Shauna of Gluten-Free Girl and the Chef announced on Facebook a few days back that it was Pie Day on July 5. We were to have a Pie Party! Who was I to turn down that opportunity? I love pie. All kinds of pie – fruit pies, cream pies, pecan pies – you name it, I’m up for it. I would take pie over cake any day of the week. So I made plans to make pie this past weekend. Besides, I’ve been working to perfect my pie crust recipe, and so what better time than now?
I found some amazing, deliciously ripe strawberries at the farmer’s market on Saturday. Due to the sweltering heat, however, they weren’t going to last. They were “eat-today-or-die” strawberries. I immediately took that as an opportunity to make a pie stuffed with strawberries. I opted to throw some blueberries in the filling as well, as I didn’t have enough strawberries, and besides, red and blue just seemed appropriate for the Independence Day weekend.
After rolling out my pie crust, stuffing the pie with sweetened berries, and successfully topping it with a second crust (not easy to do with a fragile gluten-free crust!), I anxiously waited while the pie bubbled away in the oven. Which also had the unfortunate side effect of heating up the kitchen – it seems that even though our house is pretty efficient, our air conditioning still can’t keep up with a 100-degree day and the oven, once 4 or 5 o’clock rolls around. It was a somewhat sweaty affair by the end. So you see, I made some pretty serious sacrifices, all in the name of pie.
Once the pie cooled, we dug in. It was juicy, with a crisp, flaky crust. The verdict? Definitely tasty enough to consider a success. However, I’m still tweaking that pie crust recipe – I am considering omitting brown rice flour and using another flour next time. The crust still seems gritty in texture to me. Otherwise, I’m pretty happy with it. It rolls out nicely and with a bit of help from some egg wash, browns well. As for the filling, I think I cut the sugar back a bit too much, but it did make for a lighter dessert. Next time, however, I think another 1/4 cup of coconut palm sugar would do the trick. Regardless, I was happy to enjoy another piece the following evening. And I’m half-wishing I had a slice right about now, as a mid-morning snack. Because after all, it’s pie.
Strawberry-Blueberry Pie (Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free)
Pie Crust (adapted from Simply Sugar and Gluten-Free)
1 c brown rice flour (considering using millet flour next time, or a mix of different flours)
1/2 c sorghum flour
1/2 c potato starch
3 T sweet white rice flour
1/2 t fine sea salt
7 T palm shortening, placed in freezer for about 20 minutes to harden
1 cold large egg
2 T apple cider vinegar
2 T agave nectar
1/4 c ice water
Heat oven to 425 degrees.
Whisk together rice flour, sorghum flour, potato starch, sweet white rice flour, and salt. Remove the shortening from the freezer and dice into small pieces. Place it evenly around the flour, and with a pastry blender, a fork, or your hands, mix until the flour has a mealy texture and the largest pieces of shortening are the size of small peas.
Lightly beat the egg in a small bowl. Add the vinegar and agave to the egg and beat well. Pour egg mix into the flour mix and stir until just incorporated. Next, drizzle some of the water over the flour mixture and stir in, just until the dough starts to come together. Add more water as you need, but don’t make the dough too wet. It should look “shaggy”. Push the dough together with your hands and place on a large piece of plastic wrap. Shape the dough into a ball, and flatten with your hands. Wrap the plastic wrap around the dough and place in refrigerator for 45 minutes to 1 hour, or up to overnight.
If it’s been several hours since your dough was placed in the refrigerator, allow it to sit out on the counter for 15-20 minutes before working it. Otherwise, place a handful of the dough between 2 sheets of plastic wrap (tape bottom piece to the counter for easy rolling) and roll out in a large circle about 1/8 inch thick. (You can store the rest in the refrigerator while you work on the dough piece by piece) If the plastic gets wrinkles in it, you can pull it up from the dough and lay it back down to keep rolling.
Peel top piece of plastic wrap from dough, and un-tape the bottom piece from counter. Place 8-inch pie pan upside-down on top of dough, and lifting from underneath the bottom piece of plastic wrap, quickly flip the dough and pie pan simultaneously so that the pie crust is now laying on top of the pan, right-side up. Press the dough down into the pan, and carefully peel away the plastic wrap. Pinch away the excess pie crust. You should have enough to roll out another, slightly smaller, circle using the same technique.
1 lb strawberries, hulled and cut in half
1 lb blueberries
1/4 c coconut palm sugar (considering doubling next time)
1/2 c potato starch
2 T lemon juice (or juice from 1 lemon)
2 t lemon zest (or zest from 1 lemon)
1 vanilla bean, seeds scraped
Combine filling ingredients together in a medium bowl. Fill bottom pie crust with filling. Place second crust on top, and crimp around edges to seal. Cut holes in center to vent.
1 egg +2 T water, whisked (for egg wash)
Brush crust with egg wash. Bake at 425 degrees for 35 minutes or until crust is browned and berries are bubbling. Remove from oven and allow to cool for 30 minutes before slicing. Serves 8.