There is a perception, among some, that gluten-free items are, by their nature, “healthy,” and generally not very tasty. I’m here to tell you that in some cases, neither of those things are true. There are so many people who either adhere to a gluten-free diet as preference, or are restricted to one because of serious allergy or illness. With demand so high, there is a necessity to create gluten-free alternatives. The result is that we have a variety of items available, and they aren’t all created equally. Some are delicious, some aren’t. Some are “healthy,” and some aren’t.
Adhering to a gluten-free diet can feel stressful for some. As personal chefs, our job is to take the stress out of planning for restrictive diets- whether it be gluten-free, dairy-free, sugar-free, or whatever! We have a lot of experience in creating delicious dishes that are crave-worthy while still sticking to the diet in question.
One of our regular clients is trying to feed two teenage picky eaters on a gluten-free diet. Like many teenagers we know, hers will eat anything if it’s covered in cheese, and served on bread. My take on this was to create savory pie options for them, specifically, chicken pot-pies and quiches. Crucial to the success of these dishes is a great gluten-free crust. Lucky for me, King Arthur Flour has an amazing recipe! This crust is flaky, buttery, and all the things pie crust should be. It’s not one of those gluten-free alternatives that people try and say, “it’s good…considering it’s gluten-free.” No, this crust rivals many traditional homemade crusts I’ve tried, and it’s MUCH more delicious than most store-bought options, both gluten-free and traditional.
The easiest way to make this crust is with a food processor. The key to a good crust, whether it’s gluten-free or not, is to cut your butter into really small pieces while keeping it as cold as possible. This is pretty hard to do by hand. I have two suggestions: food processor, or cheese grater.
If you have a food processor, you will begin by pulsing the flour, sugar, xanthan gum, Instant ClearJel (I’ve never actually used this ingredient), and salt. Once combined, pulse the butter until the mixture appears crumbly. From there, just whisk the egg and lemon juice together separately until it’s foamy, and pulse that in as well. I have found that I always need to add 2-3 additional tablespoons of water to get the dough to hold together. Gluten-free dough generally does not hold together as well as regular dough. Form your dough into a nice ball, wrap in in plastic wrap, and refrigerate it. It is important to refrigerate the dough for at least one hour before use. You also must let it sit for about 15 minutes after refrigeration before you attempt to roll it out.
If you do not have a food processor, I have another great technique that will work very well. Begin by placing the butter in the freezer the night before. Once you’re ready to begin making the crust, take it out of the freezer. Whisk together the flour, sugar, xanthan gum, and salt. Next, grate your butter using a cheese grater. Just trust me on this one! Add your butter shreds to the flour mixture, and lightly rub it all together using just your fingertips. The mixture should be crumbly. In a separate bowl, whisk the egg and lemon together until foamy. Add it to the flour mixture. Finally, form your dough into a ball, wrap it in plastic wrap, and refrigerate it. If you aren’t able to form the dough into a ball, you will need to add 2-3 tablespoons of water. It is important to refrigerate the dough for at least one hour before use. You also must let it sit for about 15 minutes after refrigeration before you attempt to roll it out.
Now that you have your dough, it’s your choice what to do with it! You can do sweet pies, chicken pot pies, quiches, anything with a flaky crust! From here, do as your pie, quiche, or whatever recipe recommends for baking.
King Arthur Flour Gluten-Free Pie Crust
- 1 1/4 cups King Arthur Gluten-Free Multi-Purpose Flour
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 2 teaspoons Instant ClearJel (optional; not packed in a gluten-free facility)
- 1/2 teaspoons xanthan gum
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 6 tablespoons cold butter
- 1 large egg
- 2 teaspoons lemon juice or vinegar
- Whisk, or pulse together in a food processor, the flour or flour blend, sugar, ClearJel, xanthan gum, and salt.
- Cut the cold butter into pats, then work the pats into the flour mixture till it’s crumbly, with some larger, pea-sized chunks of butter remaining (see above for excellent butter cutting recommendations).
- Whisk the egg and vinegar or lemon juice together till very foamy. Mix into the dry ingredients. Stir until the mixture holds together, adding 1 to 3 additional tablespoons cold water if necessary.
- Shape into a ball and chill for an hour, or up to overnight.
- Allow the dough to rest at room temperature for 10 to 15 minutes before rolling.
- Roll out on a piece of plastic wrap, on a silicone rolling mat, or in a pie bag that’s been heavily sprinkled with gluten-free flour or flour blend.
- Fill and bake as your pie recipe directs.
- Yield: crust for one 9″ single-crust pie.
Original recipe by King Arthur Flour: http://www.kingarthurflour.com/recipes/gluten-free-pie-crust-recipe