Delicious flaky gluten-free, sugar-free pie crust is not only possible. It’s simple. Really simple. Not because I am a genius in the kitchen but because I found a great recipe, adapted it (barely), then made this fabulous apple tart.
One thing I’ve learned about gluten-free, sugar-free baking is to do new things in steps. This makes trouble shooting a breeze because I can perfect each part as I go. It takes patience and time but in the end it saves tons of money and results in less gray hairs.
So, first I practiced the crust. It turned out beautifully the first time. In fact, it was so good that we just ate it plain. I will confess that my Grandma Ruth taught me how to make a good pie crust when I was just waist-high so this wasn’t my first go-round. If you’re a newbie pie crust maker, I’ll give you a few tips:
- The key to flaky pie crust is to use cold butter and make sure the crust is cold when it goes into the oven. The cold butter creates steam when it hits the hot oven, which creates the flaky texture.
- Gluten-free crusts get gummy when they get a little warm so be patient and put it back in refrigerator for 10 minutes or so.
- Don’t overmix or overknead your dough. It can get tough.
- I roll my dough out between two sheets of waxed paper. It works just as well as parchment and, honestly, it’s much more price effective. As you roll the dough out, the paper gets wrinkles in it. No big deal – just lift the paper off, put it back down, and start rolling again.
- To keep the waxed paper from moving all over the counter, I cut it extra long and leave some hanging over the edge of the counter and then lean up against the waxed paper. I might look silly but it works like a charm every time.
- Don’t add too much water to the dough. You want it to stick together just enough. It will look “shaggy.” That’s the perfect consistency.
- Preheat the oven well in advance. I let my oven hang out at the desired temperature for 15 or 20 minutes before putting anything in it.
- There are 3 types of pie crust makers: the ‘make it by hand’ type, the ‘food processor’ type, and the ‘stand-mixer’ type. I fall into the latter category and my recipe is written accordingly. You’ll have to figure out what works best for you, however making a gluten-free pie crust by hand just seems torturous to me.
The tart idea was adapted from my favorite – Ina Garten. I am slightly ashamed to admit that I ate two pieces when it came out of the oven. Joe and I had it for dessert that night, too, and we both went back for seconds. Enough said.
Reminder: Slightly Indulgent Mondays will be up on Sunday at 9 pm CST and there will be another great give-away. Make sure to come back and link up your fabulous food made a little healthier!
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Update 10/21/09 – This blog post has been submitted to The Gluten-Free Lifestyle Blog Carnival, hosted in November by Sustaining Health Holistically.
What are your best baking tips? Let’s talk about it.
Serves: 6 - 8 servings
- 1 recipe flaky pie crust (below)
- 2 – 3 Granny Smith Apples, depending on the size
- juice of ½ lemon
- 1 – 2 tablespoons agave nectar
- ¼ teaspoon good quality cinnamon
- 2 tablespoons cold, unsalted butter diced in small pieces
- ¼ cup all-fruit apricot preserves
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
- Make pie crust according to recipe. Roll out the crust into a 8 x 10 rectangle between two sheets of waxed paper. Use a kitchen ruler and a chef’s knife to trim the edges neatly. If the dough is too soft to remove the cut edges, put it back in the refrigerator for 10 minutes or so.
- Now comes the fun part. Spray a baking sheet with cooking spray. Rip off a piece of parchment paper that will cover the baking spray. Remove the top piece of waxed paper. Place the parchment paper on top of the dough. Turn the dough over and place on the prepared baking sheet with the parchment paper on the baking sheet. Remove the top piece of waxed paper. Smile. You just made the perfect gluten-free crust. Put the dough back in the refrigerator while you get the apples ready.
- Fill a medium bowl with cold ice water and mix in the lemon juice. This will keep your apples from browning. Peel your apples and put them in the water. Cut them in half, use your knife to cut out the stem and seeds, then use a melon baller to remove any remaining seeds if necessary. Slice ¼ inch thick. Keep the apples in the water until you’re ready to use them.
- Place the apples diagonally on the pie crust, overlapping them slightly, starting with the longest length. Work your way out in rows and fill in empty spots with a piece of apple cut to fit. Warm agave in microwave for 15 – 20 seconds and brush over the apples. Sprinkle with cinnamon – you don’t need to use it all. Dot with butter, and then bake for 25 – 30 minutes rotating at the 15 minute mark. The apples should be browned in spots and the edges of the tart will be brown too. Don’t worry if the juices run and brown around the tart. This is ok.
- Mix apricot preserves with 2 tablespoons of water and heat in microwave for 20 seconds. Brush over entire tart and return to oven for another 5 to 8 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool. Gently slide onto a large cutting board and slice into desired size. Serve warm or at room temperate.
Serves: 1 single pie crust
- 1 cup white rice flour
- ½ sorghum flour
- ½ cup potato starch
- 3 tablespoons sweet rice flour
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 8 tablespooons cold butter
- ¼ cup ice-cold water, or just enough to make the dough stick together
- 1 cold extra large egg
- 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- 1 tablespoon agave
- Sift together white rice flour, sorghum flour, potato starch, sweet rice flour, and salt. Place into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Working quickly, dice the butter into small pieces and place it evenly around the flour. Turn the mixer on stir until the flour has a mealy texture and the butter has worked itself into chunks about the size of small peas.
- Put ¼ cup water in a 1 cup glass measuring cup and add ice. Set aside.
- Lightly beat the egg. Add the vinegar and agave to the egg and mix well. Pour egg mix into the flour with the mixer on and stir just until incorporated.
- With mixer on stir, drizzle water into flour mixture just until the dough starts to come together. You can push the dough together with your hands, so don’t worry about loose pieces. It needs to be just wet enough to stick together.
- Turn dough out onto a piece of waxed paper. Depending on what you’re going to make, shape the dough accordingly. If you’re going to make a pie crust, shape the dough into a ball. If you’re going to make a rectangle tart, then shape it into a rectangle. Wrap in waxed paper, then again in saran wrap, and place in the refrigerator for several hours or up to one day.
- Remove dough from refrigerator about 20 minutes before you want to roll it out. Place between two sheets of waxed paper and roll into desired shape and about ⅛ inch thick. If your dough cracks around the edges, just take a wet finger and repair the crack.