26 November 2009

Piecrust Adventures

A few interesting conundrums whilst making the pumpkin pies last night.

(1) I had only one pumpkin from my garden. It was fairly small, and, when I cut into it, I discovered one part of it was rotten. I had my mom get some canned pumpkin as backup. I got 2 cups from the good parts of the real pumpkin, and had to fill in the rest with the canned pumpkin. Annoying, but workable.

(2) I could not find my pie-crust-bag. It was not on the top shelf of the closet where it's supposed to be, nor in any of the other places I thought I might have decided to put it. If it doesn't turn up, I'm going to assume it got thrown away accidentally and order a new one. The problem is that gluten-free crust is extremely delicate. You need the plastic to hold it together long enough to get it into the pan, and even then there are almost always cracks and holes to patch. So I improvised. I had some jumbo-size ziplock bags. I rolled the first crust inside the bag and then cut two of the edges open so I could extract it, then rolled the other crusts with the bag slit open. It worked better than I expected. I think the crust didn't stick to the ziplock as badly as it generally did to the pie-crust bag. However, the pie-crust-bag is reusable many times over, whereas the ziplock would need to be replaced each time, and the jumbo ziplocks are rather pricey.

(3) I ran out of sweet rice flour on the first crust. It's what Bette Hagman recommends be used for sprinkling on the inside of the bag to help keep it from sticking. I sighed, thought a moment, and used corn meal instead. Actually, I think it worked better than the sweet rice flour. I think the idea with sweet rice flour is that it's supposed to stick together better than other GF flours, so it should help the crust stick together. The problem is that rice flour is dry, and so the more of it you use for rolling, the more you need to add more liquid to the dough. The corn meal seemed to be better at keeping the dough from sticking, and it didn't dry out the dough as much. We shall find out today whether it causes any general weirdness in the eating. If not, I may just switch over to cornmeal for piecrust dusting.

And now, I have cornbread, coffeecake, roasted pumpkin seeds, and piecrust cookies to make.

Happy Thanksgiving!


John said...

"The problem is that gluten-free crust is extremely delicate"

I don't know if this would help with GF pastry, but I have found that replacing 1/4 to 1/2 of the water with vodka (up to double the amount of water replaced) really helps. You get enough liquid to hold the dough together really well, and the vodka just evaporates in the oven, leaving a light flaky crust.

I suppose I should mention that I've only ever done this with crusts that get baked before filling. I'm not sure the vodka would evaporate from a filled crust (like a fruit pie).

Word verification: latte - what the hell? It's a real word! where's the fun in that?

Qalmlea said...

Actually, just using something plastic to hold it together long enough to get to the pie plate works pretty well. It helps that I know how it should look/feel before I start to roll it out now. When I was first starting out with GF crusts, it was more hit or miss.

And pumpkin pie crusts don't get pre-baked, so I don't think the vodka is a good idea. Might be interesting, though. ^!^