Saturday, October 3, 2009

gluten free pie crust

my friend came over today to bake with me. since she has celiac disease, we did some gluten-free baking experiments. we tried 2 pie crust recipes.

the first recipe we got from the back of a bag of gluten-free flour mix. i don't remember the ingredients in the flour, but it included rice flour, guar gum, cornstarch, potato flour... and other things. i won't write about that recipe since i don't have it here.

the second recipe (the following one) i got from

  • 1 cup superfine brown rice flour
  • 1/2 cup arrowroot starch OR cornstarch
  • 1/4 cup amaranth flour
  • 1/4 cup white rice flour
  • 1 tablespoon cane sugar (OMIT sugar if making a savory filling)
  • 1/4 teaspoon xanthan gum OR guar gum
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon ice water
  • 1 large, lightly beaten egg
  • 12 tablespoons (1 1/2 cups) cold, cubed butter

  • cube the butter into small cubes beforehand, and stick them in the freezer (wrapped in wax paper) for a bit to make sure they are really cold
  • whisk/sift dry ingredients together in a medium or large bowl
  • cut in the cubes of butter with a pastry cutter (or use your hands or 2 knives. or a food processor if you have one and don't like to get your hands dirty and bake old-school) until it looks fairly evenly lumpy and crumbly (like coarse bread crumbs)
  • lightly beat eggs separately and add to flour/butter mixture, using hands or spoon to thoroughly blend.
  • add ice water and use your hands to combine. dough will come together (roll it around bowl to collect excess crumbs)
  • dough should stick together in a ball-shape when you squeeze it together.
  • divide into 2 discs and wrap each in wax paper separately. refrigerate for an hour before rolling (or freeze for later use) but take it out of fridge 20 minutes before using.
  • when dough is 'pliable' enough, roll between 2 sheets of wax paper, but be sure to still use flour! dough will stick to wax paper if you don't use more flour. if rolling pin gets sticky, rub with flour.
  • roll until desired thickness (1/8 inch or 1/16 inch thick), peel one layer of wax paper off and transfer to greased pie plate. peel the second layer of paper off and press into pie plate. now it is ready to fill with filling and bake, or to pre-bake it.

this pie tasted pretty fantastic (we used a pumpkin filling, suitably appropriate for next weekend's thanksgiving feasting), but i feel like there was a bit too much butter, seeing as the drip tray underneath the pie was pooling with grease.

i have baked a gluten-free pie before using just rice flour, salt, sugar, butter, and ice water, but it completely shattered on me when i was transfering it to the pie pan. it didn't just tear... it shattered. like glass. sticky, moldable, glass. luckily i don't care much for pies looking perfect, so i just patched it up, smushed it in the pan, and continued to bake it. i think using a thickener or starch with the flour is definitely helpful though. (such as guar gum, xanthan gum, arrowroot powder, cornstarch...) also the eggs definitely helped keep the dough together. but we will have to experiment a bit more to come up with a perfect gluten-free pie crust recipe. i am determined.

oh yes. we also made turnovers with some of the leftover dough. they tasted fantastic. we rolled the dough, cut out squares (approximately 3x5 inches), plopped jam in the center (and sugar because my jam was sugarless), brushed beat egg along the edges, and folded and sealed the edges together, to make a pocket. we baked those at 450 F for 15 minutes.

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