Pie Dough: a recipe and a meditation

Stress baking is inevitable during these times. I've seen many of you online bake your troubles away in shades of chocolate, cake batter, and cookie dough.

What do we call that marrow that urges us to use our bodies in the face of stress and anger?

Think about the times you've gone on a run to release the inner rage. Or the times you purged your room in a fit of panic. Or when you smashed a failed cake to bits. What happens right after? The wave of calm, followed by a blanket of tiredness and release.

When we are overly sad we begin to cry. Such a response happens when the body is overwhelmed by emotions— good or bad ones.

Running, punching a pillow, dancing in a frenzy, baking a lot—these activities and more are stand-ins for tears. (however, sometimes tears occur at the same time as these activities.)

Our bodies hold the memory of energies around us. When someone enters our space in a bad mood, we can often tell. The room feels tense. Even after they leave, the effects may linger. Everything we experience needs to go, or stay— it does not simply fall away.

Pie dough is my understudy for tears. However, sometimes they both occupy the spotlight together. This form of therapy began as a side-effect of pie-making.  I rolled the dough out to fill a pie dish, and in return, it filled my soul.

One afternoon I had planned to make pie dough—then I had a bad day. I was losing my ability to hold sadness and anger. 

I felt that if I went into the kitchen heavy-hearted, I'd make a disaster? Or maybe I wouldn't?

I treated the kitchen space differently. I listened closely to the crinkling of the flour bag and the sound of its contents cascading into the bowl. I imagined all these sounds as words of love in another language. I felt the tension of a dull kitchen knife against cold butter. Inconveniences transformed into opportunities to study and absorb the present moment. My bowl looked like a landscape of cubed butter scattered atop dunes of flour, sugar, and salt. A wooden spoon was my instrument in stirring the scenery into one moment. Soon the spoon wasn't enough and I began to use my hands, and that's when the magic became potent.

I visualized my hands passing the pain from my body to the body of the dough. Much like a conversation through the telephone, my hands began to convey their petition to the dough. I let myself feel all my sadness and pressed it into the mixture. I felt better, I felt that there had been an emotional transfer, and I was lighter.

I placed the pie dough in the fridge to chill and macerated fruits in the meantime. I rolled my dough and filled it to the brim with hopes and fruits. I sent it off into the oven with a mission—to lighten my heart. As it baked, its fragrance lifted and touched the ceiling. My sadness was evaporating and ascending into the air, in the guise of a buttery aroma. The scent snuck through open windows, leaving my home and my heart. All that remained was a delicious pie. I tasted the fruits of my labor and shared a slice with friends and family.

Here is a visual of what your pie dough should look like. You want to see chunks of butter marbled throughout your dough, this ensures a flakey crust.

Below I have included two versions of pie dough. one solely using all-purpose, and the other integrating whole wheat flour. The instructions are the same for either variation. The only difference is that the whole wheat pie dough might need more water than the regular version.


Regular Pie Crust:


  • 325g all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 2 t cane sugar
  • 230g cold cubed unsalted butter
  • 5-7 T ice cold water

Whole Wheat Pie Crust:


  • 165g all-purpose flour
  • 160g whole wheat flour
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 2 t cane sugar
  • 230g cold cubed unsalted butter
  • 5-7 T ice cold water


  • In a medium-sized bowl whisk together flour, salt, and sugar. Set aside.
  • Cube cold butter and pour into the flour mixture.
  • Using a pastry cutter (or two butter knives) cut the butter into the flour. 
  • Finish mixing with your hands, pressing the butter into the flour with your fingers.
  • Your mixture should be crumbly with visible chunks of butter.
  • Drop in a few tablespoons of water at a time. Too much water will give you a chewy pie dough.
  • Mix with your hands just until a ball of dough forms.
  • flatten and wrap in cling wrap. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours before rolling out. 
  • Pie dough keeps well in the freezer for 3 months.
Enjoy! If you made this recipe post it to Instagram Instagram free icon using the #ingrainedkitchen hashtag and mentioning @ingrainedkitchen


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