Tomorrow is not only Chinese New Year but also National Pie Day, so we're starting the party early...
If you're gluten free, you may think your pie eating days are over. Think again.
There are really only two types of pie crust - crumb and rolled pastry.
Crumb crusts are probably the easiest type of crust you can make. Take out your aggression on a zipper bag full of graham crackers or sandwich cookies, add some melted butter and press in a pan. Ok, you need to know how much of each, but really, you can make this first thing in the morning before you've even had your coffee. It's true!
For a good gluten free crumb crust, crush up one box of S'Moreables Graham Crackers OR 1 package of Glutino chocolate sandwich cookies. Add 1 stick of melted butter to crumbs, and stir til well combined. Press into the pan of your choice, fill as desired or directed in a recipe. I used this basic recipe to make a chocolate cream pie and a raspberry cheesecake. If you'd like, you could even add a tablespoon or two of sugar to the graham cracker crumbs along with about 1/4 teaspoon of cinnamon.
Now for the lovely pie seen above...
Blueberry is Hubby's second favorite pie. In fact, for many years, I made him a blueberry pie for his birthday. Here's the recipe:
SPH Gluten Free Blueberry Pie
4 c. frozen blueberries, defrosted WITH THEIR JUICE
3/4 c. white sugar
3 T. cornstarch
1/4 t. salt
1 box Gluten Free Pantry (brand) made per package directions
1 c. Gluten Free Pantry (brand) All Purpose Flour
Melted butter - few tablespoons
Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
Make the crust per package directions, adding the extra flour with the dry ingredients. Divide dough into quarters. Use two quarters to make your base crust. Press it into a 9" pie pan with your fingers, trying to keep it a consistent thickness. Prick with a fork. Place into oven, and bake for 15 minutes. Roll out 1 more quarter on wax paper with a light dusting of gluten free all purpose flour, and cut into desired shapes with a cookie cutter to decorate the top of your pie. Reserve the final quarter of dough for later (recipe to follow later today).
Meanwhile, combine all filling ingredients in a large metal pan. Simmer over medium heat for about 10-12 minutes (I cook mine until the crust comes out of the oven).
Let the crust stand a few minutes to cool slightly, then fill with blueberry mixture. Top blueberries with shaped dough cut-out. Brush shapes with butter and sprinkle with a little sugar. Bake at 425 for about 30 minutes. Allow to cool completely before serving.
Most fruit pies don't have a pre-baked crust. I have found with gluten free baking that most items are better pre-baked. Otherwise, they tend to be soggy and gummy. And that makes them anything but appetizing. Also, I never had good luck with a fancy lattice crust before I went gluten free, so there's no way I'm going to bother now. Your pie can look just as nice without it - just add that "little touch" like the cut out shapes.
And truth be told, my favorite gluten free pie crust is the premade kind I can get at Whole Foods. Guaranteed success every time, and great flavor and texture! However, the crusts are not always in stock, you may not have a Whole Foods near you, or you may now want to spend the extra money. This recipe will give you a really good Plan B.
Happy Pie Day, and happy eating!