Friday, August 24, 2012

Sweet Pie Crust

Pie crusts, love them or hate them, they're an important part of baking. Every October we go to the pumpkin patch with the girls, grandparents, aunts, uncles & friends. It's a yearly tradition that Tink talks about for weeks. Not only do we pick pumpkins, but we buy more apples than we can find a place to store. Some for eating, some for making crockpot applesauce (don't worry, I'll post that recipe eventually), some for apple crisps & a ton for apple pie. My mom loves apple pie. I made it for her birthday last year & I always make sure to make plenty for her to take home. After Tink had been gluten free for almost a year, she asked for a pie. She'd never had one before, but had seen them places. "Make one I can have, please?!" I found various recipes online, but they were disasters. The dough wouldn't roll, it stuck to everything, it tasted off. Finally, I had success with a version of the recipe below, but while the technique was good, it didn't quite make enough dough & the texture was off. There was so much xanthan gum in the crust that it was gummy. I tweaked it more & more, adding an egg white for structure & eliminating a bunch of xanthan gum. I tried different flours & starches, cut back in the sugar. Eventually it tasted good, had a good texture & I could successfully roll it out. If I want to make a savory pie crust, I just eliminate the vanilla & sugar. It works well for a chicken pot pie. Tink's favorite treat is to roll out any left over scraps, sprinkle with cinnamon sugar, roll it up, cut into slices & bake until golden. And as a rule, my pie crusts generally look terrible. Usually if I get a pretty one, I forget to take a picture. As long as it tastes good, right?

pie crust 
Sweet Pie Crust

1 2/3 cups gluten free flour blend
1/3 cup cornstarch
2 tsp xanthan gum
1/8 cup sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup cold butter, cubed
1 egg
1 egg white
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
Cold water, as needed

Mix flour, cornstarch, salt, sugar and xanthan gum. Cut in butter using pastry cutter or knives until mixture contains pea sized lumps. Add eggs & vanilla. Mix with hands until ball forms. If dough appears dry, ass cold water as needed. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate 15 minutes or until needed. To roll dough, lay down a sheet of plastic wrap or parchment paper. Sprinkle with cornstarch. Split dough in half. Pat into circle, sprinkle with cornstarch & cover with another sheet of wrap or paper. Begin rolling, lifting plastic wrap to prevent sticking. Peel off top layer of plastic wrap and gently invert pie plate over dough. Flip dough & pie plate over and carefully peel off plastic wrap. For top layer, repeat rolling technique, but after removing top layer of plastic wrap, gently dust dough with cornstarch. Fold dough in half and carefully transfer to pie plate. Gently unfold crust. Brush with egg wash & bake.

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