All my life I was intimidated by the beautiful pies my mother made during the holidays. Even before I was diagnosed with celiac disease, I had never learned to make a decent piecrust, but I was encouraged when I read this quote in Carol Fenster’s “Gluten-free Quick & Easy Cookbook.”
“Forget everything you were taught about handling piecrust; this one won’t toughen…”
You can knead this dough as much as you want to and it won’t get tough? It seems there are some advantages to gluten-free baking after all!
For some reason I didn’t have quite enough dough to make this double crust fit a 9-inch pie pan. Maybe I didn’t roll out my bottom crust thin enough. I couldn’t make the scalloped edges that are on traditional apple pies, so my pie wasn’t very pretty. It turned out really tasty, though – not crumbly or gritty – and the flavor is what it’s all about, right?
I didn’t have any sweet rice flour, so I substituted cornstarch. I learned by researching (what did we do before the internet?!) that sweet rice flour is made from sticky rice and is good for helping gluten-free pastries stick together. I would like to try this piecrust again with sweet rice flour to see if it makes a significant difference.
This dough can be made ahead of time and frozen for future use.
- 1 cup Carol’s Sorghum Flour Blend
- 2/3 cup tapioca flour
- 1/2 cup sweet rice flour (I used cornstarch)
- 1 teaspoon xanthan gum
- 1 teaspoon guar gum (I used more xanthan gum – didn’t have guar)
- 1/2 teaspoon table salt
- 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 3 tablespoons cane sugar, divided
- 1/2 cup shortening
- 1/2 cup milk (I used almond milk)
- 1 teaspoon cider vinegar or lemon juice (I used apple cider vinegar)
- 1 egg white, beaten with 1 tablespoon water for egg wash (optional)
In a food processor, place dry ingredients, 2 tablespoons of sugar, and the shortening and mix well. (I mixed it by hand with a pastry blender and it worked just fine.)
Add the milk and cider vinegar, and blend until the dough forms a ball. Knead the dough with your hands until smooth.
Flatten dough to 1-inch disk and wrap tightly in plastic wrap. Chill 1 hour.
Remove dough from refrigerator and massage between hands until warm and pliable, making the crust easier to handle. Roll half of the dough to a uniform thickness into a 10-inch circle between two pieces of heavy-duty plastic wrap that are dusted with gluten-free flour. Use a damp paper towel between counter top and plastic wrap to anchor the plastic. Keep the remaining half wrapped tightly to avoid drying out.
Remove the top plastic wrap and invert the crust, centering it over a 9-inch non-stick pie plate. Remove remaining wrap and press the crust into place. If the dough is hard to handle, press the entire bottom crust in place with your fingers. Fill with your favorite fruit filling (see apple filling recipe below).
Roll remaining dough to 10-inch circle. Invert the dough and center over filled crust. Shape a decorative ridge around rim of pie pan (I didn’t have enough dough to do this for some reason.) Slice top crust several times to allow steam to escape. Freeze pie 15 minutes, (I actually skipped this step.) Brush crust with beaten egg white for glossier crust. Sprinkle crust with remaining sugar. Place pie on baking sheet.
Bake pie in preheated 375˚F oven for 15 minutes on the lowest rack to brown bottom of crust. Move pie to middle rack and bake 25 to 35 more minutes (I baked mine about 30 minutes) or until the top crust is nicely browned. Cover pie loosely with foil if the edges start to brown too quickly. Let cool completely before cutting.
- 4 cups sliced apples
- 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
- 2 tablespoons cornstarch
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon or apple pie spice (I used 3/4 teaspoon cinnamon, 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg and 1/4 teaspoon ginger)
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
In a bowl combine apples, brown sugar, cornstarch, spices and lemon juice.
Mix well and transfer to prepared piecrust. Dot with butter. Cover with top crust and follow baking instructions above.
Source: “Gluten-Free Quick & Easy” by Carol Fenster.
All you really need is love…but a taste of apple pie now and then doesn’t hurt!