Mother Earth Living

Basic Gluten-Free Pie Crust Recipe

This gluten-free pie crust rolls out beautifully and is very pliable.
By Carol Fenster
September 2013
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Photo By Jason Wyche/Courtesy Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

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Gluten-Free 101 explains how to master basic gluten-free cooking techniques, such as baking gluten-free bread or rolling gluten-free pizza dough. It includes 175 simple recipes for everyday favorites like pancakes, pizza, fried chicken, sandwich bread and more. This basic gluten-free pie crust recipe is from the chapter "Desserts."

You can purchase this book from the Mother Earth Living store: Gluten-Free 101.

Basic Gluten-Free Pie Crust Recipe

Gluten-free pie crusts may seem challenging to beginners, but they are not impossible. This one rolls out beautifully and is very pliable. With a little practice, you’ll make pies like a professional baker.

The double-crust version works best with stone fruit fillings like cherries, peaches, or apricots. If you only need a single crust, freeze the remaining half (tightly wrapped) for another pie.

Following this, see all of the different pies you can make with this basic pie crust recipe.

• 1 cup Gluten-Free Flour Blend
• 3/4 cup tapioca flour
• 1/2 cup sweet rice flour
• 1 tablespoon sugar
• 3/4 teaspoon xanthan gum
• 3/4 teaspoon guar gum
• 1/2 teaspoon salt
• 1/2 cup shortening
• 2 tablespoons butter or buttery spread, at room temperature
• 1/2 cup milk of choice
• 1 large egg, beaten with 1 tablespoon water, for egg wash

1. Place the dry ingredients (flour blend through salt), shortening, and butter in a food processor. Process until the mixture resembles large peas. With the motor running, add the milk and process until the dough forms a ball (or large clumps). Remove the lid, break up the clumps with a spatula, and process until a ball forms again. If it doesn’t form a ball, add a tablespoon of water and process again.

2. Flatten the dough to two 1-inch disks, wrap tightly in plastic wrap, and chill for 1 hour so the liquids are well distributed throughout the dough. When ready to bake, arrange oven racks in the bottom and middle positions of the oven. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

3. Massage one of the disks of dough between your hands until it feels the same temperature as your skin and is pliable, which makes it easier to handle. (Keep remaining dough wrapped tightly to avoid drying out.) Roll the dough to a 10-inch circle between two pieces of heavy-duty plastic wrap. (Use a damp paper towel between the countertop and the plastic wrap to prevent slipping.) Move the rolling pin from the center of the dough toward the outer edge, moving around the circle clockwise, to ensure uniform thickness of the pie crust.

4. Remove the top plastic wrap and invert the crust, centering it over a 9-inch nonstick pie pan (gray, not black). Remove the remaining plastic wrap and press the dough into place. If the dough is hard to handle or breaks, press the entire bottom crust in place with your fingers, leaving a 1-inch overhang of dough all the way around the pie pan. For a single-crust pie, proceed to Step 5. For a double-crust pie, add the filling and proceed to Step 6.

5. For a single-crust pie with a no-bake filling: Flute the edges of the dough decoratively. Use fork tines to gently prick a few holes in the bottom of the crust so it bakes evenly. Bake for 15 minutes on the lower oven rack so the bottom of the crust browns. Move the pie to the next highest oven rack and bake for another 10 to 15 minutes, or until the crust is nicely browned. Cover the crust loosely with aluminum foil if the edges brown too much. Cool the crust completely on a wire rack before adding the filling.

6. For a double-crust pie with a baked filling: Massage the remaining disk of dough between your hands until it feels the same temperature as your skin and is pliable. Roll the dough out as directed in Step 3. Invert and center the dough on the filled bottom crust. Don’t remove the top plastic wrap until the pie crust is centered. Shape a decorative edge around the rim of the pie pan (see Tips for Gluten-Free Pie Crust below). Brush the crust with beaten egg for a glossier crust. Prick the top crust several times with a fork to allow steam to escape. Sprinkle with sugar. Place on a nonstick baking sheet. Bake for 15 minutes on the lower oven rack so the bottom crust browns. Move the pie to the next highest oven rack and bake for another 25 to 35 minutes—or until the crust is nicely browned and the filling is bubbling. Cover the pie loosely with aluminum foil if the edges brown too much. Cool the pie completely on a wire rack before cutting.

Tips for Gluten-Free Pie Crust

The method for making gluten-free pie crusts differs in many ways from gluten-containing pie crusts—primarily because handling our dough does not make it tougher, because there is no gluten.

1. Room temperature—rather than cold—butter makes the crust easier to handle and prevents breakage.

2. Breaks and tears can be patched with scraps of dough, or simply press the tear together with your fingers to seal it.

3. Roll the dough to a uniform thickness so that it cooks and browns evenly. This is especially important on the bottom crust and around the rim of the pie crust. Thinner dough heats up and then browns more quickly than thicker dough, so take the time to make the dough uniformly thick throughout the pie. (To see pie crust being made, see Pie Crust 101.)

4. Keep a few pie crusts in the freezer for those days when you are in a hurry. Make an extra batch of dough, shape two pie crusts into pie pans, and freeze, tightly covered. Then you have your own—much less expensive—pie crusts that are ready for filling at a moment’s notice.

Reprinted with permission from the publisher, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt from Gluten-Free 101 by Carol Fenster. Photography by Jason Wyche. Copyright 2013. 

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