What is summer if you don't make at least one pie? But, how, without wheat and make it worth the effort? I've put together my best pie tips and tutorials for you, to take the shivers out of pastry, even gluten free pastry. Some pastry calls for flaky, and others for short and tender, both are possible without wheat, but there are distinct differences in how to handle the doughs.
Tips for flaky pastry
Flaky doughs depend on supporting pockets of air between the layers of flour and fat. →Use recipes that include baking powder in them, it'll creates more lift between the flaky layers, and it helps browning. → Keep everything as cold as possible, the fat and the flour. I chop my butter and then put it in the freezer, until it’s very cold. I also put my flour in the freezer, or even better you can premix all the dry ingredients for a dough, pulse the fat in, and then store it in the freezer until you add the liquid. → Don’t overwork in the fat, you should be able to see small pea sized clumps in the flour after pulsing. → Use a food processor. A food processor is God’s gift to pastry. It’s quick, easy and you can keep everything cold. I use the Zen approach: feet planted squarely on floor, knees slightly bent, deep clear breath, and pulse 1001, 1002 about 8 times is perfect. → Use butter, for flavor and health, and flakiness. Really it’s best, no shortening, unless you can’t….Use enough butter, flaky doughs need a lot of butter. → Use eggs instead of water, or use buttermilk instead of water. Water tends to toughen the dough. Although this isn’t really a problem if you're not using wheat. Add liquid briefly, don’t overmix just enough to bring the dough together. → Chill the dough before rolling, not rock hard just chill. → Chill the rolled dough once it’s in the pie plate, or tart tin before filling, or before blind baking--prick the chilled bottom of the tart before baking. → Blind bake for no soggy bottoms, or put a protective layer of something good between soggy ingredients and crust. Like a cheese layer before pouring in the custard for a quiche. → Cold Dough should hit a hot oven, wheat free crusts will need a little more time to crisp and brown. You can always brown more on the lowest oven shelf. Snip. Snap. Snout. follow these golden rules and you will be Queen/ King of the Flaky Crust
"The First Law of Pies: No Pastry, No Pie." Author: Janet Clarkson
Tips for Short and Tender Pastry
These doughs are like shortbread, in that they crumble a bit and are delicious for tarts, and savories. They are easy to make, very forgiving, and easy to press in instead of rolling. If you are afraid of pastry, then these are the doughs to start with. They are also absolutely delicious.
→ Completely incorporate the fat into the flour until crumbly. → Use eggs, or an acid liquid like buttermilk, to create even more rich- tenderness. →Use the best ingredients: sea salt, a mineral rich sugar, unsalted butter. The ingredients will make or break the effect of a short crust.
"A short crust is more about playing flavors that you want to support the tart, whereas a flaky crust is more about texture and mouthfeel. "
Best Practices for rolling wheat less doughs
These doughs are a different animal, so don’t expect them to act like a gluten dough! → Roll between layers of parchment, or heavy plastic. → Don’t add flour → Feel free to patch, and mold with your fingers → Use the bottom layer of parchment to move the dough to the tin, turn over and peel it into place → A tortilla press works wonderfully to make a small round of flat dough for a tart, of to start a larger dough. Press between parchment and then peel it off over the tart tin. → The tortilla press also works well for making free form galettes or empanada rounds. → Don’t feel like you are cheating if you press the dough into the tin, just work it evenly. One tablespoon of dough per appetizer tart tin, this even works for flaky doughs. → Add a hint of the same, or contrast to the dough. Like lemon zest in the dough for a lemon tart, or toasted almonds for a apricot tart. Flavor is the big player in a short crust. → Chill the dough once it’s in the tin, before baking.
Flaky Buttery Dough
I used Nick Malgieri’s Flaky Buttery Dough recipe substituting my pastry flour for his all purpose wheat flour. I like his doughs and knew that the eggs in the recipe would lend even more binding power, and the baking powder would support darkening and lift. 2 single-crusted pies or 1 double crusted pie Ingredients 2 ⅓ cup /315 grams gluten-free pastry flour ½ teaspoon sea salt 1 teaspoon baking powder 8 ounces/ 2 sticks/ 225 grams unsalted butter, chilled and cut into ½ inch pieces 2 large eggs- lightly beaten
Instructions → Combine dry ingredients in the food processor, pulse several times → Add the butter, pulse 3-4 times, pulse 3-4 times more → Add eggs to the bowl and pulse until dough almost forms a ball → Invert bowl into a mixing bowl and quickly press the dough together → Divide into two balls and form each into a disk, wrap and chill for 2 hours before rolling.
This dough also keeps well for up to 3 days in the refrigerator or up to 1 month frozen.
A sturdy flaky dough for free formed pies, makes enough for 4 eight inch galettes I’ve used this recipe for so many years that page 371 from Baking with Juliais spattered and dough marked. It’s a Flo Braker recipe, and she’s someone to trust in the baking world. I’ve adapted it to use my gf pastry flour and methods. It’s made quickly and simply in the food processor, using the same method as the Flaky Pie Dough. This dough is lovely with rye substituted for ½ cup of the pastry flour.
Ingredients 6 tablespoons buttermilk, sour cream or milk kefir ⅓ cup ice water 2 cups gf pastry flour ½ cup yellow cornmeal 1 teaspoon sugar ½ teaspoon sea salt 14 tablespoons ( 2 tablespoons shy of a cup) of cold unsalted butter cut into small cubes
Instructions Mix buttermilk with water and set in freezer Mix dry ingredients in food processor and pulse Pulse, a pulse is a long 1001, cold butter into dry ingredients about 8-9 times ( the size of small peas) Pour into a mixing bowl and add cold liquid Knead briefly together until it makes a ball Separate into fourths. Flatten each into a disk, wrap and Chill for at least 2 hours ( an overnight in the fridge softens the cornmeal, so it isn’t so prominent. Sometimes I don’t even add the cornmeal!
Here’s an a favorite example of a short-tender cookie ish dough that’s reminiscent of a linzer crust. Use this versatile crust as the base for fruit tarts. The sweet is also good with a savory filling. This one is fantastic with rye substituted for ½ cup of the gf pastry flour. Best made in Food Processor Ingredients ¾ cup toasted walnuts ½ cup sesame seeds lightly toasted 2 tablespoons flax seed measured and then ground 2 cups gf pastry flour ¼ cup mineral rich sugar 1 teaspoon baking powder ½ teaspoon sea salt ½ teaspoon cinnamon ½ teaspoon coriander seed freshly ground ¼ teaspoon cardamom powder (freshly ground best) 2 large eggs beaten 1 teaspoon vanilla extract 2 sticks, (8 ounces) cold unsalted butter cut into ½ inch cubes
Instructions Toast nuts and cool Toast sesame seeds and cool Grind Flax seed Put all dry ingredients in food processor and spin until combined Add seeds and nuts and spin until fine throughout but not butter! Add butter and pulse until everything is like fine crumbs Add beaten eggs and pulse briefly until dough is moistened Put into a mixing bowl and briefly bring together into a ball Separate into two and make each into a flat disc, wrap and Chill for two hours before pressing or rolling. Or press into form and chill, before adding filling to bake.