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Gluten free pie crust isn’t difficult to make when you use the right ingredients and follow some easy how-to steps. And I’m here to give you all the tips and tricks!
Just look at this gorgeous, flaky pie crust. It’s within reach, and YOU can make it!
As I travel the country speaking to gluten-free groups and teaching gluten-free cooking classes, it seems that rolling out pie crusts is the one thing that scares people the most about baking. There are many techniques I’ve developed over the years, and I’ve gotten it down to quite a science!
One way to easily roll out and transfer crusts is by using a pie crust bag.
Another favorite of mine is using a silicone pastry mat and my favorite rolling pin covers. Together, they are so versatile and make it easy to transfer pie crusts or to roll out sugar cookies or ravioli or or or … you get the idea!
I also have a video showing how to use these mats and rolling pin covers for rolling out GF pie crusts.
But the most important trick to making a deliciously flaky and remarkably easy-to-roll-out gluten-free pie crust, is to start with the right ingredients.
My gfJules™ All Purpose Gluten Free Flour is the main ingredient, and the special blend of gluten-free flours and xanthan gum gives doughs made with my flour extra stretch, making it far easier to roll and transfer top and bottom crusts.
I’ve also found that a combination of butter (or non-dairy alternative like Earth Balance® Buttery Sticks or lactose free Green Valley Organics® Lactose Free Butter) and shortening makes for a flakier crust. Note: I do NOT like using coconut oil in place of shortening. It doesn’t play nicely with the flour and makes for an oily dough that is more brittle and sticky — no fun to work with!
Using cold water and a surprise secret ingredient that no one will ever taste (scroll down to recipe for ingredient) also makes it easier to work with the dough, and yields an amazingly delicious crust that’s flaky and soft every time.
Consult with my recipe below and be sure to look at the step-by-step photos at the bottom, where I show how to transfer the crust.
One final thought before I let you go on to the recipe and techniques outline below: I find myself answering lots of emails in advance of pie baking season and folks are all worried that they’ll make a tough pastry crust. In answer, I usually write pretty much the same things, so I’ll copy a note I wrote recently below, in hopes that it also helps YOU make your best pie crust ever!
As for flakiness of pie crust there are a couple keys, I have found.
One is to make sure the butter is super cold when adding it. I like to cut it into pieces and then put it in the freezer while I’m measuring the flour and getting everything ready.
When you add the butter, cut both it and the shortening into the flour/salt mixture with a pastry cutter or two knives cutting against one another, and only cut it as much as you need to integrate the fats into the flour into small balls, without working it too much. Then add the vodka or cold water (start with only 3Tbs) and mix with a fork, adding only as much more cold water as you need to get the dough to hold together without being wet. A wet dough is a heavy dough and you don’t want that!
I then wrap the dough in cling wrap and leave on the counter for 30 minutes if it’s not too warm in the kitchen, or refrigerate for about 10-15 minutes if you think you worked it too much or the kitchen is warm.
Roll it out and into the pie pan and then … I’ve found that covering the crust with wrap again in the pan and putting it in the freezer while you work on other things, THEN filling the crust, is a great way to keep those fats nice and cold before baking. The steam that is generated from the fats melting in the oven is what causes most of the flakiness, so if you have lots of little balls of fat throughout the crust, as opposed to melty strands of fat, it creates more flakes.
That being said, overcooking the crust can also make it tough, so brush the crust with egg or oil or milk to help it brown so you aren’t tempted to leave it in the oven too long, waiting for it to brown.
For even more pointers on making pie crusts, watch my video how-to or listen to my Blog Talk Radio show all about pie crusts. See below for step-by-step photos!
