In episode 002 we learn how to make an extra flaky gluten-free pie crust that will fool the toughest critics! This audio recipe for gluten-free pie dough will help you make pies with ease again! Join Melissa as she shares how to make the best crust, step-by-step, along with many expert gluten-free baking tips!
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Hey y’all. I’m Melissa Erdelac, host of the Gluten-Free Recipe Challenge podcast and creator behind the gluten-free website, MamaGourmand. Here we take beloved recipes you thought you’d never enjoy again and transform them into easy copycat versions, just as good as the originals.
Today we’re gonna talk about what really made me the most depressed when I had to start eating gluten-free.
I had completely lost my pie crust game. I freaking loved making homemade pies. I loved rolling out the crust. I loved making those little decorative designs on top. I loved all the infinite possibilities of fillings. I loved how everyone was so impressed when I presented them with a completely homemade pie.
I also loved how easy they were to make. I just throw all the ingredients in a food processor, blend it, refrigerate, roll out. That was it. Pie dough was my bitch. None of that shit held true when I attempted a gluten-free pie crust. It was actually still quite easy to throw together, and rolling out wasn’t that bad.
So I had high hopes. I put my beautiful crust in the oven, and when I snuck a peak halfway through, all the dough had melted down into a big glob at the bottom of the pan. I cried.
One night I was driving home from work and listening to Terry Gross interviewing chefs from America’s Test Kitchen. They were promoting a new gluten-free cookbook called the How Can It Be Gluten-Free Cookbook.
This type of cookbook was something they had never attempted before. What really caught my attention was that they had described their taste testing experiments. When they would come up with a recipe, they would take both the traditionally made recipe and the gluten-free recipe to blind taste testers.
If the testers knew which one was gluten-free, the recipes still needed work. Their whole premise was for all the recipes to be preferred over the traditional ones. I was sold, and after trying out the recipes, I became a quick fan.
The gluten-free pie dough published in this book was my catalyst back into pie making stardom. I used the crust for all types of pies, like fruit or custard, pumpkin or pecan, and I also use it for other pastries like pot pie, crostatas, or tarts.
I know when I shared my gluten-free sandwich bread in episode two, I told you I wouldn’t put you through the accolades every time, but I’m going back in my word. Just this once. Maybe.
Marie says, “Finally, I found a gluten-free pie dough that works, and when I mean works, it’s perfect. I made one double batch of dough. One I left in the fridge overnight and one I used as directed. I found the dis I left in the fridge overnight was even better. No tears. Thank you so much.”
Julie says, “This is the best gluten-free pie crust recipe. My non gluten-free son-in-law raved about the crust and was shocked when I told him it was GF. I feel I had arrived back in the baking world again. It was a beautiful pie. This is it. Thank you for a grand recipe.”
Also, my mom makes this crust all the time for family get togethers, and she is very discriminatory when it comes to food. It’s not even in her to pretend if she doesn’t like something. She’s very judgey and resolute, but she loves this recipe.
I could go on, but hopefully you get the gist. It’s not just me that thinks this shit’s for real.
So let’s get to the recipe and everything you’ll need to know to make it a success.
First of all, what you’ll need. I always use a food processor. I got my food processor when I got married. I love it. I use it for so many things, but if you don’t have that piece of equipment, you can also make this by hand.
If you do make it by hand, you might want to get a pastry blender, which is just like a half moon tool that has four or five blades on it. Or you could just use your fingers or a fork too. You’ll need a rolling pen. You’ll need parchment or wax paper to roll out the dough. And some other helpful things that I use every time I make pies.
One of them I swear by, it’s a pie shield and it’s just this circular thing you put on your pie. It’s open in the middle so the middle crust is exposed, but all the edges are covered and that helps your crust cook at the same rate, because usually the outer crust could get a lot more brown then the middle part. If you don’t have a pie shield, you can also just use aluminum foil and shape it around the edges, and it does the same thing.
