Pie- A summertime favorite
Who doesn’t love pie? Sweet pie, berry pie, pie a la mode… my favorite pie starts with a flaky crust and a fruit (okay, or chocolate) filling. And the best part about fruit pi- the fruit is gluten free. The key is finding an easy to make, reliable gluten-free crust.
For beginners both Bob’s Red Mill and King Arthur offer packaged gluten-free crust mix. But once you sprout your wings you may want to give a made from scratch recipe a shot. And, assuming our wild affection for these bits of pastry wonder hasn’t dimmed your own interest, let’s get down to business and talk about some of our favorite pies to bring to all of your summer gatherings this season.
But first we will start with the crust.
Gluten free pie crust
- 1 cup cold water
- 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
- 2 cups plain gluten free flour blend
- 1/2 cup coconut flour
- 1 tsp xanthan gum
- pinch of salt
- 2 tbsp white sugar
- 1 3/4 sticks cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
- In a cup, mix together cold water and apple cider vinegar, and place them into the freezer until needed.
- Sift together the gluten free flour, coconut flour, xanthan gum, salt and sugar.
- Add the butter and toss it in the flour until all butter pieces are covered with it.
- Using your hands, pinch together the butter pieces and flour until you get a mix of fine pea-sized pieces and larger thumb-sized pieces.
- Add the ice cold water-vinegar mixture, 2 tbsp at a time, and mix the pie dough with a fork until it comes together. You will need 14 – 16 tbsp of water. The dough at the end should be slightly more damp/wet than typical pie crust because gluten free flour tends to absorb more moisture during baking, so we want to counteract that.
- Divide the pie dough into two halves, and shape each half into a disc (if needed, knead it slightly – but don’t overwork it!), wrap it into cling film and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.
- 2 1/2 cups fresh blackberries (frozen blackberries, thaw and drain them first)
- 1/2 cup white sugar
- 2 1/2 tbsp cornstarch
- 2 tbsp lemon juice
- zest of 1 lemon
- 1 egg, lightly whisked
- Pie crust
- Mix all blackberry filling ingredients together until evenly distributed.
- Set aside until needed.
Assembling the blackberry pie:
- Get an 8-inch round pie dish ready to have on hand.
- Remove one pie dough disc from the fridge and roll it out into a roughly circular shape about 1/8” thick. The pie dough circle should be at least 2 1/2 – 3 inches larger than the pie dish.
- Transfer the rolled out pie dough into the pie dish, and shape it so that it’s snug against the pie dish sides. Leave a bit of pie dough hanging over the edge – this will be used for crimping later.
- Transfer the blackberry filling into the pie dish and smooth it out.
- Roll out the other pie dough disc and use it to form a lattice or a pie crust lid on top of the filling.
- Crimp the edges, or (alternatively) cut away the excess pie dough and decorate the edges with a fork.
- Freeze the prepared pie for 15 to 30 minutes. This sets the butter and ensures that the pie keeps its shape in the oven.
- While the pie is freezing, pre-heat the oven to 390 ºF with a baking sheet inside.
- Just before baking, brush the pie crust lattice or lid with the egg wash and sprinkle with sugar.
- Bake the pie in the pre-heated oven at 390 ºF for 20 minutes and then reduce the oven temperature to 355 ºF and bake for a further 30 minutes, or until golden on top. The edges will start browning quicker – when they are a dark golden brown color, cover them with aluminum foil. (Take a square of aluminum foil that is slightly larger than the pie dish diameter and cut a circle with a diameter that is ~3/4 that of the pie dish).
- Allow to cool and enjoy! (Or eat it warm, with a scoop of ice cream on top – YUM!)
Classic Blueberry Pie
- 2 1/2 pounds frozen blueberries — defrost completely before using
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 1/4 cup cornstarch plus 1 Tablespoon extra to sprinkle over pie crust
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- finely grated zest of 1 lemon
- 1 Tablespoon fine sanding sugar to sprinkle over pie
- a little butter
- Defrost the blueberries overnight and drain any liquid that collects in the bowl. Mix with the other ingredients and keep chilled unless you are using straight away.
- Once again, drain any liquid that collects in the bowl before filling the pie.
