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Homemade Flaky Pie Crust

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Description

This flaky pie crust is made with only white rice flour and tapioca starch, two staples for people new to gluten free baking. A pie made with a top and a bottom crust is a little more challenging than a simple bottom only tart shell.

One of the reasons pie crust is intimidating for home cooks is because they never make it. You can’t expect to be good at something you only do once a year. You need to make pastry a few times to increase your confidence and get the hang of the technique. A little practice is all it takes.

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Organize for Success – Measuring

Pastry can be intimidating to anyone and you might think gluten free pastry is even harder. Well it isn’t. Baking in general is more precise than cooking so there are a few rules you need to follow.

Be precise with your measurements. Liquid cups should sit on the counter and be read at eye level rather than holding the cup in the air. Dry cups should have flour scooped into them and then be levelled off with a straight edge.

Organize for Success – Tips for Baking

Chilled fat (butter and shortening) is one of the keys to making pastry in general. Butter provides flavour and shortening makes pastry flaky. Incorporating fat into the flour is a fairly easy step that can be done by hand with a pastry cutter or more quickly in a food processor.

A final tip is to use waxed paper or parchment on both sides of the dough. This makes it easy to flip the dough back and forth while shaping it to fit the pan. Pastry is delicate and the paper helps prevent it from tearing.

So if you are up for the challenge make a pie crust. Not once but two or three times over several weeks or all in one weekend…that is when the real learning happens. Then you will be surprised how much more confidence you have when you go to make a pie crust several months later.

I made my flaky pie crust and fit it into a large rectangular tart pan with a removable bottom. I love the ease of tart pans with a removable bottom and I have several different shapes and sizes. After the pastry is baked carefully remove the sides of the pan and place the tart onto a serving dish. But keep the pastry in the pan with the sides to prevent breakage in the freezer and keeps your pie safe during transport.

From Everyday to Gourmet Flaky Pie Crust

This tart was filled with vanilla cream and topped with fresh fruit. A glaze of melted jelly with a little liqueur gives it a shine and a gourmet look. Finish it off with some edible flowers for a simple, elegant gourmet look. I wrote this post about edible flowers if you are interested in growing your own.

I say homemade pie crust is easier than you think.  Try this recipe and let me know in the comments below what you thought.

Ingredients

1¼ cups white rice flour
1 cup tapioca starch
1 Tbsp sugar
½ tsp baking soda
½ tsp xanthan gum
½ tsp salt
½ cup vegetable shortening, cold and cut into chunks
¼ cup butter, cold and cut into chunks
½ cup cold milk

Directions

1
In a medium bowl or food processor measure the white rice flour, tapioca starch, sugar, baking soda, xanthan gum (see notes) and salt. Mix completely.
2
Add the butter and shortening and mix or pulse until the texture of a coarse meal with pea-size pieces.
3
Add the milk and mix until just combined.
4
Scrape from the bowl onto a piece of wax paper. Sprinkle with tapioca starch to form the dough into a ball that you can move around. Top with another piece of wax paper and pat down to form a disk. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours. *If desired divide the dough into 2 pieces and wrap them individually. This is preferable if you are making individual tarts.*
5
Place the cold pastry on the counter with wax paper on both sides. Peel top paper off and lightly dust the dough with tapioca starch. Flip it over and lightly dust the other side.
6
Put the wax paper back on top and using a rolling pin starting in the center, roll the dough out to the desired thickness (about ⅛ inch). Flip the dough over and peel the paper off both sides always replacing it as you like. Dust the dough with more tapioca starch if it is too wet.
7
Slip a flexible cutting board under the bottom wax paper. Peel off the top paper and carefully flip/place the pastry onto the tart pan. Gently lift the sides and push the pastry into the ridges on the edge of the pan. Use a knife, rolling pin or your hands to push off the overhanging pastry.
8
Prick the bottom of the pastry all over with a fork.
9
Bake in a 325°F oven for 18 minutes or until lightly browned.
10
Cool completely on a wire rack before filling. Fill as desired with vanilla cream, lemon curd or fruit pie filling.

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