The perfect Gluten-free pie crust

Leah Dawn & Katy Dawn working together to make Gluten-free Apple Pie

As a child, our family’s only real homemade dessert was pie. I peeled the apples; my dad cut them and unfolded the packaged refrigerated pie crust. We added a little sugar and lots of cinnamon and crimped the top with a fork. As a mom to a celiac daughter I wanted to recreate this memory, albeit a little more healthfully. We picked apples from a neighbor’s tree, settled down in front of the fire with our cutting boards and a bowl full of apples and went to work.

The crust, however, was a little trickier. No more wheat and no more prepackaged crust. We took to the kitchen and whipped up a flaky buttery crust with just the right amount of salt to balance the sweet of the fruit. Rolling the crust took some trial and error but we figured out a great method to get a beautifully smooth crust without overworking the dough. Scroll down to find our recipe and techniques for the perfect gluten-free pie. 

The first step to the perfect Gluten-free Pie crust is weighing out the dry ingredients. We use a scale for consistency since gluten-free flours are not as forgiving. We highly recommend the My Weight KD8000 bakers scale because of its large base and backlit angled digital display (no other scale will give you as much joy to use in the kitchen, trust us… We’ve tried many others :-). 

Using a bakers scale measure 93g of Sweet White Sorghum Flour and 100g of Brown Rice Flour into a mixing bowl.

weighing the dry ingredients 

Remember to keep the butter and egg in your refrigerator until the last minute, keeping them cold will help during the proceeding mixing phases. Pre-cut  1/2 a cup of cold salted butter into chunks and add to the dry ingredients.

pre-cutting the butter

Blend on low speed until there are chunks of butter the size of peas and the flour starts to look slightly sandy. You’ll want a mixture of larger chunks and smaller pieces, just avoid making the butter chunks any smaller than the size of a pea. Alternatively, this can be done with a pastry cutter or even by pinching the flour and butter between your fingers. Unfortunately, the dough often gets overworked in warm hands so we recommend a mixer or a pastry cutter for best results. No matter which route you take to cut the butter, be cautious not to over mix at this stage. Over mixing will keep the crust from having that perfect flaky finish when baked.

Pull 1 cold egg from the refrigerator, crack and scramble into a small bowl or measuring cup. Turn the blender on low and pour into mixer. Slowly add 3 tablespoons of cold water, watching the dough closely. When the dough just starts to come together, turn the mixer off and grab a handful of dough If it forms to your hand when squeezed then it’s ready. If it crumbles easily, it needs more water; add 1 teaspoon at a time as needed. 

Form into two patties and wrap in wax paper or plastic wrap and set in the fridge for 10-15 minutes while preparing the filling. Note the varying size of butter in the picture below.

cut the dough into two equal parts, and then shape into a disc (like a hockey puck).

Peel, core, and cut the apples into 1/4 to 1/2 inch slices. You should end up with around 1.5 pounds of sliced apples when completed. Adjust if needed by adding or subtracting cut apples to create a gentle mound once in the pie tin. Zest and juice an orange over the apples, and mix until the apples are completely covered in juice (so they don’t brown). Mix in 1/4 cup of cane sugar, 1 teaspoon of cinnamon, and 1 tablespoon of brown rice flour. Note: you can switch the sugar to coconut sugar, xylitol, or honey if you don’t want, or can’t have, cane sugar. 

Remove the two discs of dough you previously stuck in your refrigerator. You want it to be chilled but not hard. Sprinkle a piece of parchment paper with sorghum flour, place dough patty down on a solid flat surface, and sprinkle with more sorghum flour. Roll from the center out, turning the parchment as you work, keeping it round. If the rolling pin sticks at any point during your roll, dust with more sorghum flour. Roll until about ¼ inch thick. If dough cracks, press back together with your fingers using a little water or egg. If it keeps cracking it is either too cold or not moist enough. You should see veins of butter marbled across the dough once rolled out. 

Pick up the dough with parchment paper by placing a hand underneath, take a deep breath and flip over into the pie tin. This takes courage and speed!

Fill your pie, arranging just so the top is flat and won’t break through when the upper crust is placed on top. Don’t forget to pour the collected juice from the bottom of the bowl into the pie mix; it makes a yummy goo inside the pie, once baked. 

Roll out the top crust following the previous instructions above leaving the dough slightly thicker than the base. Using the pro-tip again from above, place hand under the parchment paper, take a deep breath and flip over filled pie. Cut off the excess dough around the lip of the pie pan and crimp the top and bottom together. This can be done using your fingers like I have done in the video below or by using a fork and simply pressing down gently.

Give the crust an egg wash (scramble 1 egg to 1 tablespoon of water) and sprinkle a light dusting of sugar evenly over the top (no more than 1 tablespoon). Bake in a pre-heated oven at 375 degrees for 50 to 55 minutes. Let cool and enjoy!

You can use the extra cut off dough as decorations by re-rolling and cutting out shapes like pictured below.

the finished product with extra flare 

This pie is great as is, or with vanilla ice cream, but my favorite is with a thick piece of cheddar cheese for breakfast. 

Dry Ingredients
93gsorghum flour
100gbrown rice flour
Wet Ingredients
1/2 csalted butter, cold
1egg, cold
3 Tablespoonswater, cold
3granny smith apples
3fuji apples or golden delicious
1/4 cupcane sugar (can be substituted)
1 Tablespoonbrown rice flour
1 teaspooncinnamon
1zest of 1 orange
1juice of 1 orange

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