gluten free pie crust
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The Best Gluten-Free Pie Crusts You'll Ever Make

Your pastry shells will actually be more flaky and delicious when you forgo wheat flour.

November 13, 2013

Pie is as American as Thanksgiving and the Fourth of July. And there's no reason to avoid it just because you (or your family or your party guests) are avoiding gluten! In fact, it's actually easier to make a piecrust without wheat than it is to make one with wheat, since gluten, the protein in wheat that causes such severe health problems, is a known enemy of tender, flaky crusts.

Related: 7 Things That Happen When You Go Gluten-Free

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The first three gluten-free piecrust recipes below use oat flour because it has a mild flavor, soft texture, and, if you have rolled oats on hand, you can make it yourself in a blender for much less money than buying an all-purpose gluten-free flour blend. If you need to avoid gluten 100 percent, buy only oats labeled gluten free, which have been kept separate from wheat and rye during storage and processing. When grinding them, make sure to grind them very finely—into more of a powder than a meal—to avoid a gritty mouth feel in your finished crust.

Finally, if you opt for coconut oil as your fat of choice, look for a neutral-flavored oil so the coconut flavor doesn't overwhelm your filling.

All these recipes make a single piecrust that fits an 8- to 10-inch pie tin.

Simple Gluten-Free Piecrust

A fast and easy piecrust that is just as tasty and tender as more complicated recipes, this crust is only slightly flaky.

1½ cups oat flour
½ teaspoon sea salt (or a little more if your next choice isn't already salted; optional)
½ cup organic butter, pastured lard, or organic coconut oil

1. Combine flour and salt.

2. Heat your butter, lard, or coconut oil until just melted. Stir it into the flour mixture until it pulls together into a ball (you may need to squish it into a ball between cupped hands).

3. Tear off two squares of natural waxed paper. Place one on the counter, put the dough ball on it, cover with the second square, and press the ball flat with your hand or a plate, to make a circle. Then roll the dough with a rolling pin, turning it every few strokes to create a thin, even circle of dough.

4. Peel off one sheet of paper, place a pie plate upside down and centered over the dough, flip the plate and dough over, and peel off the second sheet of paper. Press the dough into the tin, trimming off the excess or sculpting it into a fancy raised edge.

5. If you plan on using an unbaked pie filling, for an icebox or chiffon-style pie, for instance, fill your empty crust about halfway with dry beans to hold its shape during the crust-baking process. Pop it in the oven and bake it at 400 degrees for 15 to 20 minutes.

 

6. If you plan on using a baked pie filling, such as apple or pumpkin, add your filling and bake the entire pie, crust and all, at 400 degrees for 10 minutes. Then reduce the heat to 350 degrees for an additional 40 minutes, or whatever length of time your filling recipe suggests.

Related: The Healthiest Apple Pie Ever

Traditional Gluten-Free Piecrust

This is the best gluten-free piecrust recipe to try if you like yours flaky and delicious. The trick to making a flaky crust is keeping everything really cold until the crust is rolled out.

1½ cups oat flour
½ teaspoon sea salt
½ cup cold organic butter, pastured lard, or organic coconut oil, chopped into about 8 pieces
¼ cup cold water

1. Combine flour and salt.

2. Cut the fat into the flour using either a food processor or a pastry cutter, until the fat has been cut down to pea-size balls.

3. Sprinkle in the cold water, a little at a time, and stirring with a fork until the dough starts to form a single ball (you might not have to use all the water, or you may need a few drops more).

 

4. Chill your dough in an airtight container in the refrigerator for half an hour (or up to a couple of days). You can skip this step, if pressed for time, but chilling the dough helps it to hold together during rolling and to turn out optimally flaky.

5. Continue as for Simple Gluten-Free Piecrust.

Rich Gluten-Free Piecrust

Flaky and delicious and downright decadent! Cold ingredients and working fast are especially important here to make sure the crust is as flaky as possible.  

1½ cups oat flour
½ teaspoon sea salt
¾ to 1 cup cold organic butter, pastured lard, or organic coconut oil, chopped into about 8 pieces
4 to 8 ounces of cold organic cream cheese, chopped into about 8 pieces
Cold water

1. Combine flour and salt in a bowl or a food processor.

2. Cut the butter, lard or coconut oil, and the cream cheese into the flour using either a food processor or a pastry cutter, until flour comes together in pea-size balls. The more fat and cream cheese you use, the richer and flakier your finished crust will be.

3. The dough will probably form a ball without your needing to add any water, but if it doesn't stick together after you squeeze it into a ball, sprinkle it with cold water, a few drops at a time, and stir with a fork until the dough starts to form a single ball.

4. You'll have to chill the dough 30 minutes or longer in an airtight container, like a glass bowl with a lid on it, in the refrigerator, to firm it up before rolling it out. Then proceed as for Simple Gluten-Free Piecrust.

Related: Master Pie With These Easy Free-Form Crust Recipes

Nutty Gluten-Free Piecrust

Gluten-free but definitely not low calorie, a nut-meal crust is an amazingly delicious addition to almost any kind of pie.

1½ cups nut meal or nut flour (almond is the most neutral flavored)
½ teaspoon sea salt (optional)
3 Tablespoons organic butter, pastured lard, or organic coconut oil, melted

1. Combine nut meal/flour and salt in a bowl or food processor.

2. Pour the melted fat over it, and mix until it looks uniform, either using your food processor or simply by putting it in the pie plate and mixing it with your fingers.

3. Press the dough into an even layer in the pie plate.

4. Bake your empty shell at 350 degrees for about 10 minutes or gently fill the unbaked shell with filling and bake as directed for your filling recipe.

Totally Different Potato Piecrust

And now for something completely different! Sort of like pie baked in a home fries crust, white potato makes a great crust for quiches and other savory custard pies; sweet potato would also work, even for sweeter pies.  

2 big or 4 small organic potatoes, about 1½ pounds
1 very small organic onion (omit for a sweet potato crust that will have sweet filling)
1 organic egg
1 teaspoon salt (optional)
1 Tablespoon gluten-free flour
1 teaspoon organic butter, pastured lard, or organic coconut oil

1. Scrub the potatoes, leaving the skins on, and peel your onion. Grate; a food processor with a shredding attachment makes short work of this.

2. Beat egg slightly in a mixing bowl and add the grated veggies, salt, and flour. Stir until it looks uniformly mixed.

3. Spread the mixture evenly in into a well-greased pie plate to form a crust, pressing it down with a silicone spatula or your greased fingers.

4. Bake at 400 degrees for 30 minutes.

5. Brush the crust with 1 teaspoon of fat. Bake for another 10 minutes until it the crust is light brown. Remove from the oven.

6. Meanwhile, prepare your filling of choice and fill the baked crust. Turn the oven down to 350 degrees, and bake for about 35 minutes, or whatever is suggested by your filling recipe.

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