Flashback Friday Post Update: Gluten-free Pie CrustPosted: November 11, 2016
Hi again, everyone. I won’t bother asking how your week was, because I don’t really know that I want to talk about it. At least not yet. But, like always, the days keep going forward, which means we are getting closer and closer to Thanksgiving. And what is Thanksgiving without dessert, right? And what is a more Thanksgiving-worthy dessert than pie? Maybe cheesecake…but I’m here to talk about my very favorite pie crust, so let’s keep the focus on pie! Pie crust was one of the very first gluten-free recipes that I mastered. The keys are: lots of starch to keep things light and to make the perfect mix with the fat (butter) to create a crispy crust. A dash of vinegar helps too. And best of all, while I suggest gentle handling while kneading and rolling out the dough, that isn’t quite as crucial. See, the reason that we are so careful with pie crust is to (1) not melt the fat in the dough and (2) not activate the gluten in the flour. We’ve removed one of those factors by using gluten-free flours. No risk of tough, gluten-activated dough here! Now we can focus on keeping everything chilled and make ourselves some super tasty pie!
Last Thanksgiving I made three pies: Pecan, Apple, and Maple-Nutmeg Custard. (Don’t worry, my mother made a pumpkin cheesecake, so we fulfilled the pumpkin requirement!) All three were delicious, but this year we have a ton of guests. I plan to scale back to give them some room at the dessert table, so I am planning to make a traditional pumpkin pie using this crust. And maybe a cheesecake, if I can’t help myself.
So here’s the deal with pies. In general, fruit pies can be made with the dough raw, and the pie dough will bake along with the fruit. Filled pies (that do not have a top crust), typically, want a par-baked (also known as blind-baked or prebaked) crust first. Par-baking is nothing to be scared of, just form the bottom shell in your pie pan, place a sheet of parchment over the crust and fill the pie shell with a layer of dry, uncooked beans. Bake for 12-15 minutes at 425 degrees, then remove the parchment and the beans (careful, they are hot!) and bake for another 5 minutes. Then your crust is partially baked and much sturdier. It will hold up better to the liquid, custard type fillings.
So pick your favorite fillings and get planning! I usually try to cook my desserts one or two days before Thanksgiving, as they will keep. Then I can warm them up gently, if needed, while we eat dinner!
Check out my recipe for Gluten-Free Pie Crust!