Gluten free pie crusts can be very difficult to work with. A lot of us these days don’t bother making pie crusts when they are so easy to buy pre-made and taste, well, good enough for the vast majority of people. Plus, for me, I only bake a pie a few times a year. So I wasn’t the best pie maker to begin with, and that was with a traditional, gluten crust. Gluten free crusts are fragile, and can be so frustrating. They fall apart, shrink too much, and are almost impossible to get into a pie pan.
These days I see in the grocery store freezer ready to bake gluten free crusts. But ready made gluten free crusts are pretty expensive, not always available, and only have the bottom crust.
I was determined to develop a good, easy (or easier) to work with recipe. When I saw a recipe that contained sour cream, I thought maybe that would be the right track as the protein in the cream would help give some structure to the dough. It definitely worked, after I added an egg and played around with the flours to use.
I also found this gadget:
It’s a zippered pie crust bag and it works fabulously for gluten free pie making. You shake some flour into it, put in your dough, zip it shut, and start rolling until the pie dough is about 1-2 inches larger than your pie tin. (11 inches for a 9 inch pie pan) Then you unzip, slide your hand underneath, and flip the whole pie crust and bag into the pie tin. Carefully peel off the bag, and the pie crust is ready to finish shaping. Much easier than using parchment paper. The bag washes up easily, and lasts for years. I found mine about 7 years ago, and I just had to buy a new one. I found mine in a local cooking store, but I did find one here on Amazon if you want to take a look. I like this larger size as it gives me a little extra room.
When shaping a gluten free pie crust, here’s some other tips:
- It will most likely fall apart, or crack a bit on you as you get it into the pan. Don’t worry. Just push it back together. If it doesn’t easily “smoosh” together, get your fingertip wet with water and glue it back together.
Here you can see the edge cracked a little and I am pressing it back together. I lift up the top edges, and make sure the pie dough is fully down into the pie tin. That sometimes make the crust break a little, but it is easily repaired.
- Make sure the dough is wet enough. After you have blended the dough, test it with your fingers. It should be slightly sticky and not too dry. It will take a few crusts to be comfortable judging this, but its better to be a little too wet than too dry. If its too wet, the moisture will bake off. If its too dry, it will crumble and fall apart.
- Be sure not to over process the butter/shortening into the flour. The fats need to stay in little pieces in the flour to make the crust flaky. So just pulse enough to cut in, then add the liquids and pulse enough to blend into a ball. You can pull the pie crust dough together with your hands adding another tablespoon of water if needed.
- I do find that the dough works better if well chilled before rolling out. It isn’t absolutely necessary, and when I have been short on time, I haven’t done this. But especially if baking the pie shell before adding a filling (like for coconut cream pie – yum!) the dough will tend to “slump” or shrink in the pan if not chilled. I like to chill the crust after putting it in the pan before baking it, as well.
- When I am adding the top crust, I have found it better to roll the bottom crust up around the top to seal the edge before crimping. Traditionally, bakers roll the edge down, seal and crimp. But when I do this, I find I often leave a gap between the bottom and top that I am unaware of and the filling will leak out. So I roll the bottom crust up and over the top, pinch, and then crimp with my fingers.
- Before baking, I always brush the top of the crust with beaten egg white, and sprinkle with a tablespoon of sugar. This makes a beautiful top that browns nicely.Here’s to easy gluten free pie baking! I hope you enjoy working with this dough! This recipe makes enough dough for a double 9″ crust.
- 2¼ c De's mix gluten free flour
- ¼ c sweet rice flour
- ½ tsp xanthan gum
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 egg
- ½ c sour cream
- 1 Tbsp Rice vinegar (or apple cider)
- 6 Tbsp butter, cut into small pieces and chilled
- 6 Tbsp shortening, cut into small pieces and chilled
- Additional ice water as needed
- In food processor, or large mixing bowl, add dry ingredients.
- Cut in butter and shortening, pulsing until pea size.
- In bowl, blend egg, sour cream, and vinegar together.
- Add to food processor and pulse until dough forms.
- Add ice water, a tablespoon at a time, as needed to bring dough together.
- Dough should be tacky to touch.
- It is best to chill the dough, wrapped in plastic wrap, for 30 minutes before rolling out. I like to chill it in the pie pan after shaping the crust while I am prepping the filling. If baking without the filling (blind baking) chill for 30 minutes before baking. This isn't absolutely necessary, but pie dough tends to "slump" and shrink if not chilled.