Recipe Thursday: Flaky Gluten-Free Apple Pie

gluten-free apple pie

In celebration of May Celiac Awareness Month, I was invited today on Rogers daytime Toronto to share my latest receipe – a deliciously juicy and flaky gluten-free apple pie! I have experimented for years with pie crusts, and after finding and modifying a recipe from a 1960’s Good Housekeeping cookbook, I finally struck gold!

The key to this flaky crust is in the first step, which is whipping butter with boiling water (yes – hot, boiling water). Unlike most wheat crusts which require a cold handling process throughout, this recipe calls for you to emulsify the butter with hot water, which essentially makes it into the consistency of thick whipped cream. Since oil and water do not actually mix, this process whips air into the butter, which is the secret behind making a tender and flaky crust.

The pie I made in the picture above has a lattice crust, but I actually found that it is much juicier and tastier when made as a solid, un-punctured top (and bonus, it’s a heck of a lot easier to make too). This is also a great recipe to make if you need to use up over ripe pears and apples. Enjoy!

Ingredients:

Crust:

3/4 cups butter, slightly softened and cut into small cubes (you can leave it out at room temperature for 3-4 hours)
1/4 cut boiling water
1-1/2 cups brown rice flour
3/4 cups tapioca starch
1 tsp sea salt

Filling:

4 – 5 apples
2 pears (the more ripe, the better)
2 tbsp water
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 to 1/2 cup coconut or date sugar (optional)
1/2 tsp lemon zest (optional)

You will also need a 9″ greased pie plate and 2 long segments of wax paper (slightly over twice the diametre of your pie plate)

Instructions:

1. In a large mixing boil, combine butter and boiling water. Whip with an electric hand blender, gradually increasing speed as the two begin to combine. (Warning: this can be very messy. Softer butter will splash less, but wear an apron). Continue until butter takes on the consistency of thick whipped cream and hold peaks.

2. Sift in brown rice flour, tapioca starch and sea salt.

3. Use a spatula in a quick and round motion, scraping the edges of the bowl to fold ingredients together. Be patient – the ingredients should come together and form a slightly moist dough that can hold together but is not overly sticky.

Avoid squashing the ingredients – preserving the air you whipped into the butter will make the crust more tender and flaky. Humidity and temperature can affect the consistency of your dough – if it appears too dry, add 1 tsp of water at a time. If too wet, add 1 tsp of brown rice flour at a time until desired consistency is achieved.

4. With lightly floured hands, gather dough into two equal balls. Place one ball onto the far side of wax paper, flatten slightly to 1″ thickness, taking care to mend feathering edges. Fold the wax paper in half to sandwich dough. Repeat with second dough ball and refrigerate. You may also want to refrigerate your rolling pin. (Cooler dough is less sticky and easier to handle.)

5. While dough is cooling, peel, core and dice apples and pears. Fruit should be cut into relatively similar chunks, 1/2″ to 1″ as desired.

6. Toss fruit with remaining ingredients. Preheat oven to 425F.

7. Remove dough ball from fridge and gently roll out, rotating frequently to achieve a round shape. Continue until dough is large enough to cover your pie plate. Gently peel off top layer of wax paper, flip, and repeat with second side of wax paper to release. Lift dough with wax paper and quickly (and carefully) flip onto pie plate. Gently ease dough into edges of pie plate, trim excess edges and patch any holes.

8. Pour apple mixture into crust. Roll out second ball of dough, repeating step 7 above. Turn over top of apples and pinch edges together with bottom crust. (Do not puncture the top crust).

9. Bake in oven at 425F for 40 to 50 minutes until crust begins to brown. Allow pie to rest 10-20 minutes. Cut, serve and enjoy!

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