At least once a week, I spoil my loved ones with a sweet or savory pie, and in the past, I would throw away the excess dough and feed the leftover crusts to the garden birds.
However, nowadays and almost everywhere, we get bombarded with terms like zero-waste and food recycling. It’s no wonder that the same question has been popping up in my mind lately: What else can I do with Leftover Pie Crust?
Never discard leftover pie crust. There are various ways in which one can recycle leftovers from raw dough or baked crusts. People can use these leftovers to decorate, bake, blend, or bind to ensure that no food gets wasted.
One of the biggest problems facing us today is food wastage. Starting with something as simple as the humble homemade pie, what can you and I do to reduce our food wastage?
What to do with the Leftover Dough of a Pie Crust
Making homemade dough for a pie crust is not exactly a cheap affair, especially if you’re a stern believer in real butter like me.
Usually, once you’ve rolled out your dough and assembled your pie, you are left with an astounding number of leftover cut-off scraps. Instead of throwing them away, there are numerous exciting ideas and recipes of how to recycle them.
How to use the Leftover Dough of a Pie Crust for Decoration
There are so many different ways in which you can decorate your pie with leftover dough. All you need to do is gather all the scraps and then thinly roll out the extra dough on your working surface as you did with assembling your pie.
Start cutting out shapes like hearts or Christmas trees with small cookie cutters. Alternatively, make your own shapes by using a sharp knife and putting your inner artist to work.
Small leaves, for instance, are super easy to make from scratch. Add extra detail like the veins by making the necessary indentations with a knife.
Once you’ve cut your shapes, brush the bottom of each one with water, milk, or beaten egg. Last, press the shapes onto the surface of the crust.
How to use the Leftover Dough of a Pie Crust to make Cookies
Homemade dough for a savory pie is usually a bit saltier than that of a sweet one. Nonetheless, it’s equally simple to create and bake irresistible cookies from both types of dough.
Take the good old pinwheel cookie, for example:
Once again, all you need to do is gather all the scraps and then thinly roll out the extra dough into a rectangle. Then, brush the dough with melted butter.
Next, you can literally add any ingredients depending on your taste. For instance, if you’re a bacon and cheese lover, add grated cheese and pieces of bacon on top of the dough; be sure to leave a border along the long edges.
Roll the dough into a log starting from a long edge. To make cutting easier, wrap the roll and chill for about 15 minutes.
Cut thick slices and place pinwheels on an ungreased baking sheet. Because the dough contains butter, greasing the baking sheet will make the cookies too rich and buttery.
Bake the pinwheels until they are golden brown and the cheese is melted. Baking time usually takes about 10 to 15 minutes.
Follow the same recipe as with the savory wheels. Instead of using a savory topping, though, sprinkle the rolled-out and buttered dough with cinnamon sugar and be sure, once again, to leave a border along the long edges.
As with savory rolls, you can add any sweet ingredients to make up the filling. These can include jam, chocolate spread, or even chopped nuts.
Then, pack them out on a baking sheet, pop them in the oven, and enjoy them as a treat with a cup of tea or coffee.
As an alternative to the pinwheel cookie, you can, of course, make plain old sugar cookies. Take the thinly rolled-out dough and cut out shapes like the hearts or Christmas trees mentioned earlier.
What to do with the Baked Leftover Scraps of a Pie Crust
Instead of simply throwing away baked leftover pie crust or feeding it to the birds, it turns out that these scraps can literally zhoosh up anything.
How to use Baked Leftover Pie Crust for Decoration
Baked pie crust leftovers can easily be used as decoration for many different cakes and desserts:
- Use it as a thin layer over the frosting of a cake by mixing it with chocolate or chopped-up nuts.
- Mix it with raisins and cinnamon to create a scrumptious topping for apple crumble.
- Sprinkle it over the last custard layer of a trifle.
How to use Baked Leftover Pie Crust that you’ve Put in a Blender
One of the easiest ways in which to recycle baked leftovers from a pie crust is to give it new life by blending it:
- Blend scraps in a blender and use them as flour when making cookies or rusks.
- Freeze enough pie crust scraps to fill about 2 cups. Then, defrost the frozen scraps, mix with butter and sugar, and use as a crumble crust for tarts.
- Mix scraps with ice cream and milk. Then, blend all three in a blender to make a delicious milkshake.
How to use Baked Leftover Pie Crust as a Binding Agent
One of the most common allergies in children is an egg allergy, and baked leftover pie crusts can be used as an alternative binding agent for replacing eggs.
When making meatloaf or burger patties, flavor the pie crusts with salt, pepper, herbs, and spices and use them as an alternative binding agent to eggs.
Well, there you go: there are no excuses for throwing away the excess dough or baked leftover crusts when making sweet or savory pies. You can decorate, bake, blend, or bind. What a perfect start to that zero-waste lifestyle we all should aspire to achieve.
I have a bachelor’s degree in Film/Video/Media Studies, as well as an associates degree in Communications. I began producing videos and musical recordings nearly 15 years ago. I am a guitarist and bassist in Southwest MI and have been in a few different bands since 2009, and in 2012 I began building custom guitars and basses in my home workshop as well. When I’m home, I love spending time with my three pets (a dog, cat, and snake) and gardening in my backyard.