Let Them Eat Gluten-Free Pastry

I just got back from a week in England, where I visited friends on the Isle of Wight. We made dinner earlier this week, and in honor of the circumstances, I wanted to make something patently English: a savory pie. I don’t think I’ve ever made one before—not even a chicken potpie as a kid—so I was extremely (even inappropriately) excited to try my hand.

I found an amazing recipe for salmon and leek pie on Epicurious.com (recipe to follow), but I ran into a little roadblock with the crust: I had no go-to recipe. I had flirted with flours, bought guar gum and xantham gum, flipped through recipes, even bought a prepackaged mix that is still sitting in my cabinet at home—but one way or another, it just hadn’t happened yet. Horrifying, I know.

So I did a little research, and came up with this simple recipe from the ingredients I had on hand. It makes a flaky, buttery, and fantastic crust whose only flaw is that it is, like all baked goods with no gluten, a little crumbly. It yields enough to line two 9” pie pans or one 9″ pie with crust on top and bottom. And if you are making a dessert crust, toss in a handful of sugar with the dry ingredients before mixing.

Quick tip: make sure you chill the dough thoroughly before you bake it (at least one hour, but overnight is even better). If it warms up or gets sticky as you’re working with it, stick it back in the fridge until it gets cool again. This dough also freezes well for later use.

Another tip: if you don’t have a food processor, you can use two knives to cut the butter into the flour by dragging them across the dough in opposite directions. (See photo below.)



Gluten-Free Pastry

For crust:

  • 1 1/2 cups self-rising gluten-free flour
  • 1/2 cup corn starch
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • ½ tsp. xantham gum
  • 12 tbsp. unsalted butter, chilled and cubed
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • 1 tbsp. ice water plus more as needed


  • 1 egg yolk, lightly beaten, for glaze

Mix or sift dry ingredients together. Mix chilled butter in by either pulsing in a food processor or cutting with two knives until the mixture resembles coarse, dry pea-size crumbs. Add egg and mix until just incorporated. Add ice water, repeat. Squeeze dough in hand; if it’s very crumbly, add drops of ice water until dough sticks just enough to form a ball. Scrape onto a floured (use GF flour!) work surface and form into two rounds. If there are larger chunks of butter left, kneed the dough just enough to smooth it. Wrap dough in waxed paper or saran and chill for at least one hour.

When you are ready to assemble pie, pre-heat oven to 350F. Roll dough out between two floured pieces of waxed paper. Peel away paper and place crust in pie dish. Perforate crust all over with a fork (you may crimp the edges if you like), and parbake in the oven until crust puffs very gently and feels lightly firm to the touch and is just golden. Add filling, cover with additional crust, brush with egg yolk, and bake until crust is shiny and golden brown.

Two knives technique:

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