As autumn deepens and the weather transitions from cool to cold, my thoughts turn to pie. Pumpkin, apple, mincemeat – the pie fillings of the season beg for warming spices and a dollop of gingered whipped cream on top. But pie is a two-part dance. The crust, too, must pull its weight. Whether single or double, a good pie crust will be substantial enough to hold the weight of its savory, fruity filling, yet light and flaky enough to lift the pie’s character along with its seasonal ingredients.
If your pie crust must be gluten-free, the burden of balancing substance and loft can be particularly challenging. Over the past few months, I have had the pleasure of testing a few brand new gluten-free pie crust recipes.
The first recipe, from Erika Lenkert’s beautiful new magazine, GFF, or Gluten Free Forever, is courtesy of Jeffrey Larsen, an allergen-free cooking and baking instructor. (Psst! Get 10% off a subscription to GFF by using the code GFF10OFF. Offer good on print and PDF subscriptions only through November 30, 2014.)
Over the course of my testing, this crust was subjected to temperatures as high as 425°F for over an hour and did not crumble, scorch or otherwise behave as though it were gluten-free. It is a more traditional style of dough, ie, dough that is briefly kneaded, then rolled and lifted into the pan.
The second recipe, courtesy of Nutiva, an organic superfoods company, is cut from a different cloth – this is not your grandma’s pie crust! As this crust does not require rolling out before being placed in the pan, it took me a moment to visualize what to do with the dough once it was mixed. But, if rolling out gluten-free dough is the bane of your existence, consider this dough your new best friend. Simply drop the dough into the pan and press evenly up, out and around the edge of the pie pan. This dough will shrink when it bakes so be sure to extend the dough over the edge of your pie pan. The resulting crust is heartier in texture and flavor than the first crust, a good match for savory fillings such as quiche. In my testing, the crust did not life easily out of the pan after it was filled and cooked. Grease well and carry on.
Check back here next week for my completely updated, completely vegan pumpkin pie recipe
GFF’s Perfect GF Piecrust
MAKES ONE 9-INCH STANDARD OR DEEPDISH
This dough doesn’t need to rest in the refrigerator before use. But you can wrap it in plastic and refrigerate it for a night or freeze it for a month or more; just bring it back to room temperature before you roll it.
Recipe can be doubled.
Making this piecrust vegan is easy. Just replace the butter with an equal amount of Earth Balance Buttery Sticks, and replace the sour cream with 2 tablespoons cold water.
1⁄2 cup (60 grams) brown rice flour, plus more for rolling the dough
1⁄3 cup (34 grams) tapioca starch
1⁄3 cup (48 grams) potato starch (not potato flour)
1⁄4 cup (34 grams) sweet rice flour
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon xanthan gum
1⁄2 teaspoon kosher salt
1⁄2 cup (4 ounces/1 stick) cold, unsalted butter, diced
11⁄2 tablespoons sour cream, or 2 tablespoons ice water (for vegan)
11⁄2 tablespoons rice vinegar
1. In a medium bowl or food processor, mix together the 1⁄2 cup brown rice flour, the tapioca starch, potato starch, sweet rice flour, sugar, xanthan gum, and salt. Cut in the butter with a pastry blender or a fork until it forms pea-size pieces. Add the sour cream and rice vinegar and combine with your hands.
2. Turn the dough out onto the counter and knead gently. If it seems dry, add 1 teaspoon of cold water at a time and knead the dough until it’s smooth.
3. Sprinkle a sheet of parchment paper with brown rice flour. Flatten the dough into a disk on the paper. Sprinkle it with a little more brown rice flour and roll it out until the dough is 11 to 12 inches in diameter.
4. Invert a 9-inch pie plate on top of the dough. Slip one hand under the parchment paper while holding the pie plate with the other hand. Carefully flip the whole thing over so the dough is on the pie plate.
5. Carefully peel off the paper while easing the dough into the plate. Gently press the dough into the pie plate, press any cracks together, and trim the edges of the dough so they just reach the edge of the pie plate. (You can use the trimmings to patch any breaks.)
7. To create a decorative edge, make a pattern with a spoon or fork; if the spoon sticks to the dough, dip it in GF fl our before each use. Prick the crust with a fork on the bottom and partway up the sides. Proceed with your preferred pie filling.
Nutiva’s Gluten-Free Pie Crust
MAKES ONE 9-INCH STANDARD OR DEEPDISH
If you are short on time, swap 1 ½ cups oat flour for the rolled oats. Do not grind. Proceed with the recipe.
1 tbsp + ½ cup Nutiva Organic Extra Virgin Coconut Oil, melted
1 tbsp Nutiva Organic Milled Chia Seed
1/4 cup water
1 1/2 cups rolled oats
1/2 cup teff flour
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/2 cup Nutiva Organic Coconut Sugar
1 tbsp vanilla extract
Preheat the oven to 375ºF.
Lightly oil a pie pan with the melted coconut oil.
In a small bowl, combine chia and water. Let sit, undisturbed, for 10 minutes before proceeding. The chia will mix with the water to become a gel.
Place the rolled oats in a food processor and grind to a flour. Transfer to a large mixing bowl along with the teff flour, the rest of the melted coconut oil, coconut sugar, vanilla, sea salt and chia water gel, and mix well. Reserve ½ cup of the mixture to use as a crumb topping.
Transfer the rest of the dough to the prepared pie pan and use your fingers to press it out in an even layer over the bottom and up the sides of the pie pan. Poke a few holes in the dough with a fork.
Bake for about 10 minutes, until it loses it shine, before proceeding with your preferred pie filling.