Perfect Gluten-Free Pie Crust
When I decided to make a million pies for Thanksgiving (OK, eleven) I made the potentially disastrous choice of making all the crusts gluten-free. Potentially disastrous, because I’d never made a gluten-free version of my favorite pie crust, and I didn’t do a test run. Also we were having company for the big dinner.
I live on the edge, what can I say?
Luckily it was SO good. Like, if someone made me a pie with this crust I would never know it was gluten-free. Honest. It’s even better than most traditional pie crusts I’ve eaten. (I’m a pie crust snob.)
All I did was take Grandma’s pie crust recipe and use a gluten-free flour blend. That’s it. Her recipe has an egg and it’s very forgiving, so I figured that would give me a head start. I’ve played with this recipe before, substituting whole-grain flours, but this variation is by far the best. It tastes and feels almost identical to the original. (I’m curious to see if Grandma would even notice…)
The flour I used is the King Arthur Gluten-Free Brown Rice Flour Blend Recipe. I’ve been using this flour a lot lately, and it’s my current favorite. I use regular brown rice flour, tapioca flour, and potato starch — all easy to find, especially if you have a grocery store with a bulk section. (Unless you have severe gluten allergies, then bulk bins aren’t a great idea.)
Why am I using it and not a paleo-friendly blend? Well… convenience mostly. Also, my 1-year-old is allergic to a lot of things right now, and trying to make egg-free, nut-free, dairy-free, AND grain-free baked goods makes my head explode. So, I compromise and use this blend.
Another reason is because I’m trying to eliminate all uses for white flour. I used to make exceptions for birthday cakes. And pie crust.
No more, my friends.
If this flour works in my favorite cinnamon roll recipe I will be the happiest girl in the world. Yes, all the sugar, I know, but one thing at a time. And life would be super boring without actual treats once in a while. Amiright?
OK, pie crust. Here we go.
Using a food processor to make pie crust changed my life. Pastry blenders get the job done. So do a couple of forks, but by the time you finish cutting the butter into the flour you’ll want to stick a fork in your eye.
And that reminds me — yes, I use butter. You can probably use palm shortening, but I make no promises about the outcome. I use Kerrygold grass-fed butter because it tastes amazing. And because, butter.
Just toss that flour and salt into the work bowl, give it a buzz, and then drop pieces of butter in and pulse it up.
It’ll look sorta chunky-crumbly and a little like damp sand.
Here’s the important part. Have a big glass of ice water ready, and measure out 1/4 cup of the water. Break an egg into it and beat it with a fork.
Then pour it into the flour mixture and pulse some more.
Keep pulsing. It’ll start to get chunkier.
Until the dough starts to gather to one side of the processor in a big clump.
Empty the dough out onto a floured surface, split it in half, and shape it into two disks. Cover them with plastic wrap and chill for a couple of hours (or like 15 minutes in the freezer). Did I mention this recipe makes two crusts?
Now we move to my countertop with the ugly sand-colored formica. Sigh.
When you’re ready to roll it out, it’ll be pretty firm, but work on it gently and as the dough becomes pliable it’ll spread out like normal. If it cracks, just pinch the dough back together. I like to put the pie pan upside down on top to make sure the crust is big enough.
If you happen to have a pastry scraper you’re in good shape. You can also use a metal spatula.
Slide it around the edges of the crust to release it from the counter and then gently transfer it to a pie plate.
Sometimes it will tear a little, but just pinch it back together.
Trim the edges if there’s more than 1/2 inch hanging off the plate and then tuck the edges under to clean it up.
I like to crimp the edges with my knuckle because Grandma always crimps hers, and I think it looks prettier than using a fork around the edges which also flattens it and make it burn more easily.
By now you may have realized that isn’t flour or dough on my hands. I went from glittering pinecones directly to rolling out pie crust with a quick handwashing in the middle, but I didn’t have time to pick off all of the paint because the baby was still asleep. You don’t waste those precious minutes doing non-essential things.
And I promise there was no consumption of acrylic paint during this process.
At this point you can fill it and bake it like normal!
If you’re going to pre-bake it, prick the bottom of the crust with a fork so it doesn’t bubble.
I don’t have pie beads, weights, or dry beans so I just lightly press foil onto the crust and cover the edges.
Ready to be filled!
I used this crust for 7 of these pies — including the heart cut outs and the lattice. The lattice was a little tricky, but I thought it worked out beautifully!
By the way, if you want to know the details and recipe sources for those pies, you can find that on the Instagram post.
I also filled one with Cleaned-Up Chocolate Silk. You may want to get in on this.
Gluten-Free Pie Crust
Yield: 2 crusts
Prep Time: 15 minutes
- 2 cups gluten-free flour blend (Use this recipe)
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
- 12 Tablespoons cold butter (grass-fed, if possible)
- 1 egg
- Fill a tall glass with ice water and set it aside.
- Combine the flour and salt in the work bowl of a food processor. Pulse to combine.
- Cut the butter into 1/2-inch pieces, and add them to the food processor 2-3 pieces of the time and pulse a few times in between additions. The mixture should resemble coarse damp sand. Don’t overmix it.
- Measure out 1/4 cup of the ice water into a small bowl. Crack the egg into the water and beat it with a fork.
- Pour the egg mixture into the processor slowly while pulsing. Continue to pulse the crust until it gradually thickens and gathers to one side of the mixing bowl.
- Transfer the dough to the countertop and gather it into one ball. Cut it in half and form each half into a disk. Cover the disks with plastic wrap and chill for at least 2 hours (or put it in the freezer for 20 minutes).
- Place the chilled disk on a floured surface and gentle roll it out working from the middle outward. If the crust cracks, just pinch it back together. Roll it out to the desired size — I like to turn the pie plate I’m using upside down to make sure the crust is big enough.
- Using a pastry scraper or a metal spatula, loosen the edges and work your way into the center to release it from the work surface. Transfer it to a pie plate.
- If there is any crust that hangs over the edge of the plate more than about 1/2-inch, trim it off. Tuck the edges under and crimp them if you want.
- At this point you can fill the crust and bake it. If you want to pre-bake it, prick the base of the crust with a fork and press a piece of foil over the crust, covering the edges.
- Bake the crust at 425 degrees F for 12 minutes. Remove the foil and continue to bake for another 6-8 minutes until the crust is baked through, but not too browned.
- If you don’t have a food processor, you can use a pastry blender or a couple of forks to cut the butter into the flour and make the dough.
- You can store the dough disks and the pre-baked crusts in the fridge, covered, for up to a week.
From Perry’s Plate
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