Happy Pi(e) Day! — Gluten-Free Pie CrustPosted: March 14, 2012
Ahhh, pie. One of the glorious inventions of mankind. I’m suspecting more and more (with each pie made) that I am part of the group who believes pie is better than cake. Cupcakes? Nah. Mini pies. Or tarts! (Tarts count, right?) Birthday cake? Birthday pie. At this rate, I might be asking for pie at my wedding. Its just so good! And lucky for everyone, especially beginning gluten-free bakers, I’ve found pie to be one of the easier gluten-free items to make. My mother has said she prefer my gluten-less pie crusts to normal crusts.
|Gluten-free Peach-Berry Pie|
Think about it. What are the big worries about making pie crust? 1) Warm hands. Well, gluten-free crust can’t solve that, but a few rinses under cold water and breaks with an ice-pack can. 2) Light, flaky crust. All of this hubbub about cold is to ensure that the butter stays cools and doesn’t melt. Because in wheat-filled pie crusts, butter is the big solution to making a flaky crust. But without the wheat and without the gluten, we G.F. bakers have to turn to the multitude of gluten-free flours and starches out there. And starches are the key! In fact, this pie crust is made entirely out of starches which makes for a wonderfully crispy, flaky crust. (Just don’t throw away the cold butter because of it). And finally (3) over-rolling the dough. Over-rolling is always a worry when rolling out wheat-filled pastry dough and cookies. For the same reason that kneading is good for bread: kneading and rolling activate the gluten. And gluten makes for tough, chewy baked goods. Awesome for bread, not as great for pie crust. But our wonderful gluten-free dough doesn’t have that problem. Roll and reroll if you need to (just keep the dough cold)!
|Gluten-free Bourbon Apple Pie|
Pie is wonderfully versatile, and pie crust even more so. In addition to all of the fruit and pudding fillings, a pre-baked shell could work in a pinch for cheesecake crust. I’ve used this recipe for quiches, for tarts, turnovers, cinnamon twists, and filo-type cups, even baked up in mini discs to top like a pizza. This recipe is adapted from the marvelous Bette Hagman’s Dream Pastry Crust. It is easily doubled or tripled, but the recipe below makes enough for a two 9″ pie crusts (one bottom, one top or two untopped filled pies)
|Unbaked Gluten-free Pie Crust|
Gluten-Free Pie Crust:
- -1 cup sweet rice flour (not rice flour. This is a starch and sometimes called Mochiko Rice Flour or Glutinous Rice Flour. Look in the Asian section of your supermarket)
- -1/2 cup tapioca starch
- -1/2 cup cornstarch
- -1/4 cup potato starch (not potato flour)
- -1 rounded tsp xanthan gum
- -1/2 tsp salt
- 1/4 c. ice water
- -1/2 cup butter
- -1/2 cup butter flavored crisco/vegetable shortening
- -1 egg, cold
- -1 Tbsp. GF vinegar (I’ve heard you can sub an equal amount of lemon juice, but I can’t vouch for those results)
Combine all the dry ingredients in a large bowl. Whisk until well combined. Add small cubes of butter and margarine and cut into flours with two knives or a pastry cutter. Or, go with Shauna’s awesome idea and grate the stick of frozen butter into your flours. Sadly, this doesn’t work quite as well with the Crisco. The end result should have butter bits about the size of peas, or a tad smaller, but should be lumpier than cornmeal. Lightly beat together the egg, water, and vinegar. Add to mixture and mix with a fork or your (cold) hands until a dough forms. Wrap tightly in plastic wrap and chill for at least 60 minutes, up to overnight.
Preheat oven to 425 degree Fahrenheit (for an pre-baked shell) or according to your filled pie’s recipe’s directions. Remove dough from fridge, allow to rest for 10 minutes. Divide in half and roll out one half into a disk about 1/8″-1/4″ thick. Press into pie pan. For pre-baked crust prick with fork and bake for 10-12 minutes until pie begins to brown. Or use pie weights. Follow your filled pie’s recipe’s directions for baking your filled pie.
|Gluten Free Cherry & Blueberry Mini Pies|