1 Gluten-Free Pie Crust (double for 2-crust pie)
*vodka helps to further tenderize the pastry dough and the alcohol bakes off, leaving no flavor
To Make the Dough:
In a large bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients. Cut in the shortening and butter using a pastry cutter (or the flat paddle attachment on a stand mixer or a food processor). Add the vodka/water gradually to make the consistency you need to form a ball – err on the side of it being wetter rather than crumbly. Don’t over-work the dough, or it may become tough when baked. Form a disc with the dough, wrap in plastic and set aside on the counter for 30 minutes while you make your filling.
Rolling the Dough:
After allowing the dough to rest, roll the pastry out onto a surface dusted well with gfJules™ All Purpose Gluten Free Flour.
Gently roll in each direction — do not press down on the pin while rolling — to a circle with a diameter at least 1 inch larger than that of your pie pan.
To Transfer the Crust:
1- Gently lift an edge of the rolled out crust over your rolling pin. 2 -With one hand under the baking mat, use the pin in the other hand to lift the crust so that it is supported by the rolling pin as you pull the crust gently off of the baking mat. 3- Transfer gently over the pie plate to center. 4- Drop gently into the plate and press in with floured fingers. 5- Pat into your pan.
For a One Crust Pie, cut the edges of the crust to an even length of approximately 1-inch larger than the diameter of your pie plate.
Gently fold the edges under, then press with a fork or pinch into a fluted design between your fingers. Cover with plastic wrap and freeze while you make your fillings.
Fill with your desired filling.
For a Two-Crust Pie, double the ingredients and divide the doubled pie crust dough before setting aside. Shape each half into a disc and wrap each in plastic wrap. Repeat the rolling out steps for the first crust and cover with plastic wrap, then freeze for 30 minutes or while you prepare the fillings. Fill the pie and lay the second crust gently onto the top of the filled pie pan.
Cut off all but 1/2 – 1 inch of excess pie crust from around the edge of the pan. For fruit pies, cut small slits in the center of the top crust to allow the hot steam to escape. Brush the crust with egg wash or your milk of choice – this step helps it to brown nicely.
If there are any tears in your top crust, never fear! Simply take leftover crust and use decorative cookie cutters to cut out leaves, pumpkins, etc. Wet the backside of each cut-out with a dab of milk, then lay on top of any tears to cover the flaw.
Fold approximately 1/2 inch of excess pie crust over all around the edge to form the crust, then using your fingers, press a fluted design or use a fork to go around the crust to finish.
Your pie is now ready to bake or to freeze for later baking. For directions on how to freeze the pie dough and bake later, hop to my post on that method. To bake now, follow the instructions below.
Single-Crust: Preheat oven to 400º F (static). Brush the crust with egg wash or milk, then cover edges with foil or pie crust shields to minimize burning. Bake for 15 minutes. Reduce heat to 375º F (static) and bake an additional 20 minutes, remove the pie crust shields, and bake an additional 10 minutes, or follow directions for your specific pie recipe.
Double-Crust Pie: Preheat oven to 400º F (static). Brush the crust with egg wash or milk, then cover edges with foil or pie crust shields and bake for 15 minutes.
Reduce heat to 375º F (static), remove foil and brush again with egg wash or milk. Bake an additional 35-45 minutes, or until the juices are bubbling, or follow directions for your specific pie recipe. (Cover again with foil if the crust is browning too much during the bake).
Unfilled Pie Crust (Blind Bake): Cover crust in pie plate loosely with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes. Preheat oven to 375º F (static).
Prick the bottom of pastry all over with tines of a fork. Cover the pastry with parchment paper and pour pie weights, dry rice or dried beans on top to cover 1 inch. Brush the crust edges with egg wash or milk, then cover crust edges with foil or pie crust shields. Bake for 15 minutes or until the bottom of the crust no longer looks raw.
Remove the parchment paper and weights. Return to bake for 6-8 minutes if filling with quiche, pumpkin or key lime type filling which will be baked further; for cream pies and refrigerated fillings, bake 10-15 minutes more. Don’t wait for the crust to turn brown before removing or it will have over-cooked. Cool completely on a wire rack before filling for refrigerated pies.