The other day I said I was figuring out how to make our Thanksgiving dinner this year gluten free and that I needed to figure out how to make a good gluten free pie crust. Pie is awesome and I can be a pie snob. For me pie has to have a really good crust. It has to be just right. I will tell you right now I am not a huge fan of pre made pie crust. Yes, I have used them and tried them out but I don’t like them. I have always made my own pie crust and this year I wasn’t going to stop. I took to Pinterest and started researching. I think I found about a dozen different gluten free pie crust recipes all claiming to be the best. I then took those and compared them to my tried and true (gluten) pie crust and started experimenting. Experimenting went well and I created a great gluten free pie crust that I am happy to share with you along with one of my favorite holiday pies.
Pie crust is pretty basic to make. It has simple ingredients that turn into something wonderful. We start our crust with gluten free all purpose flour blend. I use store-bought but you can use your own. The brand I use is a mix of white rice and whole-grain (brown) rice flours, tapioca starch, and potato starch. To the flour I add a bit of sugar, salt and xanthan gum.
To the flour mixture I add a half cup of softened but cold butter. I press until it looks like coarse meals being careful to not over mix.
To this I then add a half cup of shortening. Yes, this is a lot of fat. You could use all butter or all shortening. I have heard lard makes wonderful pie crusts too. I have found using a combo of butter and shortening gives my pie crust the best results.
When making pies I prefer to make my crust by hand with a pastry blender. I think it helps things from getting overworked which can easily happen in a food processor. You want your dough to look like “coarse meal” It will just be coming together.
This next step is where I really stray from my regular pie crust recipe. I added a beaten egg. The egg in addition to the xanthan gum act to help the structure of the pie crust. In some pie crust recipes they call for vinegar or lemon juice but in a gluten free crust it is not needed. It is added because acid interferes with the elasticity of the gluten to help make the crust more tender. We don’t have gluten so I skipped it.
Once you have mixed your egg in depending on the consistency of your dough you may need to add some cold water.
You want your dough to just come together. To much much moisture in pie crust is not a good thing. When making this crust I did not need extra water but when I lived in the reset at high altitude I always needed extra water. Have it just in case you need it.
When your dough looks crumbly but when pressed holds together it is perfect. Take your dough and split into 2 flattened balls and either wrap in plastic wrap or place in Ziploc bags and refrigerate 20 or so minutes. This helps your dough develop and gives you a nice cold dough to work with. You want a cold dough because your warm hands will melt the fats that help produce a flaky crust.
When the dough is ready it is time to roll out. I prefer to use either wax or parchment paper that has been sprinkled with rice flour.
Don’t rush, just take your time. Gluten free pie crust is more delicate than regular pie crust. Add rice flour as needed while rolling out.
You will roll out until it spread out and large enough to cover your pie dish. I use simple glass pyrex pie plates.
Once you have your crust rolled out you will then carefully place in your pie plate and carefully peel off any parchment or wax paper. Take your time but if pieces around the edge break off it is easily repairable. Just press them back using cold water if needed. Form your edge in your favorite way. I did a simple pinch edge.
Finally before filling or blind baking refrigerate your crust. Chilling will help your crust keep it’s shape and minimize shrinking. After it is chilled it is ready for blind baking or filling.
I went with a test run of our families favorite Pumpkin Pie, Libby’s Famous Pumpkin Pie.
An important step when baking your pie is to cover the edges of the crust. You can use strips of foil or use pie crust protectors like these ones from Pampered Chef. Just take off the covers or strips when there is about 15 minutes of baking time left to allow the edges to brown up some.
Then there you have it a beautiful gluten free pie crust!
My children devoured their slices of pie and had no idea that it was gluten free.
I can’t wait to make this for my family on Thanksgiving and see what they think. I wonder if they are going to be able to tell the difference.
Try it for yourself and let me know what you think!
- ½ cup butter, softened but cold
- ½ cup shortening
- 2 cups gluten free all purpose flour blend
- 1t xanthan gum
- 1t salt
- 2T sugar
- 1 egg, beaten
- ice cold water as needed
- In a large bowl mix gluten free flour blend, xanthan gum,salt and sugar.
- Cut in butter and shortening with a pastry blender until it looks like coarse meal/crumbly.
- Add in beaten egg and water ass needed until dough starts to come together and can easily form a ball.
- Divide dough and wrap dough "balls" in plastic wrap and chill for 20 minutes.
- Roll out and fit into pie plate.
- Chill before blind baking or filling.