Photo by Janis Nicolay/Random House.

The Pastry Chef Behind Vancouver’s Pie Hole Shares the Recipe That Made Her Famous

Last year, Jenell Parsons’ Raspberry Cream Crumble pie shot to TV stardom when it was featured on Guy Fieri’s Food Network show Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives (where the restaurateur declared it “a whole other level of pie”). Meanwhile, self-taught pastry chef Parsons has opened two new locations of her shop, the Pie Hole, in Vancouver and Burnaby, as well as a thriving online business⁠—even after her beloved flagship store on Fraser Street was forced to close for redevelopment. She shared the recipe for her famed pie, as well as her extra-flaky double butter crust, with us from her newly released book You Wanna Piece of Me?

(This recipe is reproduced with permission from the publisher, Appetite by Random House.)

Photo by Janis Nicolay/Random House.

Double Butter Crust


1 cup ice cold water

1 tablespoon cold vinegar

2 cups cold butter

4 cups flour

2 tablespoons sugar

1 teaspoon salt

Egg wash


Making the dough

Start by mixing the water and vinegar together in a bowl or jug and putting it into the freezer so it’s icy cold when you need it. Cut the butter into 1-inch cubes and put them in the freezer too, to keep as cold as possible while you measure the other ingredients. Measure the flour, sugar, and salt into a large mixing bowl and mix to fully incorporate.

Add the cold butter to the flour mixture and use your fingers to massage the butter into the flour, breaking it apart and coating it in flour. Continue massaging and rolling the butter between your fingers until you have a coarse mixture with pea- to almond-sized pieces of butter throughout.

Add 3 tablespoons of the cold vinegar-water mixture. Slowly mix in the water with your hands, gently squeezing the butter and flour to help it come together. (You can also do this step with a food processor or stand mixer, and you’ll find detailed directions in the book.)

Continue adding the vinegar-water mixture 1 tablespoon at a time, mixing it in gently with your hands. The goal is to add just enough water to get the dough to come together into a shaggy mixture —and once it gets to that point, hands off.

Bring your dough together to form a ball, divide it in half, and wrap each piece snugly with plastic wrap. At this point the dough is quite pliable, so press it down until it forms disks about 1 inch thick. This will save both time and effort when you start rolling the dough, as it’s more difficult to roll once chilled. Place the disks in the fridge for a minimum of 30 minutes to relax the gluten in the dough, which gives you a much more tender pastry.

Rolling the dough

When you are ready to start rolling, remove the dough from the fridge and unwrap it (you need 1 disk for a single-crust pie and 2 disks for a double-crust pie). If the dough is frozen, fully thaw it first (by moving it to the fridge overnight or sitting it out on the counter for a couple of hours).

Sprinkle your work surface and dough with flour, and use a rolling pin to start rolling out one of the disks. Rotate the dough 90 degrees after every few passes to work toward creating a circular shape. If the circumference of the disk is not getting larger as you roll, there’s a good chance the dough is stuck to the surface below. Carefully lift the dough and add more flour to the surface. I also often flour the top of the dough and flip it over, then continue to roll. Keep rolling out the dough until it is about 1⁄8 inch thick.

Photo by Janis Nicolay/Random House.

Next, take your pie plate and turn it upside down in the centre of the rolled dough. Use the plate as a template to cut the dough to size. Depending on the depth of the pie plate, cut out a circle of dough 11⁄2 to 2 inches larger than the rim of the pie plate (the deeper the pie plate, the larger the circle will need to be). It is best to go larger, as you can always trim; you never want to have to stretch the dough to make it fit as it shrinks back as it bakes.

Remove the pie plate and sprinkle a little flour over the surface of the dough. Then gently lift and transfer the dough to the pie plate with the floured side facing down. This, along with all the butter in the dough, will help keep the pie from sticking to the pie plate, so no need to worry about greasing or flouring your pie plate. Gently press the dough into the plate.

Prick the bottom of the dough with a fork to allow steam to escape when baking.

For a single pie crust

If you have more than 1⁄4 inch overhang of dough, trim the excess with scissors and finish the pie with a fluted edge. Create a fluted edge by pushing a little of the dough out with your thumb at the same time as pulling back the dough beside it with your index finger, squeezing and bending the dough between your fingertips to create an exaggerated fluted edge. Use the index finger on your opposite hand as a spacer between each flute for consistency.

Use a pastry brush to brush the edges of the pie with egg wash. Make sure to get it into all the nooks and crannies to achieve a consistent perfect golden colour all over.

Keep chilled until you are ready to assemble the pie. (For directions for a double pie shell, you’ll have to read the book.)

Photo by Janis Nicolay/Random House.

Raspberry Cream Crumble Pie


Half recipe double butter crust

For the crumble

1 cup cold butter

11/2 cups flour

1 cup sugar

For the pie

3 eggs

2 1/4 cups sour cream

1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla

1/3 cup flour

2 cups sugar

1/4 teaspoon salt

4 1/2 cups raspberries, fresh or frozen


For the crumble

Cut the butter into 1-inch pieces.

Using a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the flour and sugar for 30 seconds on the lowest setting until mixed. Add the cold butter, a few pieces at a time, mixing until you have a coarse, crumbly texture that holds together when squeezed. Do not overmix or you will start to cream the butter, and you will lose that beautiful crumbly texture.

For the pie

Prepare a single 9-inch double butter crust. Chill the dough in the pie plate until you’re ready to assemble your pie. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a large bowl, whisk the eggs until they are light in colour. Add the sour cream and vanilla and continue whisking until nice and smooth—no lumps!

In a medium bowl, combine the flour, sugar, and salt.

Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and mix very well to fully incorporate.

Fill the pie shell with 1/2 cup of the sour cream mixture, or just enough to cover the bottom. Top with the raspberries and smooth it out to have a nice even top. Pour the remaining sour cream mixture over the berries, using a spatula to get all of it. Top with the white sugar crumble. Chill the pie for 30 minutes in the refrigerator or 15 minutes in the freezer before baking.

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Transfer the pie plate onto the prepared baking sheet.

Bake for 50 to 60 minutes, until the edges have risen slightly and are set, the middle of the crumble is nicely browned and not too jiggly, and you can see juicy pops of sticky raspberry goodness.

If the centre of the crumble appears wet with melted butter, keep baking for another 10 minutes. Let this pie cool completely before attempting to slice it, or it will be messy.

Excerpted from You Wanna Piece of Me? by Jenell Parsons. Copyright © 2020 The Pie Hole Holdings Corp. Photography by Janis Nicolay. Published by Appetite by Random House®, a division of Penguin Random House Canada Limited. Reproduced by arrangement with the Publisher. All rights reserved.

Read more recipes from local chefs here. 


Post Date:

November 19, 2020