to use coconut flour instead of regular flour. Can I add extra eggs instead of xanthan gum?

share|improve this question
    
Please list the recipe here, it is very hard to know it like that. In most cases, no, but maybe you can just tweak it for a pie crust. –  rumtscho Jun 5 '12 at 17:13
    
3 cups flour, 1/2 tsp salt, 1&1/2 cups Crisco (butter flavor). Mix to pea size mix. Beat 1 egg, add 1tsp vinegar, 5 TBS cold water. add liquids to flour mix & blend, handling as little as possible then refrigerate for several hours –  Teresa Ritter Jun 5 '12 at 17:38
2  
Where is the xanthan gum in that recipe? –  Mien Jun 5 '12 at 18:01
    
The recipe does not call for xanthan gum.. That isthe recipe I wish to convert using coconut flour –  Teresa Ritter Jun 5 '12 at 18:06
    
That is the original recipe that I wish to convert using coconut flour. –  Teresa Ritter Jun 5 '12 at 19:01
show 1 more comment

2 Answers

If you want a flaky crust: No, you can't. A flaky crust is made from small pieces of gluten sheets formed when part of the dough reacts with the water, separated by melted fat blobs. The idea of making a crust with coconut flour instead of normal flour is already risky: it will give you some kind of crust, but nowhere as good as a normal flour crust. Maybe it is worth doing it in the case of food allergies, but not just for the flavor.

Provided that you want to make a flaky crust, you need the non-fat dough part to stick together well in sheets, and the fat dough part to form an uniform soft paste. If you use coconut flour, you need a protein to make the non-fat dough part stick together. As the wheat flour is missing, you can't use gluten. The only substitute I know of which indeed does make something sheet-like is xanthan (also, it does bind, but not as well as proteins do). Other proteins, like the ones in egg whites, will indeed bind your coconut flour, but the amount needed will be so high you will have dominant egg whites creating tough, leathery "layers", not crispy at all, and tasting very much of eggwhite. And I say "layers", but they won't be layers the way you would get them with flour, it is more likely to disperse with the fat part in irregular shapes, not flakes. This is if you only use egg whites; yolk will make the matter worse here.

The fat part of the dough will be even worse. The coconut flour won't absorb the fat, building a smooth paste. It will mix with the fat, but will stay in its way when it melts, preventing it from creating the very thin pockets needed for flaky crust.

Conclusion: I doubt that you can make any kind of flaky crust without flour. Xanthan may give you a not-so-good approximation; just eggs will give you nothing.

If you want a shortbread crust, you are better off. You don't need the gluten structure in the water part and the smooth starch of the fat part. There are lots of shortbread recipes which include substantial amounts of nut flours for flavor, although they tend to stop at 1:1 nut flour to wheat flour at most. I guess that you can go with nut flour all the way if you must, but then expect a crust even more crumbly than usual. Xanthan is a good ingredient to hold it together in this case, although it won't give the texture of a wheat crust. Additional eggs will work too (slightly beaten, but not whipped), but they will make it less of a crust, they will wet it a lot and push it in the direction of batter. Try using whites only, and drop the water altogether. For better, more tender texture, add starch, for example corn starch. And because you are already moving into batter direction, you are risking a dense, soggy crust. Add just a little big of baking powder to prevent it (not the same amount as for cake, maybe 1/4 of it), this will make it a bit more bisquit-like.

share|improve this answer
    
Thanks so much. I appreCiate the details you went into for each alternative. I will keep looking for good alternatives, but will probably stick with the regular pie crust for now. –  Teresa Ritter Jun 5 '12 at 23:45
add comment

you can certain convert the recipe uscing coconut flour, but remember that the coconut flour is "wetter" the the other, so you can use coconut flour but perhaps you should add less butter, or less water... and why vinegar? i have never known that we can use vinegar in dessert recipes.. sorry for bad english, but i'm italian!

share|improve this answer
1  
I disagree that coconut flour is "wetter". –  rumtscho Jun 5 '12 at 21:03
    
coconut flour is not really a flour, it's coconut flesh in small pieces.. –  Giuli Jun 5 '12 at 21:09
    
I have to disagree because last time I used it I was making granola bars and they just fell apart. when I usually make them they stick together really well and the only thing I changed was using coconut flour instead of regular flour –  Teresa Ritter Jun 5 '12 at 21:10
    
I don't know the purpose of the vinegar put the pie crust is really good. –  Teresa Ritter Jun 5 '12 at 21:13
    
@Teresa The vinegar will help your gluten a bit. Also, it is normal that flour binds and coconut flour doesn't. It doesn't have anything to do with wetness. Giuli: It is made from dehydrated coconut flesh, not fresh one, so it is not wet. –  rumtscho Jun 5 '12 at 21:18
show 5 more comments

Your Answer

 
discard

By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.