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BARLEY FLOUR: A pat-in-the-pan pie crust

Adapted from the Joy of Cooking

Yields one 9-inch pie or 9½- or 10-inch tart crust

The success of flaky pastry depends upon the expert management of gluten.  Pat-in-the-pan dough’s are made in such a way that virtually no gluten develops.  The fat is softened and thoroughly blended into the flour, not cut in as for flaky pastry dough.  As a result, the flour ends up moisture-proofed by the fat and cannot absorb the liquid needed to produce gluten.  All pat-in-the-pan crusts maintain a shortbread-like texture, rather than a flaky one.

Pat-in-the-pan crusts are usually baked before they are filled.  It is important to glaze the pre-baked crust with egg yolk before adding the filling, lest it soak up the filling and adheres to the pan.  Those who are daunted by flaky pastry will find that this simple alternative works exceptionally well, and the nutty flavor of the barley flour is the perfect match for pumpkin pie.


1½ cups SCF barley flour

½ tsp salt, plus a pinch

8 Tbsp unsalted butter, softened and cut into 8 pieces

2 to 3 Tbsp heavy cream

1 large egg yolk

The Crust:

  1. Position a rack in the center of the oven.  Preheat the oven to 400°F.
  2. Whisk the barley flour and ½ tsp salt together in a bowl, or process for 10 seconds in a food processor.  Add the butter.  Mash with the back of a fork or process until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs.  Drizzle the heavy cream over the top.  Stir or process until the crumbs look damp and hold together when pinched.
  3. Transfer the mixture to a 9-inch pie pan or 9 ½- or 10-inch two-piece tart pan.  Pat evenly over the bottom and sides with your fingertips.  If making a pie, form a crust edge and crimp or flute.  Prick the bottom and sides with a fork.  Bake until the crust is golden brown, 18 to 22 minutes, pricking the bottom once of twice if it bubbles.  If you are filling the crust with an uncooked mixture that requires further baking, such as pumpkin pie filling, whisk together the egg yolk and pinch of salt, then brush the inside with the mix.  Return your crust to the oven until the egg glaze sets, about 1 to 2 minutes.
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GRAINS: Ethiopian Barley,