Perfect Gluten-free Pie Crust

You've seen this recipe before. It can be found under the Cran-apple Crumble Pie post from a little over a month ago. I wanted to set it up as a separate post though. I know I find it frustrating when I have to sort through recipes for one part of it. Besides, this recipe is that good. It totally deserves its own post!

The best recipes are the ones that are handwritten, on index cards or scraps of white lined paper. The ones that are stained with food or aged by time. The ones that are smeared with greasy fingerprints. Oh yes. These make the best recipes indeed.

Why? Because they're time tested. Because they're tried and true. And because they've been passed down, from one friend or family member to the next. They are a piece of history. When my husband and I got married, we struggled over what to give as favors at our reception. I swear it was a harder decision than picking out bridesmaids gowns. We wanted something symbolic, something memorable and meaningful. I can't tell you how many silly little wedding favors I have acquired (or eaten before even getting out of the reception hall) over the years. I think a lot of couples are so hair-brained over all the other details that those little mementos take a back seat. We didn't want that to happen.

Hours of gawking at favor ideas on theKnot.com (mind you, this was before the days of Pinterest) and in issues of Martha Stewart Weddings left me feeling rather hopeless. We thought about tree seedlings, wildflower packets, homemade jam, homemade pickles...the list goes on. And one day, I had a genius breakthrough moment.

A cookbook.

Yep. You heard me. We gave each family or guest that came to our wedding a cookbook. But not just any cookbook. The months prior were spent collecting, scrutinizing, and hand-picking recipes from our extended family and friends. Everyone that was invited was requested to submit a recipe via e-mail or snail mail. We even hunted people down for specific recipes that were absolute must-haves. I compiled them all in a Word document, we had them printed up at Staples, and voila! A wedding favor that continues to stand the test of time. I still pull mine out at least once a month, and hope to share most of those recipes here.

This pie crust recipe came from a friend - I know, I mentioned that in the last post. But I have to say it again. Because those are the best kind. And you know what? I've used this recipe multiple times since I got it, and it has come out perfect EVERY time. Incredible, right? It actually behaves like regular, gluten-full pie dough. See that photo up above - that's gluten-free pie dough. No. Joke.

I recommend using a really good gluten-free flour blend for this recipe. When my girlfriend initially used this recipe, she used King Arthur Gluten-free Multi-purpose Flour. I use a homemade flour blend, courtesy of Gluten Free Girl. I also recommend using a food processor. If you really want, you could do it by hand. But my trusty Cuisinart never fails - best Christmas gift ever Mom!

Please, read the instructions carefully before starting this recipe. Your pie dough needs at least 1 hour to chill out in the fridge, trust me, in fact I let it sit in the fridge overnight. You can make this recipe up to two days in advance as long as it is kept in the refrigerator. Also, use cold butter. Again, trust me. I have never had to use additional water in this recipe, but if you live in a dryer climate or higher altitude it might be necessary. Use your judgement. If the dough doesn't come together, or is crumbly, add water 1 Tbsp at a time until it forms a ball that "rides" on top of your processor blade. See photograph above. It will be slightly more moist than typical pie dough - resist the urge to add more flour!

Perfect Pie Crust

Prep-time: 10 minutes
Yields: 1 9-10" pie crust or 12 tartlets
  • 1 cup Gluten-free Flour blend
  • 1 tsp Xanthan Gum
  • 1 Tbsp Sugar (if sweet - if using for savory, leave out)
  • 1/2 tsp Salt (ONLY if using unsalted butter - if butter is salted, leave out!)
  • 6 Tbsp stick Butter, cut into 1/2" pieces
  • 1 large Egg, lightly beaten
  • Cold water, as needed
  1. Measure flour, xanthan gum, and sugar and salt (if using) into the bowl of a food processor fitted with the regular blade, or dough blade if you have one. Pulse to combine.
  2. Add butter chunks to mixture, making sure to space out evenly around the bowl. Pulse until mixture resembles small pebbles or coarse crumbs, and butter is well incorporated.
  3. Add the egg and process until combined. The dough will form a ball that will ride on top of the processor blade. If dough is too dry and crumbly, or does not come together, add cold water 1 Tbsp at a time, processing each time until combined. Dough will feel sticky and moist - do not add more flour!
  4. Remove contents of bowl and form the dough into a disk. Wrap in wax paper or plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least one hour, or until ready to use (up to two days).
  5. To roll out: lightly flour a flat surface, countertop, or pastry mat. Place dough on surface and dust with flour. Roll into desired shape and size, being careful to flip/rotate the dough and add more flour as needed to prevent from sticking. Make sure to spray your pie plate with cooking spray prior to placing dough inside. Pie crust does not need to be pre-baked unless the recipe you are using requests that you do so.

Happy gluten-free baking!

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