Mocha pecan pie in Concord, N.H on Oct. 28, 2013. (AP Photo/Matthew Mead)
Matthew Mead/AP

#Nerdpie recipes for the holiday season

On Sunday, #nerdland will discuss the importance of pie to our country and our relationships with each other. Our guests shared their best pie recipes.
Rose Levy Beranbaum’s Favorite Flaky and Tender Pie Crust
Perfect Flaky and Tender Cream Cheese Pie Crust

In my book The Pie and Pastry Bible I have many pie crusts, but in recent years, when I bake a pie, the pie crust I always turn to is this one. I am offering it here for all the different sizes of pies in this book and also for a convenient half size pie. If you want to use this pie crust for a savory pie, use one and a quarter times the salt.

I always use pastry flour because it produces the perfect ratio of tenderness to flakiness. Bleached all-purpose flour, with its higher protein content, will not be as tender, and unbleached all-purpose flour will be less tender still. There are two solutions if you are unable to find pastry flour. The first is to cut the all-purpose flour with cake flour (2/3 bleached all-purpose flour to 1/3 cake flour). The second solution is to work the dough as little as possible to create a minimum of elasticity.

Be sure to keep the ingredients very cold to maintain flakiness.

Dough for a 9 inch standard pie shell

Makes: 11 ounces/312 grams

Rose Levy Beranbaum's Favorite Flaky and Tender Pie Crust

Food Processor Method

  1. Process flour, salt, and baking powder to blend. 

  2. Add cream cheese and process until coarse.

  3. Add butter cubes and pulse until peanut size. 

  4. Add cream and vinegar and pulse until butter is the size of small peas.

  5. Scrape dough onto a lightly floured work surface. Use latex gloves or cover hands with plastic bags and press dough until it holds together in one smooth flat disc.

  6. Wrap, and refrigerate 45 minutes before rolling.

Notes: Baking powder containing aluminum has a bitter flavor. Most health food stores and many supermarkets carry the calcium variety. You can eliminate the baking powder and double the salt but the crust will be less tender.



Kelly Choi’s Vegan Gingersnap Crust Recipe

  • 1 1/2 cups of gingersnap cookies, pulverized in a food processor or blender.
  • Or you can put in a large plastic bag and crush with a rolling pin.
  • Work out those holiday stresses!
  • 1 Tablespoon of unrefined sugar (Or up to a Tablespoon more if you like a sweet crust).
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Good pinch of kosher salt
  • Pinch of cardamom (optional, but I love the earthiness and warmth it adds to the mixture). 
  • 1/4 cup vegan margarine, melted. I like Earth Balance brand.


  1. Mix everything together well.
  2. Press mixture in 9in pie pan.
  3. Bake at pre-heated 350 oven for 10 minutes.
  4. Cool.


Sunny Anderson’s fruit crunch pie

1 premade pie crust

For the filling:

  • 2 Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored, and thinly sliced
  • 8 ounces blueberries
  • ½ cup golden raisins
  • ½ cup dried cranberries
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • ¼ cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
  • Grated zest of 1 lemon
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • Kosher salt

For the topping:

  • 1 cup cinnamon-flavored granola mix
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • ¼ cup packed light brown sugar
  • Kosher salt


  1. Prep the crust. Unroll 1 pie dough round and press into the bottom of a 9-inch pie pan. Using your pointer finger, press the dough flat and up the sides, letting the excess hang over. Using a fork, press the dough down on the lip of the pie pan all around. Use a knife to remove the excess crust around the edges and discard any scraps. Chill for 30 minutes. Preheat the oven to 400°F.
  2. Make the filling. In a large bowl, combine the apples, blueberries, raisins, cranberries, granulated sugar, brown sugar, pumpkin pie spice, lemon zest, flour, and a tiny pinch of salt. Stir to coat. 
  3. Mix the topping. Put the granola, lemon juice, butter, brown sugar, and a tiny pinch of salt in a food processor. Pulse just once or twice to break up the granola and combine the ingredients.
  4. Bake the pie. Fill the prepared crust with the fruit filling. Level with a rubber spatula or the back of a spoon and evenly sprinkle with the topping. Use aluminum foil strips to tent the edges of the crust and prevent overbrowning. Reduce the oven temperature to 375°F and put the pie in right away. Bake until the filling is bubbling and the granola is golden, 35 to 40 minutes.