If you’re blind baking a pie, that means you’re baking it without a filling inside, you could use a pie weight. I have one that I’ll link to in the show notes that you just put in and you don’t need beans or anything, you just put it on the bottom of your pie. Or you could also line the bottom of your pie shell with a piece of parchment paper and put dried beans in.
For the ingredients you need gluten-free all-purpose flour. And for this recipe as well as all my recipes, I recommend Cup4Cup. I’ve tested this recipe with a lot of different gluten-free flours, Bob’s Red Mill, King Arthur, Pillsbury. I know other people have written in and said that they’ve made this with different types of flours.
If you didn’t have anything to compare it to, the other flours would be fine and work great. But testing this recipe side-by-side with the different ones, Cup4Cup really works the best.
You’ll also need a little bit of sugar and a little bit of salt. For the liquids you need ice water, sour cream, and apple cider vinegar.
The vinegar doesn’t affect the taste at all, but it helps tenderize the crust and keeps it flaky. The sour cream also does this. It helps tenderize the crust and then it also serves another purpose – it coats the gluten-free starches, which are a little bit ricey and gritty, so you don’t get that gritty texture in it.
And of course, you’ll need butter. You’ll need to cut it in small cubes and freeze it for 10 minutes before you begin and just make sure it’s nice and cold.
When you’re ready to begin, cut your butter, put it in the freezer for about 10 minutes. And then what I do is I also combine my liquid ingredients. I combine the ice water, the sour cream, and the apple cider vinegar.
I just use a fork and mix that together really well, and I put that in the freezer too until I’m ready to use it just so everything’s nice and chilled. That is the key when making a pie crust.
First, you’re going to put the dry ingredients in a food processor or in a medium size bowl. You’ll need three fourths cups plus two thirds cup of gluten-free flour.
If you’re doing it by weight, that’s six and a half ounces. Also put in one and a half teaspoons of sugar and a half a teaspoon of salt. Turn it on to combine it or whisk it together in the bowl.
Next, you’re gonna add your slightly frozen butter. You’re just gonna put that in, turn on the food processor until it comes together and you get like pea-sized pieces in there.
If you’re not using a food processor, use your pastry cutter or your fingers to combine it together. Take your liquids out of the freezer, so they should have been in there for about five or 10 minutes, and pour in half to the food processor. You’ll want to pulse it. That means like briefly combined it a couple times until the liquids start to work together with the dry ingredients.
If you’re doing the by hand method, then just use a fork and combine the liquids with the dry ingredients. Pour the rest of the liquids in and pulse it again until it comes together. Or use your fork or fingers to finish combining it.
What you’re looking for is the dough should just start to come together. That means you shouldn’t see flour in there. It should look like all the clumps are wet. It shouldn’t really come together in a big ball, but just little tiny pieces.
Okay, so you’re gonna take that mixture. You’re gonna get a large piece of plastic wrap and dump the mixture onto the plastic wrap. Shape it into a thick disc, and then cover it all securely with the plastic and refrigerate it for at least one hour. Or if you’re in a hurry, I’ve even froze it for about 30 minutes.
You want to make sure that the dough is nice and cold before rolling out. At this point, you could also refrigerate it overnight before using.
Now we’re going talk about rolling out your pie dough. I found that placing the disc in between two pieces of parchment paper works best.
You may also use wax paper, but it has a tendency to stick to the dough more. And you could also use plastic wrap, but I find the dough kind of gets in between the little crinkles of the plastic wrap, so I recommend parchment.
When you’re rolling it out the dough is first gonna be really cold and hard, so let it sit on the counter for five minutes and then try rolling it.
While you’re rolling your dough, you wanna press down in the middle and then push out the dough from the center. This makes sure that the middle’s not too thick, while the edges are really thin. Rotate your parchment paper as you’re doing it. So you want to roll out a couple times, rotate it, roll out a couple times so you have a circle.
