Gluten-Free Pie Crust

November 28, 2011

Gluten-Free Pie Crust

I put it together by ounces (or grams), not by carefully scooping and leveling off with a knife. It’s so much more precise this way. When I give a recipe in cups, you might substitute brown rice flour for sorghum. Did you know that brown rice flour weighs more than sorghum? (158 grams to 127 grams.) Your pie crust will be denser than mine. You’ll blame the recipe.

That’s why the recipe you’ll see below gives the measurement in ounces for each flour. If you’re going to substitute flours, just use the same amount of ounces. That way, you can adapt this recipe, easily. Whatever combination of flours you use (or even a mix, which is fine!), just make sure you sift in a total of 16 ounces. You won’t have exactly the same pie, but you’ll have some mighty fine pie.

This is the recipe for pie crust. Once you have the dough ready to go, you can use this for any kind of pie you want to make: pecan,buttermilk, coconut cream, shoo-fly or pumpkin. As for the filling on your pie? Your favorite recipe will work. The ingredients for the filling should not contain any gluten.
1 1/4 cup (5 ounces) almond flour (this is not the same as almond meal)

1/4 teaspoon guar gum
2/3 cup (2 ounces) gluten-free oat flour

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
2/3 cup (2 ounces) tapioca flour

5 tablespoons butter, cold
1/2 cup (2 ounces) teff flour

4 tablespoons leaf lard, cold (see note below)
1/2 cup (3 ounces) potato starch

1 large egg
1/4 cup (2 ounces) sweet rice flour

6 to 8 tablespoons ice-cold water
2 teaspoons xanthan gum

Makes 1 pie shell
1 Mixing the dry ingredients: In a large bowl, mix the almond flour, oat flour, tapioca flour, teff flour, and potato starch. I use a whisk here, and slow down as I mix them, repeatedly, until they have become one flour. Add the xanthan and guar gums and the salt. Mix well.
2 Adding the fats: Add small pieces of the ice-cold butter to the flour mixture, not much bigger than a pea. (Or, if you’d like , freeze your butter beforehand, then grate the frozen butter into the flours. Move quickly.) Afterward, add the leaf lard in small portions, of equal size.
3 Making the sandy dough: Use your hands to scoop up the flours and mix in the fats. Go slowly. Rub your hands together. Feel the fats work into the flours with your fingers. I like to lift and rub, scoop and let them all fall through my fingers. You’ll know when you are done. You’ll feel done. The flours will look sandy now.
4 Finishing the dough: Combine the egg with 3 tablespoons of the water and whisk them together. Here’s where you can go two ways. If you want to do everything by hand, then do so. Add the eggy water to the dough. Work the dough together with your hands, or a rubber spatula, or whatever feels right. When the dough feels coherent, stop.
5 Or, you can do what I have reluctantly realized makes gluten-free pie dough even better than making it by hand: finish it in the food processor. Move the sandy dough to the food processor and turn it on. As the dough is running around and around, drizzle in the eggy water. Stop to feel the dough. If it still feels dry and not quite there, then drizzle in a bit more water. If you go too far, and the dough begins to feel sticky or wet, sprinkle in a bit of potato starch to dry it out. Again, after you make pies for awhile, you’ll know this by feel alone.
6 Making the crust: Wrap the pie dough in plastic wrap (or in a bowl) and let it rest in the refrigerator for 15 minutes or so. Take it out and roll out the dough between two pieces of parchment paper. This means you won’t work any extra flour into the dough. Roll it out as thin as you can. Thinner. Thinner. Come on, you can do it — thinner still. Carefully, lift the top piece of parchment paper and turn the dough upside down on the top of a pie plate. Rearrange until it is flat.
7 If the dough breaks, don’t despair. Simply lift pieces of the dough off the counter and meld it with the rest of the dough. Remember, there’s no gluten, so you can’t overwork the dough. Play with it, like you’re a kid again. Place the pie dough in the pie plate and crimp. When you have a pie dough fully built, you are ready to make pie.