With the holidays around the corner, and pumpkin in the larder, it’s pie season. Wait! Maybe it’s always “Pie Season”.
January – brrr, cold: frozen “Grasshopper” pie with GF “Oreo” Crust.
February – something red: Cherry Pie.
March – cloudy with a chance of rain or snow; citrus season in Florida: Meringue Pies.
April – Patriot’s Day/Boston Marathon: Boston Cream Pie.
May – early times in the garden: Rhubarb Pie.
June – strawberries in the markets: Strawberry Pie.
July – blueberries ripening in the fields: Blueberry Pie.
August – ditto for the blackberries and raspberries: more fruit pie.
September – stone fruit beginning to ripen: peach and pear pies
October – pick-your-own orchards are open: Apple Pie.
November – Thanksgiving: Pumpkin and Mince Pie.
December – something decadent for the holidays: Chocolate Silk Pie.
This rich, “short” crust is easy and delicious. The only tricky part is rolling and transferring the dough as one would conventional wheat dough. Gluten-free flours lack the elasticity that helps prevent breaking and tearing, so GF crust will require extra care and patience. The finished product is worth it, especially if you give yourself permission to forgo a pie plate and use the dough to make informal fruit or vegetable tarts.
Gluten Free Pie Crust (Enough for a 9” two crust pie, or 4 Rustic Fruit Tarts)
2 ½ cups (15 oz.) GF Flour Mix (set aside 1 cup in a small bowl) plus an additional 1/2 cup for kneading.
1 tablespoon sugar (2, if you’re using the crust for a dessert pie)
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon xantham gum
12 tablespoons COLD unsalted butter (out of the freezer is fine.)
¼ cup (2 oz.) vegetable shortening (I use Crisco – channel Julia Child: “Everything in moderation.”)
2 tablespoons iced water
2 tablespoons vodka (better if it’s cold, but don’t worry if yours is room temp – this will evaporate during the baking process, resulting in a flakier crust.)
- Measure 1 ½ cups GF flour mix into the bowl of a food processor.
- Add the sugar, salt and xantham gum. Pulse to blend.
- Add the butter and shortening and blend until it’s the consistency of corn meal, perhaps a little “clumpier.”
- Add the reserved 1cup of GF flour and pulse to blend.
- Sprinkle the vodka and water over the flour mix and mix just until the a dough is formed that pulls from the sides of the “bowl.”
- Turn the dough out onto a GF floured surface and knead several times to incorporate enough flour so the dough is easily handled.
- Divide in quarters, pat into disks, wrap in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least an hour. (The dough will keep refrigerated up to three days. It can be frozen for up to two months.)
- Preheat the oven to 350 F. Have ready a 9″ pie plate.
- Unwrap the disk and place between 2 sheets of plastic wrap. Roll the dough out to a circle slightly larger than the circumference of the pie plate. Remove the top sheet of plastic wrap, place the pie plate next to the pastry circle and gently guide the dough into place in the pie plate, repairing holes and tears as necessary.
- Refrigerate for 15-20 minutes prior to baking to let the dough “rest.” This will help it maintain it’s shape.
Continue as you would with conventional crust, but it’s always helpful to pre-bake the bottom of a GF crust prior to filling to help prevent it absorbing moisture from the (fruit or custard.) 15-20 minutes at 350 F should do it.