- Lightly dust your worktop with flour. Divide the dough into two pieces, keeping the one you are not using wrapped in the fridge.
- Roll out the dough to 12 inches in diameter and about 1/8-inch thick, and carefully drape over an 8-inch pie plate. Press the dough right against the edges.
- Use scissors to cut any excess dough, but leave a border hanging off the pie plate. Gather any scraps to use later. Chill in the fridge while you prepare the lattice and decorations.
- Roll out the remaining dough as in step 4. Cut into an even number of strips using a pastry or pizza cutter — I used two widths of strips: one narrow and one wide.
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit and set the shelf in the bottom third of the oven. Line a tray with baking paper.
- Take the prepared pie plate and sprinkle with 1 tablespoon cornstarch. Fill with the blueberries, piling them slightly higher in the center of the pie (make sure you drain any excess liquid first). Dot with small pieces of butter.
- Brush the edge of the pie with a little water. Lay half the strips vertically over the pie, spaced slightly apart.
- Fold back half the strips and lay a horizontal strip across the middle. Repeat with the remaining strips, folding back alternating vertical strips to create the lattice. Trim the edges, leaving a 1-inch overhang. Fold the edges under and crimp with a fork. Put the pie back in the fridge.
- Lightly whisk one egg with a tablespoon of milk or cream. Brush over the entire pie and then arrange the decorations around the edges. Brush them with egg wash and sprinkle with the sanding sugar. Chill for 30 minutes.
- Place the pie on the prepared tray and bake for 20 minutes. If it is browning too quickly, tent with some foil.
- Reduce the heat to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and bake for a further 45 minutes or until the pastry is golden and the filling just starts to bubble through the lattice. Transfer to a wire rack and cool for at least three hours before serving.
- 1 recipe Gluten Free Pie Crust
- 5-6 cups peeled and sliced peaches (about 8-9 medium or 6-7 large peaches)
- ¼ cup (35 g) cornstarch
- ¼ cup (30 g) tapioca starch (flour)
- ¾ cup (150 g) granulated sugar
- ¼ cup (50 g) brown sugar
- ½ tsp cinnamon
- ¼ tsp salt
- 2 tbsp butter, cold and cut into cubes
- 1 large egg mixed with 1 tbsp water and a pinch of salt
- Make pie crust according to instructions for two-crust pie. Chill as directed.
- Preheat oven to 450° F.
- Roll out the bottom crust and carefully place in pie pan. Cut to about ½ inch over edges of pie pan. Refrigerate while you prepare the filling.
- In a large bowl, add the sliced peaches and the next 6 ingredients. Stir gently until well mixed and set aside.
- Remove the pie plate with bottom crust from the fridge and pour the filling into the bottom crust. Dot with the butter cubes and set aside.
- Roll out the second half of the pie dough larger than the bottom crust. For a regular crust, gently roll the crust onto your rolling pin and unroll it over the prepared pie filling. Trim off any excess to within ½-inch overhang. Fold the edges of the top crust under the edges of the bottom crust and crimp as desired. Cut slits in the top to vent.
- For a lattice top crust, cut the large round in half with a pastry wheel or large knife. Cut each half in half again and then each into thirds, for a total of 12 strips. Place 6 strips onto the pie filling and fold every other one down (3 total) to where the fold nearly touches the edge of the bottom crust. Lay another strip perpendicular to those folded 3 strips and then unfold the 3 strips to lay flat again. Repeat this with alternating strips until you cover the entire pie with all of the 12 strips (see pictures and video for details). Cut off excess to the edge of the pie pan and roll the bottom crust over the strips. Crimp as desired.
- Brush with egg wash and sprinkle with sanding sugar or demerara sugar, if desired.
- Put the pie on a larger baking sheet lined with parchment paper to catch any drips. Bake at 450° F for 10 minutes. Lower to 350° F and bake for another 35 minutes, or until there is no resistance when a knife is inserted in one of the slits. The baking time will depend on how ripe your peaches are. If the crust begins to get too brown, cover loosely with foil.
- Remove from the oven and cool to room temperature before slicing. Serve at room temperature or slightly warm with vanilla ice cream, freshly whipped sweetened cream, or plain. Pie may be covered and stored at room temperature for a few days, or can be refrigerated for about 4-5 days, if it lasts that long