Pie crust that stretches is one of those things we ketonians have put away as part of our past lives. We are resigned to always and forever have a graham-style crumble crust, because that’s all there is, folks.
Or is it?
Enter Tom Naughton and his crew.
Mad props to our friends over at Fathead for coming up with a pizza dough that brought stretchy dough back into style in keto world. By leveraging the stretchy-weirdness of low moisture mozzarella cheese, Naughton and company sparked a keto food revolution; from pizza crust to garlic bread to dinner rolls to cinnamon rolls, Fathead dough has been used to make a whole plethora of baked items that really need the stretch to make a good, stable, not crumbly dough.
Now, I’m going to be up front and confess that I wasn’t a big fan of Fathead dough initially. But I recently decided to do some experimenting with the base to see how many different things I could make from it, and in various flavor combinations. One such example is the beauty you see above: Salted Caramel Pie Crust.
No joke, folks, it makes a legitimate pie crust. It’s sturdy, not crumbly, and even crisps up the way a pie crust is supposed to. I’ve even managed to use it to do lattice work on a faux-apple pie (It’s coming folks. Patience!).
Now, You don’t have to use the caramel MCT powder here, as I used it mainly for flavor, but I highly recommend keeping it in. Even at 2 scoops per batch, the flavor is not overwhelming but gives a delightfully “real” depth of flavor to the crust. If you choose to omit the powder, you might consider adding a very light splash of caramel extract to help simulate the same taste.
My notes are as follows:
As with all fathead-based concoctions, keep in mind that as the cheese cools it becomes less pliant. In other words, you may need to reheat the dough for 10-15 seconds on high if it starts giving you trouble during rolling or cutting.
The other thing to be aware of is that this is cheese and nuts. Yes, they’re combined in a way to make a crust, but it’s still composed of those ingredients, so you will need to be more vigilant about using pie shields and covers so that anything poking out doesn’t burn over longer bakes. On pies with shorter bake times (under 30 minutes) it shouldn’t be too much trouble, but something that takes a lot longer to cook through (like a custard, for example, which can take upwards of an hour to set in the oven), you will want to cover the tops well. In those instances, I recommend keeping the crust edges closer to the top edge of the filling, and save your fancy edge work for shorter baking beauties.
Caramel-flavored MCT powder and sea salt gives this Fathead-based crust a genuine flavor. This is one of the few recipes on the site that doesn’t use weight measurements. That’s because it works better in volume ratio.
- 1 1/2 cups part-skim, low-moisture mozzarella cheese, shredded
- 1/2 cup fine almond flour
- 2 tbsp granulated Swerve (or erythritol)
- 2 scoop (20 g) caramel-flavored MCT powder, OR plain MCT powder plus 1 tsp caramel extract
- several heavy pinches salt
- 1/2 stick (2 oz/ 57 g) unsalted butter, melted
- 1 large egg, beaten
- 4-6 tbsp coconut flour, divided and used as needed
- (1 egg beaten with 1 tbsp. water as egg wash to brush over the top, if using as a lattice pie crust)
- Put the mozzarella in a microwave-safe bowl and heat, in 30 second increments, until it is all melted.
- With a wooden or sturdy spoon, stir in almond flour, granulated Swerve (erythritol), caramel-flavored MCT powder, salt, and 3 tbsp coconut flour.
- Stir in melted butter until blended.
- Stir in beaten egg until blended.
- If the dough is wet, add another 1-2 tbsp coconut flour and knead lightly with your hands to work it in. You want the dough dry enough to handle, but remember, less is more. Use only enough coconut flour to make the dough able to be handled.
- If Using As One/Solid Crust: Turn out the dough onto parchment, and roll into desired shape to fit your pie plate. If it gives you trouble rolling out, you may need to heat it for 10-15 seconds in the microwave to make the cheese pliable again. This is totally ok. You may need to do this more than once throughout the process. That’s ok, too! Place your pie plate, face down, over the dough, and flip the whole thing (parchment and all) over to fill the plate with the dough. Peel the parchment off and arrange dough as desired in your plate. Decorate edges, fill, and bake according to your pie’s directions. USE A PIE SHIELD.
- If Using as Crust and Lattice: Separate the dough into 3 equal balls (thirds). You will use 2 balls kneaded back together (2/3 of the dough) for the bottom crust, and 1 ball (1/3 of the dough) as the lattice. Roll out the dough for the bottom as instructed above and fill your pie plate. Once the crust is in and you’ve filled it, reheat the last bit of dough for 10-15 seconds to make pliable. Roll it out into a thin (1/4 inch thick) rectangle and use a pizza cutter to cut 1-inch wide strips. 8-10 strips should be fine. Begin to lattice the top (see how to lattice a pie crust here). Once your top has been latticed, cut off any extra dough around the edges and crimp or decorate as desired, then brush tops with egg wash and bake pie according to your instructions. USE A PIE SHIELD.
For a crispier bottom on a short-baking pie, par-bake at 350 for 7 minutes prior to filling.
Per 1/10 pie crust: 165 cal, 6.9 g protein, 13.3 g fat, 6.6 g carbs, 2.1 g fiber, 2 g sugar alcohol, 2.5 g NET carbs
- Serving Size: 1/10 recipe
Keywords: Pie, pie crust, salted caramel, apple pie