Making a gluten-free pie can be a challenge to home cooks who have just made the switch to the gluten-free diet. That’s because the perfect pie crust has certain characteristics that is just not that easy to replicate if made with gluten-free ingredients. If done incorrectly, a pie crust with gluten-free ingredients won’t be as flaky – and many of us judge a pie by its flakiness. It won’t be as sturdy, either; it would be too delicate, prone to burning and break easily.
It is nonetheless possible to make a perfect pie using gluten-free ingredients. It will take you a lot of practice, that’s for sure. But no matter how challenging making a gluten-free pie is, it shouldn’t intimidate you. You can become a master of making gluten-free masterpiece.
How to Make a Gluten-Free Pie Crust
So, how do you make a gluten-free pie crust that will compare well even with the most perfect of pie crusts made with gluten? There are a number of techniques you can follow that will give you a great-looking gluten-free crust that will just be as amazing as regular pie crust.
First of all, use only the best ingredients for your crust, especially the flour. A lot of the so-called gluten-free all-purpose flour available out there will give you a crust that tastes like cardboard. Make sure that your gluten-free flour is pastry quality. If you’re not so sure about how good the gluten-free flour available in your local supermarket is, you can try creating your own flour blend.
Here is a recipe for a gluten-free flour blend from Carol Kicinski of the Simply Gluten-Free blog. It calls for whisking together 3/4 cup super fine white rice flour with 1/4 cup sweet rice flour, 1/4 cup potato starch, 1/4 cup Asian tapioca starch and 1 teaspoon xanthan gum until these ingredients are fully combined.
Second, make sure your pie crust ingredients are cold. To make the job of creating a pie crust out of cold ingredients a lot easier, you need to use a food processor. Using a food processor to create your dough will also give you a flakier crust.
Third, let your dough rest for at least one hour before you roll it so that the moisture can spread evenly through the dough. Speaking of moisture, you need to be careful not to pour too much water in it when you make your dough. Otherwise, you will end up with a tough-crusted pie.
Lastly, be gentle when rolling your dough. Remember that your dough doesn’t have gluten, so it won’t be as sticky and it would be quite fragile. Before you roll your dough, dust it with a coat of gluten-free flour. And then, set your dough in between two flour-dusted sheets of wax paper. Then, you start rolling your dough gently.
Check out these instructions for how to make a gluten-free pie crust on the For Dummies website.
Keeping Your Pie Gluten-Free
Here’s another very important tip that you need to keep in mind when you’re making your gluten-free pie: Avoid cross-contaminating it with other ingredients that may contain gluten. When you’ve become an expert in gluten-free cooking, you’d know which ingredients may have gluten and would be able to stay away from them. But while you’re still new to the gluten-free diet, it can be a challenge to know which products contain gluten and which ones don’t. You may end up contaminating your supposedly gluten-free food, not just your gluten-free pie filling and crust, with gluten if you’re not careful.
To avoid cross-contamination, make sure you’ve got your pie ingredients ready before you even start working on your pie. In culinary parlance, it’s called the mise en place. Measuring out and setting up your ingredients and tools as the mise en place requires will ensure that you’ve got everything you need. It will save you time as well, and keep you from accidentally using ingredients that will ruin your pie, including gluten.
More importantly, always keep your workplace clean. Doing so will keep your food not just free of gluten but also safe to eat.
The Classic Gluten-Free Apple Pie
Once you’ve learned the basics of making a gluten-free crust and how to keep your gluten-free filling really gluten-free, you shouldn’t feel intimidated with making pie without gluten anymore. And really, with so many gluten-free pie recipes available out there, you can play with whatever ingredients and flavors you want.
And what better way to apply your new knowledge of making gluten-free pie than putting a gluten-free twist to the classic apple pie? Here’s a great gluten-free apple pie recipe I found on Celiac.com.
Ingredients for the pie crust:
1 1/4 cups gluten-free multipurpose flour (or make your own flour blend as described earlier)
1 tbsp sugar (or your preferred sugar substitute)
6 tbsp cold butter
1/2 tsp xanthan gum
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp lemon juice or vinegar
1 large egg
Ingredients for the filling:
6 medium-sized apples, peeled and sliced thinly
2 tbsp gluten-free multipurpose flour (or your very own flour blend)
1 tbsp lemon juice
3/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp kosher salt
3/4 cup sugar (or your preferred sugar substitute)
Preheat your oven to 425°F. Make your pie crust and put it in an ungreased glass pie plate. Make sure you press it firmly against the bottom and the side. Mix the ingredients for your filling and gently pour it over your pie crust. Cover the filling with your top crust and wrap its edges under the edges of the bottom crust. Seal these edges together and flute them. Cut v-shaped slits in several places on your top crust. Bake your pie for around 15 minutes, and then wrap the edges of the crust with strips of foil to keep them from burning. Then, bake your pie for another 30 minutes or until the crust is golden, the filling is bubbly and the apples tender. Take your pie out of your oven and leave it to cool on your cooling rack for at least two hours.
Making a gluten-free pie can be a challenge, especially when you’re still new to gluten-free cooking. But don’t let it intimidate you. You can bake your gluten-free pie and eat it, too.