For most of us the thought of making a good homemade pie crust can be a bit daunting. So to think of making a gluten free pie that’s light and flaky…and will appeal to gluten-free eaters and non-gluten free eaters alike is downright intimidating. And yet, it’s not as difficult as you might think. In fact, the gluten-free flour mix tends to be lighter than wheat pastry flour, allowing for a more delicate crust. And without the gluten, it’s tough to make the dough tough.
I’m calling this winter berry pie because it calls for frozen berries (not generally available fresh this time of year).
These Williams-Sonoma fall leaf pie crust cutters have become my new favorite toy! =)
With that little button on the top, they allow you to imprint the design and then hold the perfect dough leaf until you’re ready to release it into your hand. They’re pretty fool-proof and a lot of fun!
But first we’ve got to make the dough…Did I mention that this it can be made egg-free and dairy-free, if you like?
- 2 cups GF flour mix
- *1 cup coconut oil, non-hydrogenated shortening, butter or non-dairy butter (chilled)
- 2 Tablespoons coconut sugar (Sucanat or organic cane sugar)
- 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
- 1 egg or **1/4 cup egg replacement
- ***1 teaspoon xanthan gum or guar gum
- 1 Tablespoon Apple cider vinegar or lemon juice
- 3 Tablespoons ice cold water (a few ice cubes in a cup of water works well)
Measure and mix together GF flour mix, sugar, xanthan gum and sea salt. If using a food processor, measure directly into that. Then add chilled coconut oil or shortening. To hurry the chilling process, measure the 1 cup of coconut oil or shortening needed and pop it into the freezer for 15 minutes. Add it to the flour mix and cut it with a fork or pulse in the processor until the clumps are gone. If using a food processor, you may need to stop and scrape the GF flour mix from the bottom.
In a separate bowl, whisk the egg (or egg replacement – see below), apple cider vinegar, and 3 Tablespoons ice water and pulse or cut into the GF flour mixture with a fork until moist. You should be able to press part of the dough into a ball without it being too dry or crumbly. You don’t want it falling apart.
I find that when I’m using the food processor, I need to empty it out into a large bowl at this point and briefly knead the dry flour bits into the moist dough – just until they’re mixed in. (If, for some reason you find it necessary add a little more ice water, add only a teaspoon at a time.) You don’t want wet dough.
Shape it into two round, flat disc shapes. At this point you may wrap it in plastic and refrigerate the dough for 3 days or place it in a freezer bag and freeze it.
Whether you’re baking the pie now or later, wrap one of the rounded discs in plastic so it doesn’t dry out and pop it in the fridge. This will be used for the top half of your pie. Depending on how long it takes for you to prepare the bottom half of the pie, the dough may be firm when it comes out of the fridge, but will soften as you work with it.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit and spray or grease your pie pan.
Sprinkle a few drops of water on your counter top and lay a sheet of wax paper or parchment paper on top of that. This will keep it from sliding around as you roll out your dough. Dust the top of the wax paper with a little GF flour, and a little more on the top of the dough before laying the second sheet of wax paper over it. This will help to keep the dough from sticking to the paper when you’re rolling the dough.
Begin rolling it out from the center. You will ultimately want it larger than the size of your pie pan – approximately 12″. Roll different directions until it’s 1/8 – 1/4″ thick. This is important for a crisp, evenly baked pie.
Remove the top piece of wax paper. Lay the pie pan over the dough (open side down) and gently slide your hand under the wax paper so that your hand is in the center of the pie pan and carefully turn the whole thing over. The dough will now be lying inside the baking dish.
Slowly peel the wax paper away and gently press the dough to shape the inside of the pan and over the edge. Then, using a knife, slice the dough off along the edge. (If it cracks or bits fall off, or it doesn’t look exactly the way you want, you may fill in the spaces by pressing some of the leftover dough there and dabbing it with a bit of water on your finger – rather like cauking.)
Prick the bottom with a fork so that it doesn’t bubble up as it bakes. Place in the fridge for about 20 minutes before baking. Bake for 20 – 25 minutes. It should look and feel fairly dry. If you take it out and find that the bottom is still moist, pop it back in the oven for another 5 minutes.
Now raise the temperature of the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit as you prepare the filling.
- 5 cups mixed frozen berries (defrosted and drained)
- 1/2 – 2/3 cup coconut sugar (Sucanat or organic cane sugar)
- 3 Tablespoons to 1/4 cup arrowroot, tapioca flour/starch, or gluten-free cornstarch (the amount you use will depend on how juicy the fruit still is)
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Mix the filling ingredients together and spoon into pre-baked crust.
Remove the second half of the dough from the fridge and allow it to soften a bit. Then repeat what you did with the first half. Rolling it thinner (1/8″) gives you a crisper, cookie-like leaf or lattice.
Top your pie with decorative leaves, lattice, or your own design. If you find the dough is becoming too soft or difficult to work with, put it back in the fridge to chill for a bit. If the pieces crack or fall apart, moisten your finger and smooth them.
When you’re finished with your design, lightly brush the top with oil, melted butter/vegan butter, milk (your choice), or an egg wash, and sprinkle with sugar. This will give it a glistening, sparkly appearance.
You can make an egg wash by mixing 1 egg or the egg white or the egg yolk from one egg, whisked with 1 teaspoon water. It helps to brown the top of the pie.
Bake for approximately 30 – 35 minutes – or until berries are bubbling and the top crust has fully baked and remove pie to cool on a rack.
* To hurry the chilling process, measure the 1 cup of coconut oil, shortening, and/or butter and pop it into the freezer for 15 minutes.
** A chia or flax egg works very well in this pie crust. Simply measure 1 Tablespoon chia seed or ground flax seed and add 3 Tablespoons hot water. Stir and allow to set until it forms a thick gel.
*** If you have a sensitivity to the gums you may eliminate them. It will affect the texture and what I like to call the ‘workability’ of the dough slightly, but not the flavor.