What the heck is Buckwheat?
Fun Fact: Buckwheat is actually a seed, not a grain.
It’s used like a wheat, but isn’t even related to wheat and isn’t a grass. It’s a pseudocereal. Apparently, it was first cultivated in the Balkans in 4000 B.C. I see it everywhere here in Slovenia…”ajdova” everything–ajdova moka (flour), ajdova torta (cake), and especially ajdova kaša (buckwheat porridge).
You can learn more about buckwheat from this article by The Whole Grains Council.
I wanted to come up with a pie crust for chicken pot pie that doesn’t have any refined grains, sugar, or hydrogenated oils (like shortening) in it. I also like using local ingredients and experimenting with flavors of places I live/visit (like this Slovenian Beef Goulash). So I picked up a bag of ajdova moka and started playing in the kitchen.
Since buckwheat is gluten free, I figured I’d need to also use another type of flour that contains gluten, so I used spelt (called pirina moka in Slovenian).
Tips for a perfect pie crust
I made a lot of pie crusts testing this recipe. In the process, I also learned a lot about pie crusts in general, along with what I’ve been doing wrong for so long! Here’s what I’ve started doing that has made my pie crusts better–
1. I freeze my butter beforehand and use a box grater to grate it right before I cut it into the flour.
2. I cut the butter into the flour for like for-ev-er. Here is a good video that shows what the butter/flour should look like when you’re done:
3. I add all the water at once (I know…totally seems counterintuitive and against everything I’ve heard before).
4. I fix the cracks as I roll it out (knocks hand against forehead-duh! Why wasn’t I doing that before?)
5. Instead of making a small disk before putting it in the fridge, I actually roll it out to about 8 inches. Then put it in the fridge for a bit and roll it the rest of the way out later. Basically, I just followed the guy’s tips from this video:
6. After rolling out the dough, I fold it into quarters and then center the point in the pie pan (see picture below). Then unfold it and viola! Perfectly centered pie crust.
7. After trimming the crust, I tuck the edge underneath (see picture below). I always wondered how people make their crusts so pretty. Now I know!
- 2 cups spelt flour
- ½ cup buckwheat flour
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 250 grams frozen butter (*see note)
- 1 tablespoon rendered pork fat (lard)
- 9 tablespoons ice cold water
- Add spelt, buckwheat, and salt into a large bowl and whisk with a fork until mixed.
- Take butter out of the freezer and grate it. Cut butter into the flour with a fork or a pastry cutter until everything is very fine and incorporated (see 1st video above).
- Cut in rendered pork fat.
- Add water all at once and mix until it forms a dough.
- Separate dough into two balls.
- Flour balls and set on plastic wrap or inside a ziplock bag.
- Roll out to 8 inch disks.
- Place in fridge for about ½ hour.
- Remove from fridge, let rest for a couple of minutes, and continue rolling on a floured surface until it is the size of your dish.
- Place in pie dish, trim excess, tuck edge underneath, and decorate the edge with your fingers or a fork.
P.S. The last time I made this crust, butter leaked out of the pan while baking. I’m not sure if it was the dough temperature, oven temperature, or just making the crust overhang over the pan too much, or what–but it still tasted wonderful! Now I put a baking sheet underneath just in case. And if any of you bakers out there know why this might happen, please let me know in the comments so I can avoid it in the future.