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22 November 2010

gluten-free, vegan pie crust

pumpkin pie III

Thank you to everyone who contributed such delicious recipes for our gluten-free Thanksgiving challenge. My goodness, people! Not only did the original bloggers who posted about their own gluten-free baking challenge blow me away, but the hundreds and hundreds of links to great gluten-free food in the comments could keep anyone baking for months on end.

If this is your first gluten-free Thanksgiving, there is no need to suffer. None at all.

However, I know that a number of you out there have problems with dairy, as well as gluten. Others can't eat eggs. Some of you are vegan by choice. Trying to bake without gluten, dairy, or eggs can be daunting.

That's why we've made you some pumpkin pie.

pumpkin pie I

GLUTEN-FREE, DAIRY-FREE, EGG-FREE PIE DOUGH (and still mighty delicious)

Danny and I spent much of this fall trying to come up with gluten-free, dairy-free, egg-free dishes for Thanksgiving. Pie was top of the list. For me, Thanksgiving just isn't the same without pie.

I'm happy to report that not only is this pie crust great, but it may be my favorite pie crust of all the ones we have baked. It's flaky without crumbling, layered with taste, and holds up well to the pumpkin filling. When Danny's parents visited us recently, we served them some of this pie. After eating an entire slice in pleasure, Danny's mom turned to me and said, "Do you remember that pie you made for us two years ago for Thanksgiving? This one is 200% better."

I agree.

If you want truly flaky crust, make this dough the way you would make a rough puff pastry. Starting with a shaggy dough, then folding, chilling, rolling out, folding, and rolling out, then chilling before putting rolled-out dough into a pie pan makes a super-flaky crust, light as air. However, since it's just before Thanksgiving, I put the much easier version here. Later you can perfect your crust.

Feel free to substitute the fats of your choice. I tried coconut oil here but I just didn't like it. The coconut oil melted in the crust, making it run. And also, the pie tasted like coconut, which didn't thrill me. I've been told that palm oil, which I have not worked with yet, is great in vegan baking. Perhaps you can tell us what works best for you?

For the filling, I used this recipe. Other than being a bit heavy on the molasses (I would probably cut it out next time), this filling was delicious. I like the idea of using a simple syrup for the sugar, since that thickens the filling without using eggs. I might just do that for our Thanksgiving dinner this week.

Enjoy, everyone.

2 ounces sorghum flour
2 ounces corn flour
2 ounces potato starch
3 ounces sweet rice flour
1 teaspoon each xanthan gum and guar gum
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 ounces vegan buttery sticks (we like the one by Earth Balance)
2 ounces Crisco
3 ounces water (approximately)

Put the sorghum flour, corn flour, potato starch, and sweet rice flour into a large bowl. Whisk the flours to make them one flour. Add the xanthan and guar gum and salt.

Cube the buttery sticks and Crisco into 1-inch pieces. Lay them gently on the flours. Put the bowl in the freezer for 15 minutes.

Working quickly, take the bowl out of the freezer. Using a pastry blender or your hands, work the fats into the flours, coating the fat. Stop when the fats are the size of peas. Don't go too far. You still want to see the fats in the flours.

Pour the water onto the mixture. Stir gently with your hands. You are looking for the flours/fats to be just wet enough that it will stick together when you pinch it. You might need a tablespoon or two more water, depending on the day. If you add a bit too much water, that’s okay. It’s better than a dry dough.

Bring the dough together into a ball. Flatten it, gently, into a disc. Wrap this in plastic wrap.

Refrigerate the dough for at least 1 hour before working with it again.

Put the dough out of the refrigerator. Lay down 2 pieces of plastic wrap (you can also use wax paper or parchment paper), then put the disc of dough on top of the plastic wrap. Cover the disc with enough plastic wrap to be able to roll out the dough into a 10-inch circle.

Roll out the dough, from the center out, gently.

When you have rolled out the dough into a large circle, lift up the top layer of plastic wrap. Gently lift the pie dough and fit it into a 9-inch pie pan. Settle it in gently. Don’t stretch or push it around too much.

Don’t worry if the dough breaks. Take small pieces of the dough and fill in any holes, smoothing the dough with slightly moistened fingers. Crimp the edges of the pie dough.

Put the pie pan in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes.

Put a buttered piece of aluminum foil onto the bottom of the pie dough, nestling it gently against the sides. Fill the foil with dried beans.

Bake the pie dough at 400 degrees for about 20 minutes. Remove the beans and aluminum foil, carefully, then return the pie dough to the oven again, for about 8 minutes this time.

You now have a blind-baked pie crust, ready to finish with pumpkin filling.


At 12:43 PM, Blogger Lori said...

Great recipe. I can do eggs, SOME dairy, but no gluten and really, why would you when there are amazing recipe like this... yum. And thanks for the filling recipe too! I can't wait to start baking/cooking/recipe-making!

p.s. I just bookmarked your gluten-free stuffing recipe- thank you!

At 12:54 PM, Blogger Ellen said...

We're using a GF pie crust recipe that calls for 1/4 cup cream cheese, and it is really good (I found it on the blog "A Baking Life"). I haven't tried any others though, so I may have to give this one a try for Christmas!

I had some great GF treats at Saturday's Will Bake For Food event. People are doing some really great things with gluten free flours! I am totally impressed.

At 1:52 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

What a delicious pie recipe! It's so wonderful that it's also dairy-free. Thank you for sharing, Shauna!


At 2:30 PM, Blogger Megan said...

I was just doing a search for this last night. I will use palm shortening instead of Crisco because we cannot have soy either.

How about a pumpkin pie filling that is GF, dairy, egg, and soy free?