If you find your circle is actually a real lopsided looking shape, that’s fine too. Just peel up one piece of the parchment and I just cut off some dough and put it where you need more dough to make a circle. This dough is really easy to work with. You could manipulate it to make the circle as round as you need it.
Once you think you have a good size circle, you could check this by turning your pie plate over on top and you just want to make sure that there’s enough to go up the edges, and there’s enough overhang around the rim too, so you could turn those over and make your decorative crust on top.
Peel off one of the parchment paper, flip it over, put it in your pie plate, and press along the sides, and press along the bottom and up the side so it fits your pie plate perfectly. Once you have it fit in your pie plate, then you peel off the other piece of parchment.
Here it might stick a little and that is fine. If it sticks or tears, just use your fingers and press it back together. It’s probably not gonna come off perfectly the first time, and it’s totally fine.
I always bandage it back together by just pressing the dough together. It will still bake fine.
Now you’re going to use a pair of kitchen scissors to trim off the excess dough around the edge. You want it about an inch away from the edge all the way around. So go ahead and cut that away.
My mom used to use that extra dough and sprinkle cinnamon sugar on it, and then bake it along with the pie.
So you had little cinnamon sugar, shortbreads. That was really good. Or you can roll it out again and use little cookie cutters and make decorative shapes and put that on top of your pie as well. Or you could just throw it away.
You’re going to cover your pie with plastic and freeze it for 15 minutes before baking. This makes sure the dough is nice and cold again before baking, since you’ve been kind of working with it on the counter, you want it to be really cold when you bake it in the oven.
Once you pull it from the freezer after 15 minutes, this is when you pour in your pie filling and you bake it as your pie recipe directs. The other thing you could do is blind bake it. That’s what you would do if you just need to bake the shell and pour in a no-bake filling, like if you’re making coconut cream pie or a peanut butter pie or a lemon meringue pie. For this is when you would put your pie weight in, or the dried beans, and bake the crust until it’s completely golden and firm on the edges and on the bottom.
Gluten-free pie crust, even this dough, has a tendency to have a softer bottom crust if it’s just baked on the middle rack. If you just pour your filling in and bake it on the middle rack, you might notice that the bottom crust isn’t as crisp as you want it, but there’s some easy things you can do to combat this.
One is to use a metal pie plate, which will conduct more heat. The other thing you could do is you put a baking sheet in the oven and let it preheat with the oven so the sheet’s nice and hot. Then you put your pie on the baking sheet, and it conducts the heat from the baking sheet up to the bottom crust.
The last thing you could is partially bake the crust first before filling, and even if your recipe doesn’t direct you to do this, like if you’re making a pumpkin pie, it usually has the unbaked pie dough, and then you pour the pumpkin pie in. I would bake the crust first for about 20 minutes, and then pour the pie filling in.
If you do this, just make sure the edges are protected either with your pie shield or cover them with aluminum foil so they don’t get overly brown before your pie’s done baking.
This recipe makes a single pie crust, but it can be doubled. If you want to be super fancy and make a lattice top, or you want to make a double pie crust, which you would do for like an apple or blueberry pie, just refrigerate the dough in two discs.
You can also make the dough and wrap securely in plastic wrap, and put it in a Ziploc freezer bag and freeze it up to one month. When you’re ready to use it, place all that in the fridge and thaw overnight.
So that’s all for this episode of the Gluten-Free Recipe Challenge. Remember, you can always find the full printable recipe on my show notes page. To get to it go to my recipe website, MAMAGOURMAND.COM, and click on the podcast tab. You can also click on the link provided in whatever podcast app you are listening on. The show notes page includes the full recipe, tips, along with recommended ingredients or equipment I’ve mentioned.
If you have a recipe idea, something you’d love to enjoy a delicious version of again, don’t be shy, reach out. DM me on Instagram. My handle is @MAMAGOURAND or email MELISSA (at) MAMAGOURMAND.COM.
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