Updated: Feb 4, 2022
Summer is not complete without a fantastic fresh fruit filled pie. Making a gluten free pie crust can be tricky but not impossible. What makes a delicious pie crust is the mixture of buttery flakiness where the crust is just a bit crisp on the edges and every bite fills you with buttery joy. This pie crust recipe will give you just that! You can use it for a fully-baked pie crust and fill your pie with chocolate mousse or make a banana cream pie. You can double the recipe and use one portion for the bottom and the other for a complete top layer or make a lattice design. When it comes to summer I LOVE making pies. They are perfect for any bbq party or 4th of July picnic. Blueberry is definitely top on my list of faves but I do love a great fresh cherry pie when July rolls around and the cherries are in season.
Here in Germany pie is a brand new concept and doesn't really exist. German desserts are more like cakes or they might have a similar pie crust but the filling is usually with strawberries and some sort of gelee that hardens. If there is one part of American culture that I want to make sure my children grow up with, then it is definitely the art of pie.
Summer in America means it is time for pie! Every summer I remember eating pie for dessert at almost every family bbq. When I was a kid I didn't know that I had Celiac and I ate the regular pies not realizing that my stomach aches were a direct result. For years after I found out I needed to eat a gluten free diet I thought my time of enjoying summer fruit pies and Thanksgiving pumpkin pie would be over.
You know I had to find a way to eat pie and I spent years perfecting this recipe and the technique.
In this blog post you will see how I make a gluten free pie dough, crimp the edges and make a lattice topping. The complete, free and printable recipe is down at the bottom of this post.
Let's get started on our pie dough.
You want to use a medium sized bowl and combine your dry ingredients. Then add in your COLD butter and vegetable shortening. (I use Crisco and they even sell it here in Germany... in the 'International' aisle.) Then use a pastry cutter to 'cut in' the butter and shortening into your flour. This means that you are making the butter and shortening into super tiny pieces, like little peas, so that it is all evenly distributed into your flour mixture. For this recipe I do like to use tapioca flour and white rice flour. Both can be bought on Amazon.de or at specialty grocery stores like Denns Bio Markt.
After you do this for about 1-2 minutes your flour mixture will look like this:
Now we slowly stir in the milk. I like to use a fork to incorporate the milk with the flour mixture.
I usually use about 1 cup of milk to get the right consistency, sometimes it is a smidge less. I want my dough to be soft but not wet and sticky. For beginners it can be difficult finding the right balance between too wet and too dry and crumbly. Just remember that you can always add a bit more milk or a tablespoon or two of flour to help you get the right consistency. That is the great thing about pie dough, you can tweak the texture throughout the process.
After I chilled my dough for at least 2 hours it was time to roll it out. You need to try and accomplish this step as quickly as possible. Especially if it is hot inside your kitchen. You don't want the butter to get all melty. This will make your pie dough too soft and it won't hold its shape.
I unwrapped my pie dough and placed it on some baking parchment paper. Sprinkled the top with some flour... gluten free of course (you can use rice flour or any GF baking blend) and then I laid another piece of baking parchment paper directly on top. This will help the dough not stick to the rolling pin.
Next you want to slowly peel away your parchment paper. If the dough is sticking too much and the paper isn't coming off in a clean way then reform your pie dough into a ball. Add a tablespoon of more flour and roll out your dough again. You might need a new piece of parchment paper if too much dough stuck to the first piece. If your dough is getting too soft and you can visually see the butter start to melt then pop it back in the fridge for 15 minutes.
After you peel off the paper you want to slip your hand under the bottom piece of parchment paper and place your other hand directly on top of the pie dough. Your top hand will work as a guide and your bottom hand will do the inverting. You are flipping your pie dough into your pie dish. Don't worry if you flip it and it doesn't land perfectly. You can repatch parts after you flip it. I do it all the time and after it is baked and filled, you can't even tell!
Once your pie dough has been flipped, use your fingers to press the dough into the sides and bottom of the pie dish. You really want to pressed tightly.
As you can see there is a spot where it missed. No problem! I took a small piece of the extra dough (one side was way to long) and I just tore it off and used my fingers to press it in.
Now one of my favorites parts. Crimping the edges. I love a good crimped edge. It is fancy and yet rustic at the same time. Plus all your friends and family will think you are a pastry master. In the video below you can see how I crimp the edges all around the pie crust.
Whatever pie you are making you MUST freeze the pie dough before you bake it. Put the pie dish with your ready to go pie crust or filled pie for about 15 minutes into the freezer. After shaping the dough and filling it, your pie dough will become a bit soft. The more chilled your pie crust is the better it will hold its shape when baking. So yes... after you freeze your pie crust put it directly into your preheated oven to bake.
Here you can see how I used this recipe for a pecan pie.
This is a picture of an unbaked pecan pie right before it went into the oven.
This picture was taken right after baking. Look at how the pie dough held its shape!
Now if you want to make a lattice crust like you see in the recipe below, you can follow these steps.
First fill your pie with your filling of choice. I used blueberries. I also chilled my pie dough (shaped and in its pie dish) for about 15 minutes before filling.
Then put this pie in the refrigerator while you do the next step.
Roll out your second portion of pie dough and make sure it measures to about 12-14 inches in diameter.
OMG do you see the pieces of butter in the dough?!?!
Next using your measuring tape and a pizza cutter or a pastry wheel, cut strips. You want the strips to be around 3/4-1 inch wide.
I did eyeball a little. But that's ok. You can't even tell with the finished product.
Next, take 5 strips and lay them across your pie making sure they are about 3/4-1 inch apart from each other.
It's ok if they are a bit too long. Just cut off the excess.
this next part is difficult, I won't lie. Gluten free dough just doesn't have that elasticity that normal pie dough has. This means that your pie dough might break off when trying to weave your pattern. However, we made extra pie dough strips for this reason if one strip complete breaks. If the tear isn't so bad you can use your fingers and a little bit of egg wash to rub out any wrinkles or scratch marks in your dough.
For the next step we fold back 3 pieces. and lay a strip down. Then you fold back the strips (the ones that you originally folded back) directly on top of the newly laid down strip.
For complete directions on how to make a lattice topping please reference the recipe at the bottom of the post.
What I want to talk about now is that it is clear that you see some ripping and tearing going on with my pie dough. This is normal for gluten free. There is no avoiding it. Once you put on the egg wash and sprinkle on some sugar you won't even be able to tell that there are mini flaws.
This picture is the unbaked blueberry pie.
And here you can see the finished product.
Pie is not supposed to be 100% perfect. Pie is more about family gatherings where you all sit outside in the backyard with a bonfire until late into the night. Letting the kids stay up too late roasting marshmallows while you pour everyone another glass of wine. Pie is not about being fancy and elegant. It is about comfort. Like your grandma just gave you the biggest warmest hug. Pie is about making memories.