I have been very lazy where pie crusts are concerned. In the past, I have resorted to press-in types, because I didn’t like fussing with rolling them out. For health’s sake, I also tried whole wheat versions with oil rather than shortening. No one gave rave reviews over those. Then during the low-fat craze, my crusts became even less tasty and harder to get out of the pie plate. Rarely were there pies coming out of my kitchen. Then I had to give up wheat and figured that completed the demise of pies for me.
If any of this sounds familiar, I want to jump up and down and shout that it doesn’t have to end this way for you! I have found the solutions to my problems.
First of all, let me just say that organic virgin coconut oil is the biggest answer to all of your crust problems, whether wheat or gluten-free. This stuff is amazing and has many health benefits. Even though you start with solid coconut oil, as you work the crust you do not have to worry about the warming from your hands melting it and causing it to destroy the crust. It actually makes it easier to work with the crust!
The second answer to crust problems for those with gluten-free needs is a product called Orgran gluten substitute. This is made in Australia, but is available through Amazon I am told. A friend shared a box with me and I was hooked. PLEASE note, that you do not have to use this in this recipe, as I’ve given another option, but it is the easiest to make when you do. It is primarily starch-based with some “-oses” and guar gum. If you do not like to use those things, I’ll tell you how to skip it.
When I used the Orgran product, I both pressed in a crust and rolled out a crust. (Pictured above are both – the press-in in the foreground with no edging and the rolled out in the background with a crinkled edge.) The crust was so pliable and workable, that rolling it out was easy! If I tore the crust, it easily patched with a little pressing and rolling. Warming the ball of dough and kneading it a bit allowed for the best workability. When baked into a pumpkin pie, it was flaky, tender, and the best crust I had tasted in a long time! Everyone liked it. Success! And it popped out of the pie plate without sticking, making for a pretty piece of pie on each plate.
The next time I did not use the Orgran and substituted more oat flour. The crust still worked, but it was not as pliable and tended to want to stick to my rolling pin. With some patience and extra warmth/kneading, it still worked well. When baked into a pumpkin pie, it came out of the pan easily and was tasty, but it wasn’t as flaky and tender. It had a tendency to crumb a little more. The crust in this picture of pie is using the extra oat flour, as is the whole pie pictured below. You can see that it doesn’t fall apart. I think it is a viable option, and definitely a cheaper one. I am wondering as I write this if I used melted coconut oil whisked with the water if that wouldn’t help even more with the texture of the finished product and the pliability of the dough. I will have to continue experimenting.
Another great thing about this crust is that if you want a fancy edge, it will handle the extra grief needed to produce one. On the other hand, if you want to just bring the crust up even to the edge of your pie plate and hack it off there, smoothing the edge, it works, too! How can you not love such a versatile crust?
I have only worked this into a single crust pie. I do not know how the more fragile no-Orgran crust will behave in a top-crust situation, but the one with the Orgran should be fine.
This makes 3, 9″ deep-dish single crusts with a little left over when you trim the crusts. (If you saw my pumpkin pie recipe, you know that I have 3 pie plates to accommodate that recipe. Thus the strange number of crusts.) You can decrease the recipe to make a smaller amount if you have smaller pans or want fewer pies.
Gluten-free Pie Crust
- 1 c. almond meal
- 1 c. brown rice flour
- 1/4 c. arrowroot
- 1/4 c. tapioca flour
- 1/2 c. Orgran gluten substitute or oat flour
- 1 c. oat flour
- 1 1/2 – 2 tsp. salt (with a sweet pie the 2 tsp. seemed a little too much)
- 1 c. solid coconut oil (measure and refrigerate if necessary during the summer heat)
- 10 T. cold water
Mix dry ingredients in a mixing bowl. Cut in the coconut oil until it is well mixed into the flour. There should be smaller-than-pea-sized pieces formed when you are done. Quickly stir in the cold water and knead/squeeze until the dough becomes well formed. Divide into 3 equal balls of dough. Onto waxed paper, roll out each circle of dough*. If using the oat-flour-only option and it sticks to the rolling pin, use a lighter touch and be patient. Transfer the crust to each pie pan by inverting the waxed paper over the pan. Carefully peel off the waxed paper and fit the crust into the pan. If there are splits or tears, just press the crust together. Trim the top edge, finishing it as you would like. Fill and bake according to pie’s directions.
*Another option would be to press the dough into each pan evenly and proceed with filling.