Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Gluten Free Pie Crust

Pumpkin pie with Gluten Free Pie Crust

This is not my most timely post, which sadly seems to be an emerging theme around here.  I'll have to work on that.  Meanwhile, I'm still in time for Christmas pies.  For now I will post the version I used for Thanksgiving which involves Bob's Red Mill Gluten Free All Purpose Baking Flour, hopefully for Christmas I'll be able to reinvent the recipe with my own mix of flours.  I'll post that one when I get it worked out.  I do have to say this one was pretty easy, it doesn't hurt that we were at my parent's house who live about 30 miles from Bob's Red Mill and have a huge tub of the GF AP Flour in the house at all times.  I went a little nuts while we were there trying to bake all sorts of things and take advantage of the flour on hand.

The pie crust was one of my trials during our Thanksgiving visit, the big step forward for me came from blind baking the crust.  Something I've heard a lot about but had not yet tried.  It seemed like something to try since every other time I had baked a pumpkin pie in a raw crust the crust was all gummy and under baked.  Blind baking means pre-cooking the pie shell by it self in the oven, but in order to prevent it from puffing into a giant cloud you have to weigh it down with something.  We used some dried beans that mom had found in the pantry from goodness knows how long ago, and would not be using for anything in the future.  You can buy fancy beads and stuff for blind baking, but I figured we would use what was on hand, I've even heard of people using pennies.  I suppose any item would work.

One thing about this recipe that makes me very happy is that the original comes from a cookbook that has been in the family for 3 generations.  It's just an old Betty Crocker Cookbook, but it's a recipe I used to make for my family when I was in High School  and College, but haven't really used since.  I really loved being able to go back and convert this recipe over, it felt like I had come full circle with the process.  Another important point was that it came out delicious!  Flaky, dry, and not at all sweet, the way a perfect pie crust should be.

Gluten Free Pie Crust

1   Cup Bob's Red Mill Gluten Free All Purpose Baking Flour
1/2 tsp Salt
1/2 tsp Xanthan Gum
1/3 Cup Butter
2   Tbs Water

Mix Flour, Salt, and Xanthan Gum in a medium mixing bowl.  Cut Butter into small pieces, and using a pastry cutter or fork, blend into dry ingredients until mixture resembles pea gravel.  Add in Water, and begin to blend by hand until a ball of dough forms.  Wrap dough in plastic wrap and place in fridge for 1 hour.
Prep rolling mat, rolling pin, extra flour, pie pan, piece of foil for blind baking, and beans (or other item to weight down crust during blind bake).
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees (F).  Remove dough from wrap onto a lightly floured surface, and begin to roll out.  Work quickly to prevent butter from warming causing the dough to tear.  After a few rolls, flip the dough and re-flour the surface, and repeat until the dough is large enough to fill a 9 inch pie pan.  Now comes the tricky part, transferring the crust to the pan (I still struggle with this), I usually manage to turn the whole rolling mat over the pie pan sometimes I use a spatula to loosen the crust and let it drop onto the pan.  From there gently move it into the pan and trim the crust.  Place a sheet of foil or parchment paper (trimmed to fit) over the crust in the pan, and gently place a single layer of beans, pie weights, or pennies.  Bake for 12 minutes and remove from oven and set aside.
Make desired filling.  Carefully remove the foil and weighted item from pie crust and place on an insulated surface (so as not to melt your counter).   Pour filling into the crust, and bake according to the filling's instructions.