21 November 2007

Unusually Easy Pie Crust

I just got back from my mom's house. We were making pumpkin pies for tomorrow. Well, I was making pumpkin pies for tomorrow, but since I made them at Mom's house, her dishwasher can take care of most of the mess. At any rate, this is only the second time since I started making gluten-free crusts that it was easy. Seriously easy. Like, pre-gluten-free easy. By and large, I followed the same recipe as last year, but with a few minor differences. I have no idea which difference made the, er, difference.

(1) I added the full quarter-cup of olive oil before cutting the butter into the flour mixture.
(2) I didn't actually measure the vinegar or water... I put some ice cubes in a cup, dumped some vinegar in, poured some water in, then dropped two eggs in and beat the mixture with a fork. Rather than add the whole thing, I measured out slightly more than 3/4 of a cup of the liquid (occasionally fishing out ice cubes that escaped).
(3) I used a different rolling pin, a very bizarre one made of plastic that you fill with water for weight.

A few tips for anyone working with gluten-free pie crusts, though. It does not hold together nearly as well as wheat-based crust. Gluten comes from the same root as "glue." It's very good at holding things together. We use xanthan gum to approximate that stickiness but it's nowhere near as strong. So we cheat a bit. Recipe books will suggest that you roll the crust between two sheets of saran wrap. This would work well...EXCEPT that I've never been able to find saran wrap that's a foot wide, and trying to combine two pieces so you've got the width you need just doesn't work.

What I've got is a pie crust bag. I can't see why you'd need it for wheat crusts, unless you were just starting out, but it's awfully handy for GF crusts. You do need to dust rice flour all around the insides of it, thickest directly above and below your ball of dough, but then you just zip the bag shut, roll until the dough spreads out enough to fill the inside, unzip, and flip into a pan. The plastic keeps the dough from breaking apart on its way to the pie-pan. It's not fool-proof. In years past, it's cracked while I've been trying to form it to the surface of the pan, but it gives you a better chance at a crust that doesn't need patching.

At any rate, I've actually got enough dough left over to make another crust, and Mom suggested we make a lemon pie tomorrow. I'm not sure why we need one when we've got three pumpkin pies to eat...but I haven't had lemon pie in a while, so I'll go along with it.

No comments: