UPDATED: It’s 2016! I wrote this post five years ago. I’ve updated it a bit and fixed some busted links. Leave questions in the comments if you have them. Now, on with the show.
As I mentioned in my post about making a good gluten free gravy, one of the keys to finding a recipe that you can trust is finding the common denominators. What seems to come up over and over again in the recipes? When I first heard about ratios for baking and cooking, I pretty much ignored it- that stuff is for fancy cooks and people who make their own recipes. However, the more I think about it, applying mathematical thinking to recipes is pretty spectacular. Finding rules for what works and doesn’t work is pretty novel when you apply it to converting recipes to be gluten free. While I’m hesitant to take the plunge and buy the book or download the app, I’m definitely fascinated by this idea of rules to follow for successful baking.
Thanks to Gluten Free Canteen and Gluten Free Girl, I found the ratio for pie crust: three parts flour to two parts fat to one part liquid. Does it matter that you’re attempting a gluten free recipe? Not in this case. From everything I have found, a pie crust does not need xanthan or guar gum to be successful. That makes two awesome discoveries in two days! Seems more and more folks cannot tolerate xanthan or guar gum and finding recipes that don’t need one or the other is truly something special around here.
Before we get to the recipes, we’re missing one last piece of the puzzle and that piece is chilled butter and/or chilled water (or milk). If you don’t know why this is so important, let me tell you. Chilled butter is where all of the flakiness comes from in pie crust. As you cut together the flour and butter to make small pea-sized pieces, what you’re doing is creating little fat pockets in your dough. When you cook your crust, the butter melts leaving behind little tiny air pockets… at least, I’m pretty sure that’s what happens. Cold water keeps the butter from melting prematurely.
Finally, if you have a food processor—by all means, USE IT. It will make your life easier and produce pretty darn good results. Even Julia Child moved to using a food processor for pie crusts when she discovered how much easier it was.
Here are some recipes that I found for gluten free pie crust that I would stake my Thanksgiving pie on. And you want to know why? They use the same general rules of thumb as the ratio AND they’re almost all the same. We’re getting closer and closer to the big day, if you can do a dry run this weekend I recommend it. You can do it! I know you can!
- Gluten Free Canteen: http://glutenfreecanteen.com/2011/06/22/oh-my-pie-crust/
- Gluten Free Girl: https://glutenfreegirl.com/2011/06/gluten-free-pie-dough/
- Simply Gluten-Free: https://simplygluten-free.com/blog/2013/11/perfect-gluten-free-pie-crust-recipe.html (this one does use xanthan gum, but looks pretty good)
- Bob’s Red Mill Easy as Pie Crust (GF): our go-to recipe, which does use xanthan gum and produces lovely results: http://www.bobsredmill.com/recipes/how-to-make/easy-as-pie-crust-gluten-free/ (pictured above)
- Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free Pie Crust Mix: when I originally wrote this post in 2011, we did not have a pie crust mix. This mix performs beautifully and takes the guesswork out of your flour blends. http://www.bobsredmill.com/gluten-free-pie-crust-mix.html (pictured above)