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Gluten Free Pie Crust by Cara

Again, a warm welcome to Cara for her first recipe on the blog! Cara’s post is for a gluten-free pie crust. Enjoy!  ~Elizabeth

I love to bake. I love the simple chemistry, working with my hands, and the “something’s baking” smells that fill my house. Plus, nothing beats how cool it is to serve the people I love most something I made from scratch, and then watch them gobble it up.

As a baking enthusiast I was saddened to learn that my son, Avery, is allergic to many of the most essential and common baking ingredients: wheat/gluten, cow’s milk, and eggs. Virtually everything baked by me, or anyone, includes these ingredients! But, rather than giving up my favorite pastime, I decided to take up gluten-free, egg-free, dairy-free baking as my new hobby.

This 4th of July, I set out on a mission:  to bake a pie that Avery could eat.  I started with a basic pie crust recipe from my beloved, food-particle-encrusted copy of  The Healthy Kitchen by Dr. Andrew Weil and Rosie Daley. My first attempt (and yes, there was more than one!) at making this dairy-free & gluten-free went thusly:  I substituted Smart Balance for the butter (1-to-1), and Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free baking flour for the standard wheat flour (1-to-1).  Both of these substitutions have been useful in making excellent cookies and muffins, so I had good reason to think they’d work here.

Sadly, while this first attempt was basically edible, it was by no means good enough.  It was tough, and kind of paste-y, and just… not good.  Don’t get me wrong, the pie was consumed… but we all kind of ate around the crust.  So call me a perfectionist, but getting a pie crust flaky and good enough to eat without the filling is the ultimate goal, right?  I started over, and began with making sure I had… Crisco.

Crisco. Where to begin, with Crisco?  Some people consider it to be the Devil’s work, but mostly because everything it touches turns to gold. It is solid at room temperature which, for something considered an ‘oil’, is never a good thing.  But, Crisco is dairy-free, egg-free, and gluten-free! My mother has been baking with it for years, and everything she bakes is delicious, and we are all still here to tell the tale.

Crisco came through – the result was flaky, just like the ‘real thing’!  A tiny bit sweet and nutty; a delicious and perfect pie crust.  Everyone dove in and made it disappear, and no one ever asked me how I made it. What do they care? It tastes good – just as good as the “real thing”. Mission accomplished.

 

Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free Pie Crust

Ingredients

  • 1 Cup Crisco
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • 2 1/2 cups Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free flour (plus extra for rolling dough)
  • 6 Tbsp ice water
  • wax paper
  • 9” or 10 “ pie plate

Instructions

  • Combine first three ingredients in a bowl. Then, a cup at a time, sift the GF flour into the bowl. Sifting this kind of flour, I am convinced, helped to make this crust flaky! Don’t skip this step, people: SIFT!
  • Process ingredients with a hand-mixer or stand mixer, on low, until just combined.
  • Add water (a tablespoon at a time) until dough is sticky. Because of the GF flour, this dough will not look or taste like regular pie dough, at this point. It will look almost shiny, sticky, and has darker color than traditional crust. It also has an odd aftertaste. (Do not be deterred, it will be delicious.)
  • Separate the dough into two balls, wrap in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for 1 hour. (Do not attempt to hasten this ‘chilling’ by putting it into the freezer for 15 minutes– I believe this added to the toughness of my first crust!)
  • While the dough is chilling, make the filling (see recipe below).
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • After dough has chilled for at least an hour, roll out the first (bottom) pie crust on a piece of wax paper, then sprinkle the paper, dough and rolling pin with GF flour (or cornstarch). This dough is sticky, so you’ll need to flour and re-flour the dough and the rolling pin.
  • Test to see if you’ve flattened and rounded enough to fit the pie crust, by laying the pie plate over the crust. If it fits, you’re done. If not, roll more. You don’t have to worry about thickness because once it’s big enough to fit into the plate, the thickness will be perfect.
  • Set the pie plate down over the crust; slip your hand between the wax paper and the countertop, and flip the pie plate over, carefully transplanting the crust onto the plate. Flatten the dough against the sides and bottom of the plate.
  • Peel back the wax paper, leaving the crust in the pie plate.
  • Note: I used a 10” plate, but the recipe should actually fit a 9” plate. One of the happy accidents that I plan to repeat! Why? Because I don’t like to fight to keep the edges of my pie from burning! So this pie actually ‘sits down’ inside the plate, instead of being prettily crimped along the edges, like Grandma used to make. Tastes just as good! So what if I’m cheating?!
  • Fill the bottom pie crust with the filling, set aside.
  • Roll out the 2nd ball of dough for a top crust.
  • For the top crust, you can do a lattice top by cutting strips; obviously a traditional top crust with some holes cut out for ventilation works too; OR, steal my friend Isabel Pipelo’s idea for a festive 4th of July crust – cut out stars with a cookie-cutter, and scatter across the top!
  • Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour.
  • Remove from heat, and sprinkle with a dash of sugar.
  • Serve at room temperature… with vanilla SOY ice cream!! 

Preparation time: 1 hour(s)

Cooking time: 1 hour(s)

Number of servings (yield): 8

Cara’s Blueberry Pie Filling

Ingredients

  • 3 Cups fresh blueberries
  • ¾ – 1 Cup sugar
  • 2 Tbsp Bob’s Red Mill Gluten-Free Flour
  • 1 Tbsp cornstarch
  • 1 tsp Lemon zest
  • 2 tsp Lemon juice

Instructions

  • Combine all ingredients; mix until blueberries are coated evenly.

Preparation time: 2 minute(s)