Have you ever watched Mind of a Chef? It's an amazing show featuring really passionate chefs talking about the philosophy behind their cooking and the ways in which they approach food in general. The most recent episodes that I've seen featured Sean Brock of Husk Restaurant in Charleston. He's all about seed saving, responsible agriculture, preserving the integrity of the food of his culture and childhood, and just showcasing real food. I'm a fan, can you tell? I hope I make it to Husk for a visit one day...

At any rate, I was watching this one episode where he was making hand pies with his pastry chef. Now, I'm not sure if you know this, but I love pastry. I'm not kidding. I will eat a slice of apple pie (which I don't love... I know, I know. You can pick that bone with me later.) just so I can eat that delicious piece of crust at the end of it. But here's the thing: I've always shied away from making full-on pie crust pastry. I've made sweet tart doughs and savoury tart doughs, but rarely really a flaky pie crust. It's a daunting task.

So Chef Sean was watching his pastry chef (her name escapes me, sorry!) put the crust together and he asked her what the ratio of butter to flour was for the crust. She told him that it was about 2 to 1.

That was it. Hook, line, and sinker. He had me at "ratio" and the proverbial fire was lit. I've recently discovered baking with ratios and I don't think I'll ever go back. I'm still fairly new to it all, but it just simplifies things so much. So. Much.

This is what came from that moment of inspiration!

pie pastry

I used whole wheat flour and the pastry still came out flaky and delicate, almost like puff pastry (as Chef Sean said it would be!). It rolled beautifully (no cracks!) and made me feel like I could conquer the pie world! I filled my hand pies with an assortment of things. Some with jam or preserves, some with cheese, and of course, there had to be one with chocolate.

These did not last long at my house. As D said, "Oh man. This one's a keeper!"

Whole Wheat Pastry
This is a rough guide. You will have to adjust the amounts to suit your needs.

Butter
Whole wheat (or white) all purpose flour
Iced water

Measure two parts butter to one part flour (by weight. This is very important!!!).

Place the flour in a large bowl and put the whole bowl in the fridge. Cut the butter into small chunks and place it into the fridge as well. Leave both in the fridge for about 30 minutes.

After 30 minutes, remove the flour and butter from the fridge. Dump all the butter into the cold flour and cut the butter into the flour. You could use a pastry blender... Your hands will do just fine. You want to break up the butter into flakes and leaves rather than peas and nubs. Flat shards of butter will give you the flakes and layers that make a heavenly pastry.

Once the butter has been blended in (not too much) add just enough iced water to bring it all together. Turn out onto the counter and give it a couple kneads to form it into a ball. Wrap in plastic, flatten into a disc, and chill for at least 30 minutes.

Use for whatever your heart desires! Enjoy!!!

pie pastries on napkin