This recipe for a really good gluten-free, dairy-free, starch-free and (yes!) gum-free pie dough would never have come to be if it weren’t for two gluten-free experts, one in my home country, Laurent Dran of “La Faim des Délices“, and the other in Ireland, a great neighbor of mine, Jack, of Pep’s Free From Kitchen.
The first posted a recipe for a custard pie back in October of last year.
This being a favorite of my dear husband, I decided to make it, using a lot less sugar for the filling (personal choice), and omitting the vanilla in the dough. The dough was weird to work with… but I was really, really pleased with the result. This pie crust was not dry, and I owe this to the addition of both yogurt and baking powder to the flour mix. Ah, flour mix… As often, the recipe called for a mix of rice flour and potato starch, as well as gum. Now this is where Jack’s influence comes in. Here is a guy who manages to bake breads and pastries without any starches or gum… Well, let me tell you, dear neighbors, he is right: it is a myth to think you absolutely have to have these ingredients when baking gluten free. Gum, for one, does not always make that much difference. As for potato starch, it is often treated with sulfites and even though I have found two brands in France that guarantee theirs to be sulfite-free, we also travel to the U.S. often enough that I would rather avoid it, for my husband’s sake. In trying to “improve” on this recipe, my first change was to forgo the gum. Then I substituted teff flour for the starch. The only change was in color: teff makes the crust a little darker. So what? I have also tried using baking soda instead of baking powder, and silken tofu instead of soy yogurt. Since there was no difference I think we might assume safely that you may use any type of yogurt here, dairy if you can tolerate it.
As you can tell by my notebook page and its many scribbles in some kind of Franco-English mumbo-jumbo, over the course of 5 months we have been eating quite a few pies (see the dates at the top)! The first two were custard pie, but then, as much of a treat it was, I wanted to try something healthier. So I started making pear pie, and it was a success each time. In my next post I will share the recipe with you, before pears are no longer in season!
Ingredients for an 18 x 18 cm / 12’’ x 12’’ pie
– 90 g / 3 oz dairy or non-dairy yogurt, or silken tofu
– 45 g / 1.5 oz coconut oil, melted
– 55 g / 2 oz rice flour
– 50 g / 1.75 oz teff flour
– 15 g / 0.5 oz / 1 ½ TBSP icing sugar, homemade (natural untreated cane sugar run through a coffee grinder)
– ¼ tsp sea salt, untreated
– ¼ tsp baking soda + a little lemon juice OR ½ tsp gluten-free baking powder, such as Trader Joe’s (contains no tartaric acid)
1. Combine yogurt / silken tofu with melted coconut oil.
2. Add the rest of the ingredients with a fork, not forgetting the baking agent of your choice. You can also use your food processor; I did once but it made the dough even softer so I definitely prefer the fork method.
At this point, the dough will feel sticky and very soft, nothing like a “normal” kind of pastry dough.
DON’T WORRY: it will get workable as the coconut oil cools down. You can help speed things up by scooping the dough out with a spatula onto plastic film and leaving it in the fridge for about half an hour. I have also let it cool down overnight in the refrigerator; but if you do that you need to remember to let it warm up again to room temperature before you can roll it out.
This dough is somewhat tricky to handle, especially while it is very hard, out of the fridge. In order to be rolled out, it needs to be placed between a slightly oiled sheet of baking paper and plastic film, otherwise it sticks. Likewise, if you need to “adjust” the fitting of the dough in the pie dish, it will be easier to do so using the plastic film as a shield for your fingers. I hope this makes sense. I tried adding flour at first, but I found the “plastic shield” method to be best.
Once in your pie dish, this dough can be filled with fruit inside a binding cream. It bakes at a high temperature, 210°C / 410°F, for about 45 minutes. I usually cover the pie during the last 15 minutes of baking time. To be continued, then!