Oh, and when we still cooked with gluten I'd use vodka to my crusts to make them easier to work with. Would that help with GF crusts too?

At 5:25 PM, Blogger mama without instructions said...

Sounds great! I would like to try this crust w/my usual pumpkin filling but I don't usually blind bake for pumpkin pie. Does this crust require it?

At 8:56 PM, Blogger I Am Gluten Free said...

Terrific! I love that you came up with a GF and vegan pie crust. I'm making a Chocolate Pecan Pie tomorrow and will use your crust. I hope to blog about it tomorrow as well. Thank you Shauna and Danny!

At 10:57 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...


I've been walking the green mile on a GF/DF/EF pumpkin pie and by the looks of it...SCORE!

Thank you both so much, you really are my heroes.


At 12:24 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Gorgeous pie!
It's perfect, gluten-free and also dairy-free.
Thanks a lot:)

At 12:32 PM, Blogger Unknown said...

Any tips for a dairy-free pumpkin pie *filling*? I did a trial run with a recipe that used silken tofu in place of condensed milk and eggs, but the consistency wasn't quiet there. For lactose-intolerant me, who has gone without pumpkin pie for a few years now, the flavor was heavenly (and much missed), but the pie did not pass muster with the lactose tolerant. I would love to have one pie that could make everyone happy (and that no one will have to know is dairy-free). Ideas?

At 4:13 AM, Blogger Rebecca Leibowitz said...

I can't wait to make this pie crust recipe this morning (and my 2-year-old will be helping -- should be interesting!).

For Carly, who asked about making a dairy-free filling: For years I've made the pumpkin pie recipe on the Libby's can, simply substituting canned coconut milk for the canned condensed milk that the recipe calls for. I usually use the Thai Kitchen brand of coconut milk -- it's unsweetened and seems to have enough fat to help the pie filling come together. I LOVE the the way that pie filling comes out! It does taste of coconut, but to me that's a plus. Note: it has to bake longer than the recipe calls for, but does solidify in the end.

At 9:48 AM, Blogger Meg said...

Thank you, Shauna! I've been trying to find a tasty pie crust that I could eat and still please my non-gluten free Mother and gluten free-but-not-dairy-free father!

As usual, you're a gf life saver :)

At 5:08 AM, Blogger Vanessa said...

This looks great! Can't wait to try it out! (though we don't have a scale and it seems different flours are denser than others so a simple conversion to volume might not work).

One question though, is there a way to make the crust for top (for an apple pie for example)? We may just "wing it"....

Thanks for sharing!!

At 3:58 PM, Blogger moving on said...

I've really enjoyed some of the baked goods I've had with palm oil, but PLEASE make sure your palm oil is sustainably grown.

At 10:07 PM, Blogger Rebecca Leibowitz said...

Happy Thanksgiving everyone! I'm wondering if anyone can help me troubleshoot my pie crust. I had a lot of fun making it for Thanksgiving, but it did not come out the way I expected. I used our (non-digital) kitchen scale. I did not have guar gum, so I used 2 tsp xanthan gum (instead of 1 tsp). For the fats in the crust I used 4 oz of Earth Balance's soy-free, dairy-free spread, plus 2 oz of Spectrum's Palm Oil Shortening.

Assembling the flours and fats went well. The first difficulty was in rolling out the dough after it had been in the freezer. It was much thicker than I expected it to be (I rechecked the recipe to be sure it was for 1 crust, not 2). Maybe I'm just used to a thin crust? (Previously I was making Donna Jo's Dream Pastry -- a Bette Hagman recipe -- but it contains egg, which my toddler can't have.)

The main issue was that the crust was very hard and thick, making the pie difficult to eat. It didn't get flaky at all. I think the fats that I used did not contribute good flavor, either, and with a thick crust, that was a big issue (the taste was off putting). If the crust had been very thin, I might not have noticed the flavor of the fats as much (i.e. I've used just Spectrum Palm Oil shortening in really thin gluten-free crusts, and thought it tasted fine).

I can think of a few things I did that might have caused the crust to be so hard: 1) substituting the xanthan gum for guar gum; 2) trying the soy-free, dairy-free spread for the first time; 3) not trusting my instincts and rolling the dough thinner; or 4) putting too much shortening on the bottom of the foil used when the pie shell was pre-baking (I had to take it out early and sop up the oil from the crust - oops).

How did this go for everyone else? We're having a 2nd Thanksgiving meal on Saturday with our family, and I'm eager to bake Version 2 of the pie. :-) I'm going to figure this one out!

At 2:04 PM, Blogger Anna Wild said...

I'm a day late! My brother in law is gluten free and had to buy his own pie which didn't taste all that great. I"ll forward the recipe onto my sister though.

At 7:38 AM, Blogger G said...

OMG this looks amaaaaaazing!!!

At 10:42 AM, Blogger fitchick1978 said...

OMG.... I made this for Thanksgiving at my firestation, and prayed the guys would like it. I doubled the batch for a pumpkin pie, and a pecan pie. It was a hit. One of my crewmates said, "That was the best pie crust I've ever had!" THANK YOU!

At 8:12 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I made the same pie crust and wondered if it made two when I rolled it out. And my crust (I made a pecan pie) came out hard as a brick. Literally, it was impossible to cut. I was so disappointed.

I used my scale and the only thing I did differently was use Earth Balance shortening instead of Crisco, because that is what i had.

Wondering if others had the same issue ...

At 5:51 AM, Blogger Milla said...

I just want to thank you SO much for posting this recipe. 2 weeks before Thanksgiving, I got news from my doctor that I can no longer eat gluten, eggs, or dairy. And, I have been really struggling with that news, especially around the holidays. But, seeing this gives me HOPE!! Thank you, thank you, thank you.


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