It was the best of times. It was the dumbest of times. Early on courtin' the fair and lovely maiden who is now my bride, I made a true, but foolish statement. It was in response to a pie that she had made especially for me. When queried as to its quality, I responded that the filling was quite excellent, but the crust was not as good as my mother's. Her reaction was was filled with more grace than the situation deserved, but more surprising than that, she leaved her old crust recipe behind and cleaved to our family recipe (even before she did to me). It is now rare that she will serve a pie to a new guest and not get a comment on the supreme excellency of her dessert, not to mention winning a couple of pie contests.
The only real tragic tension in this story is that I have been gluten free for three years now - making it 36+ months since I have enjoyed said recipe. Enter "Gluten Free Girl", a culinary oasis for those of us not benefiting from the ubiquitous wheat kernel. This crust, although a bit more of a hassle to create, tastes fantastic with its subtle, almond overtones and flakes just a good as my mom's. So dry your tears for me and get your hands into the bowl. Choose the recipe depending on your circumstances.
MY MOM"S CLASSIC PIE CRUST
2 c + 2 T of flour
1/4 t salt
1/3 c Mazola corn oil
2 T cold water
Mix each ingredient in turn. Roll out between wax paper and then be challenged to get it into the pie plate. Makes one single crust. Don't more than double the recipe!
1 1/4c almond flour
2/3 c tapioca flour
2/3 c gluten-free oat flour (Good luck finding this, I substituted Pamela's gluten-free flour mix.)
1/2 c teff flour (Gives beautiful color and texture to crust.)
1/2 c potato starch
1/4 c sweet rice flour
2 t xanthan gum
1/4 t guar gum
1/2 t salt
9 T stick butter, kept in freezer for 20 minutes
1 large egg
8 T ice-cold water
Mixing the dry ingredients. In a large bowl, mix the almond flour, oat flour (or Pamela's), tapioca
flour, teff flour, and potato starch. I use a whisk here, and slow down as I mix them, repeatedly, until they have become one flour. Add the xanthan and guar gums and the salt. Mix well.
Adding the fats. Add small pieces of the ice-cold butter to the flour mixture, not much bigger than a pea. Freeze your butter beforehand, then grate the frozen butter into the flours. Move quickly!
Making the sandy dough. Use your hands to scoop up the flours and mix in the fats. Go slowly. Rub your hands together. Feel the fats work into the flours with your fingers. I like to lift and rub, scoop and let them all fall through my fingers. You'll know when you are done. You'll feel done. The flours will look sandy now.
Finishing the dough. Combine the egg with 3 tablespoons of the water and whisk them together. Here's where you can go two ways. If you want to do everything by hand, then do so. Add the eggy water to the dough. Work the dough together with your hands, or a rubber spatula, or whatever feels right. When the dough feels coherent, stop.
Or, you can do what I have reluctantly realized makes gluten-free pie dough even better than making it by hand: finish it in the food processor. Move the sandy dough to the food processor and turn it on. As the dough is running around and around, drizzle in the eggy water. Stop to feel the dough. If it still feels dry and not quite there, then drizzle in a bit more water. If you go too far, and the dough begins to feel sticky or wet, sprinkle in a bit of potato starch to dry it out. Again, after you make pies for awhile, you'll know this by feel alone.
Making the crust. Wrap the pie dough in plastic wrap (or in a bowl) and let it rest in the refrigerator for 15 minutes or so. Take it out and roll out the dough between two pieces of parchment paper. This means you won't work any extra flour into the dough. Roll it out as thin as you can. Thinner. Thinner. Come on, you can do it — thinner still. Carefully, lift the top piece of parchment paper and turn the dough upside down on the top of a pie plate. Rearrange until it is flat.
If the dough breaks, don't despair. Simply lift pieces of the dough off the counter and meld it with the rest of the dough. Remember, there's no gluten, so you can't overwork the dough. Play with it, like you're a kid again. Place the pie dough in the pie plate and crimp. When you have a pie dough fully built, you are ready to make pie.
Put the pie pan in the refrigerator while you preheat the oven to 325° and make the filling.
(This second recipe is lifted directly from the Gluten Free Girl website with a couple of tweaks on my part.)