Monday, November 24, 2014

Gluten Free Pie Crust

It is night and my shadow is cast on the front crust.  

Holidays are coming and I don't have to live without cake and pies any longer! I haven't finished experimenting with the cake yet but I have reached an "I got it!" on the pie crust.

Since I had to become gluten free, I had given up on even trying several techniques that I had learned at ECU in Family and Comsumer Science.  Back then (not saying when), it was referred to as a BS in Home Economics. I could roll out a perfect pie crust but that pie crust was an art of wonderful gluten.  Gluten is the substance that helps made the dough pliable and hold together.

Oh, how I missed making pecan chocolate pie, savory chicken pot pie, quiche with a crust, fresh strawberry pie, chocolate chess pie, and variations of pumpkin pie. All that has changed since I spent a weekend trying out different gluten free pie crust recipes.  I wouldn't ordinally spend that short time developing a recipe, but Thanksgiving and Christmas are coming up and I will not be spending another holiday watching other people eat my favorite dishes, which I can't eat.

The Kitchen Laboratory - Experimenting with Pie Crust Recipes

The first recipe I tried was a pie crust using amaranth flour and it was pretty bad. If I had checked the reviews first, I would have not tried it. The crust actually makes a cracking sound when it breaks. The earthy taste is much too strong. My daughter said it tasted like earth worms -- that is pretty earthy, but how would she know the taste of earth worms. Hmmmm.

Next came a gluten free pie crust recipe from Martha Stewart. Some reviewers stated that the butter in the pie crust ran out of the pie pan.  Mine didn't do that but the butter pooled in the middle of the pie pan as the sides of the crust oozed down to the bottom of the pie pan. About half the reviewers had problems with the recipe. I'm not absolutely sure but I believe it has to do with the flour blend used. The recipe doesn't state the flour blend used but most of the gluten free recipes used on Martha's site use Cup4Cup, and that is rice flour based. Since this recipe won't work with my flour blend, I didn't save the recipe. Reviewers ( evidently using rice flour)  have given raving reviews for the recipe. If you use rice flour, you might want to give it a try.

Another pie crust recipe I tried was from the site Simply Gluten Free.  This recipe for pie crust gave me reason to tread on. The sight sells a gluten free flour which is mostly rice flour. I am not a rice flour user. I tried the recipe with with my own flour blend and it worked.  The pie crust was flaky. I would consider using it again. I did use a food processor to make this recipe.  It is a quick, easy and tasty recipe.  If you don't need a sweet dough, leave off the sugar but if using a rice flour, it will help the pie crust brown.

I thought I had finally found a good pie crust dough at Simply Gluten Free. I cleaned up the kitchen and thought I was finished. Then, why I'm not sure, I wouldn't give up with the idea I need the perfect gluten free pie crust.  I found a pie crust recipe at Bob's Red Mill site. It had 78 - that's right - 78 positive reviews for the recipe. The flour blend suggested for use in the recipe had no rice. So I had planned to wait until morning, go to Big Lots and get the Bob's Red Mill Gluten Free All Purpose Baking Flour, as suggested for the recipe.

Since the blend had no rice and my blend was a little similar to Bob's Red Mill, I went back to the kitchen at 9:00 PM and started the recipe. Oh, my gosh, it worked out perfectly! It was so easy to make and it was tasty and flaky. It tasted very simular to the recipe from Simply Gluten Free but it was easier. I didn't use the processor because I had just cleaned it and I didn't want to clean it again at 9:30 PM. A processor, though, can be used to quicky make the dough. It took no time at all to blend the flour and butter with a pastry cutter and roll it out on floured wax paper.

I had been rolling out the doughs on parchment paper but I found it easier to roll on wax paper.  The wax paper doesn't seem to absorb as much moisture and peels off easier. Still needs to be rolled with lots of gluten free flour. Am I a happy baker? :-D

I have include the flour blend I used in the pie crust. I developed this blend by reading this site of Gluten Free Girl. I used the 70% whole grains and 30% starch rule. I chose not to use the rice flour because of the arsenic and rice flour's high glycemic index. The recipe for the flour blend can be found at the bottom of the post. If you choose not to use my blend, I am not offended.  Get the Bob's Red Mill GF All Purpose Baking Flour. It can be used for most all baking.

I won't copy the recipe on this post because you can go to the site to get Bob's Red Mill pie crust recipe by Nancy Sackman.  In my photos, you notice that the pie crust looks darker than the photo at Bob's Red Mill site. The reason for the color differences is in the flour blend. The Gluten Free All Purpose Baking Flour from Bob's Red mill is bean flour based and mine is whole grained based, which makes a darker dough.  Both are high in protein.

