Pie is a staple. I could give up anything wheat-based but pie. Well, croissants were a close second but they’re just not the same so I’ve all but forgotten about them. Here’s a round-up of my favorite pie-crust options:
1. The cookie-crumb “cheat”
Take your favorite GF cookies and throw them in the food processor (~1 1/2 cups of crumbs should do, add more if needed). Toss in half a stick of soft butter (add more if needed). Mix well. Press out by hand into a pie pan. Work hard to get it thin or let it be thick and make a little extra to get full coverage. Note: this is an excellent option for cheese cake, key lime pies and I would even try it with a pumpkin pie! My favorite cookies to use are blondies, ginger snaps and graham crackers.
2. The nut case
Use crushed nuts and some butter to form a crust. These recipes abound online and I’m sure we’ve all tried them. Yummy but very nutty. I’m kinda over it.
3. The prepared case
Some frozen gluten free pie crusts are EXCELLENT! I’ve found some of the mixes or complex recipes to be terrible– gooey, tasteless or worse. Whole Foods Market makes the best gluten-free pie crust I’ve found, although they don’t keep a large volume stock so you should buy ahead of time and keep some on hand in your freezer. The brand Gillian’s (no relation) seems to make a good pie crust as well and are more widely found. I’ve seen them at Healthy Living and City Market in Burlington. I should also note that never in my life before going gluten-free could I imagine that a frozen crust could rival anything I might make my self but these ones do rival any homemade pie crust I’ve had so far (but I’m still searching).
4. Made with love
This is the best gluten free pie crust I have made by hand but it is a labor of love. It calls for King Arthur’s gluten-free flour, which is widely found at almost any grocery store (locally I’ve found it at Hannaford’s). It requires pre-baking before adding the filling, hence why I see the labor investment as being a bit intensive. It’s a slightly sweeter crust, whereas my preference is typically a quite neutral crust. That said, I was fighting off the gluten-heavy folks to save a slice or two for left-overs. A big winner with all.
5. The experimental crust
This year I’m going out on a limb… I may make 2-3 pies but one of them will be an attempt to use my mom’s crust recipe with gluten-free flour. I’ve put it off for years, fearing failure. I’ve come to love and trust both Pamela’s and King Arthur’s GF flour mixes and believe I can substitute them 1-for-1 with the regular flour. At least that’s my hope. I’ll let you know how it goes. This is the simplest, most reliable crust recipe I’ve ever seen so if it works I will be baking pies much more often!
In a food processor, pulse 1 and 1/3 cups flour (gf blend) with 2-3 pinches of salt. Use 1 stick of frozen butter, cutting in thin slices and adding to the food processor while its on. Once the butter is incorporated, slowly pour in 1/3 cup of very cold water– it might take even less water than this. Stop adding water when the dough begins to stick. Its ready when it forms a ball. Turn the processor off and divide the dough in half– each half can be rolled out for 1 pie crust, so you can get two pumpkin pies out of this. Do not roll the dough out and try to bunch it together and re-roll, it will fall apart. Roll out once and be done with it. Fill with ingredients and bake as normal.