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Volume III
November, 2013

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Gluten-Free Pie Crust

By Sharon Ng

In our home, we don't currently have the need to go gluten free. For health's sake it might not be a bad idea, but we aren't big on breads, or most other gluten-loaded foods, so I haven't made the jump. I do have many friends who have to eat a gluten free diet, or choose to eat a gluten free diet. I love baking for my friends, and often I am at a loss about what I can surprise them with. Some of our Cook'n readers have also expressed a desire for some gluten-free ideas.

Below is a super gluten-free pie crust that turns out flaky! It's a great option for your Thanksgiving meal, or really for any other time!

The biggest changes are the flour base you use. This recipe calls for a preblended flour mixture and Xantham Gum as well as suggesting the use of Instant ClearJel. I chose not to use this because it is not safe for Celiac's because it is packaged in a non gluten free environment.

Celiac's is a common term used for those with Celiac Disease, a condition where eating gluten causes an immune reaction. This immune reaction causes inflammation in the intestine, and resulting illness from that, as well as malabsorption of vital nutrients.

Here are some more details on these ingredients and where to find them.

King Arthur Gluten free Multi-Purpose Flour
I found this with the baking supplies in my grocery store. I believe the cost was under five dollars, though this will differ depending on your grocer. The recipe says you can use a brown rice flour blend, so you could use other brands, or even make your own blend. I used the easy way, and my review is based on the King Arthur brand.

Xanthum Gum
Xanthum Gum is used for its sticky and thickening properties. It is essential in many gluten free recipes. It sounds pretty weird, but check your toothpaste, you are probably using it daily (I hope more than once a day!).

Xantham gum will be used in small amounts, and keeping it in your refrigerator will prolong its life. You can find it in the baking section near the flours. There are other brands out there, but this seems to be a popular one.

Here are some additional tips, which I found useful for this recipe, as found on the King Arthur website.

Tips From Our Bakers

  • The egg yolk makes this crust vulnerable to burned edges, so always shield the edges of the crust, with aluminum foil or a pie shield, to protect them while baking.
  • To pre-bake without filling, preheat the oven to 375°F. Line the bottom with pie weights, and bake for 25 minutes. Remove the weights, and bake for an additional 10 to 15 minutes, till the crust is a light golden brown.
  • Making fruit pie? Apply strong heat to the bottom crust at the beginning of the baking time to prevent sogginess. For best results, use a metal (aluminum preferred) pie pan. Bake at 425°F on the bottom rack of your oven for 20 minutes, then reduce the heat to 350°F, move your pie to the middle rack, and continue to bake until the crust is golden and the filling is bubbly.
  • If you're baking a custard pie in this crust, we recommend pre-baking as directed above, then cooling the crust until you can touch it comfortably before pouring in the custard. Bake the custard-filled pie at the moderate heat such pies require; your recipe will indicate what that is. Don't forget the pie shield for this second bake as well.
  • The top of a double-crust pie will brown OK; but brushing it with milk and sprinkling it with sugar will enhance its browning, and add sparkle and sweet crunch to your pie.

This is a delicious option for those that perhaps thought they could never have pie again! Happy Holidays to you and yours!

Here is the recipe for this great pie crust!

Gluten Free Pie Crust

We're proud of the flaky texture of this crust, which can be difficult to achieve with gluten-free ingredients. Thorough baking and a golden brown color will give this crust a wonderful toasty flavor. This is enough for a single 9-inch crust, but can easily be doubled to make a two-crust pie. Note that the Instant ClearJel used here is optional; it's not packaged in a gluten-free facility, and thus isn't suitable for celiacs, or for those with a strong allergy to gluten.

Prep time:
Cook time:
Yield: One 9-inch pie crust

Serving size: 7
Calories per serving: 170

1 1/4 cups king arthur gluten-free multi-purpose flour or brown rice flour blend*
1 tablespoon sugar
2 teaspoons instant clearjel (optional; not packed in a gluten-free facility)
1/2 teaspoon xanthan gum
1/2 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons cold butter
1 large egg
2 teaspoons lemon juice or vinegar

Lightly grease a 9-inch pie pan.

Whisk together the flour or flour blend, sugar, ClearJel, xanthan gum, and salt.

Cut the cold butter into pats, then work the pats into the flour mixture till it's crumbly, with some larger, pea-sized chunks of butter remaining.

Whisk the egg and vinegar or lemon juice together till very foamy. Mix into the dry ingredients. Stir until the mixture holds together, adding 1 to 3 additional tablespoons cold water if necessary.

Shape into a ball and chill for an hour, or up to overnight.

Allow the dough to rest at room temperature for 10 to 15 minutes before rolling.

Roll out on a piece of plastic wrap, on a silicone rolling mat, or in a pie bag that's been heavily sprinkled with gluten-free flour or flour blend. Invert the crust into the prepared pie pan.

Fill and bake as your pie recipe directs. Makes 1 (9-inch) pie crust

*Make your own blend: Many of our gluten-free recipes use our King Arthur Gluten-Free Multi-Purpose Flour, which includes ingredients that reduce the grittiness sometimes found in gluten-free baked goods. Our flour also increases the shelf life of your treats, keeping them fresh longer.

The following make-at-home blend, featuring stabilized brown rice flour, works pretty well when substituted; and it tastes better than a blend using regular brown rice flour. Whisk together 6 cups (32 ounces) King Arthur stabilized brown rice flour; 2 cups (10 3/4 ounces) potato starch; and 1 cup (4 ounces) tapioca flour or tapioca starch. Store airtight at room temperature. Note: You can substitute white rice flour for the brown rice flour if you like; it'll make your baked goods grittier (unless you manage to find a finely ground version).

Recipe formatted with the Cook'n Recipe Software from DVO Enterprises.

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Sharon Ng
Monthly Newsletter Contributor since 2012

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