Making the Pie Crust

I went one step further and made a cheddar cheese crust. I added twice the amount of shredded cheddar cheese as compare to the butter.  I then cut both the cheddar cheese and butter into the flour, salt, and a tad of sugar. Next time I make it I'm going to try using extra sharp cheddar cheese. There is only a hint of cheddar cheese taste with sharp cheese. I think that adding more cheese will only make the dough more oily and the extra sharp will help with the flavor.

The orange color is from the cheddar cheese.

Pour the ice water, one tablespoon at a time, into the flour mixture and toss with a fork until the dough will hold together. Be careful not to add too much water; it will become too sticky. Spoon all the dough into a zippered bag. (Gluten free dough does not come together as easily as gluten dough). Once the dough is in the bag, it is much easier to form the dough into a disk inside the bag. Place the bag in the refrigerator for at least one hour.  (It can stay refrigerated up to three days). It needs refrigerated time for the moisture to distribute throughout the dough. It takes gluten free dough more time to for the moisture to be absorbed than gluten dough. Before rolling the dough let it sit out of the fridge for 10 minutes to come to room temperature.

Sometimes it appears as if the dough won't come together.
Just coax it gently and it will if it has enough liquid.
This dough surprisingly rolls out beautifully. The dough needs a lot of gluten free flour between the layers of wax paper. Place the flour on the first layer of wax paper and lightly move the dough disk over the flour.  Lightly dust the top of the disk and place another piece of wax paper on the disk.  Roll the dough from the center of disk out to edge, turning the paper 1/4 turn after rolling. Repeat rolling and turning until the dough is rolled half the size you want it. Flip the paper and slightly peel the paper away from the dough. If needed, lightly dust the dough with flour by rubbing your hand in the flour and then lightly rubbing the dough. Finish rolling out the dough from center to edge of paper until dough is about 1/8-in thick and the size you want it.

Wax paper is pulled back.  Flour hand and rub on dough and 
cover with the wax paper again.  Continue rolling dough.

After rolling, peel the top paper off the dough. Turn the dough over on top of the pie pan and gently pull the paper (which was the bottom paper) off the dough.  Gently help the dough fall into the pie pan and gently push the dough into the bottom of pie pan.  Press gently into the sides. If using a regular pie tin, cut the dough 1/2-in to 1-in from the side and roll the dough under to make a decorative edge. This site and this site show how to make several different, beautiful decorative edges.

Sometimes the dough may tear. It can be mended by pressing the
dough back together carefully. The dough is very forgiving.
After rolling out the dough for the first two mini pie pans, there was dough left over.  Not wanting to throw out the dough, I pressed the dough into a third pan.  Imagine -- the dough can be pressed into the pie pans.  When pressing the dough in the pan, the dough is not as smooth and uniform as the rolled crust, but it can be done.

The dough in the front mini pan has been pressed into the pan rather than rolled.

I am so glad that I finally got the courage to make pie dough again.  It wasn't as difficult as I imagined it to be.  I thought a gluten free pie crust would be impossible -- but it isn't.  This pie dough is high in protein, whether using the 70% Whole Grain flour blend or Bob's Red Mill Gluten Free All Purpose Baking Flour.

Don't or can't use grains? Then try this recipe at Elana's Pantry paleo piecrust or this site that has 10 paleo pie crust recipes, stated to be remarkable. I'll try those out -- but that is for another day. I'll post here when I give them a try.


Linda's 70% Whole Grain Flour Blend (notice the cup amounts - another
reason for measuring with a scale)

70% Whole Grain Flour Blend GF


200 g oat flour (1 2/3 c)          (Of oat, millet & quinoa, can use 350 g of one)
50 g millet flour (1/2 c)                        
100 g quinoa flour (1c)
100 g sorghum flour (3/4 c + 3tb)
50 g bean (fava & northern) (1/2 c)
50 g corn flour (masa harina) (1/4 c + 2tb)
50 g amaranth flour (1/4c + 2tb)
50 g teff flour (1/4c + 2tb)
50 g buckwheat flour (1/4c + 2tb)


100g tapioca flour (3/4 c)
100 g corn starch (3/4c + 3tb)
100 g potato starch (3/4c + 2tb)
One cup of blend = 108-117 grams


"Easy As Pie Crust (Gluten Free)." Bob's Red Mill. N.p., n.d. Web. 14 Jan. 2015.

"How Much Arsenic Is in Your Rice - Consumer Reports." How Much Arsenic Is in Your Rice - Consumer Reports. N.p., n.d. Web. 14 Jan. 2015.

"How to Make a Gluten-free Whole-grain Flour Mix - Gluten Free Girl and the Chef." Gluten Free Girl and the Chef RSS. N.p., 05 Feb. 2013. Web. 14 Jan. 2015.

"The Food Lab: The Science of Pie Dough." The Food Lab: The Science of Pie Dough. N.p., n.d. Web. 14 Jan. 2015.<>

Disclosure statement:  I have not received compensation for any products mentioned or used in this post.

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