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Mama’s Pie Crust Tips

When I am out at gluten free trade shows, cooking classes, or on the phone with customers, one of the biggest things people have trouble with is making pies.  Some people are so afraid to make a pie that they don’t even try.  Maybe they tried making normal pies before and had a disaster, or perhaps there first attempt at gluten free pies was disastrous, or maybe you have watched grandma make them and thought you could never make it like grandmas.  Are you one of those people?  Don’t worry, I was too.  I wrote my first cookbook, and contracted the pie recipes out to the sweet gal who helped me edit the book.  It wasn’t until about almost two years in baking gluten free that I finally decided to overcome my fear of making pie crusts.  I like to do things the easy way, so I prepared these tips below that will help you have success too! Living gluten free does not mean you can’t enjoy pies! Baking pies is easy with Gluten Free Mama’s simple tricks and when using Gluten Free Mama’s pie crust recipes you are sure to have not only a pretty pie but a great tasting pie crust.

Preparing the Dough

  • First Start with Mama’s Pie Crust Mix or any of Mama’s Pie Crust, Quiche or Tart recipes in Mama’s second cookbook, In the Kitchen with Gluten Free Mama.
  • Prepare Dough as directed on package or recipe.
  • Decide if you are making it with dairy or dairy free. If you are making it dairy free, you can replace the butter with dairy free margarine, coconut oil, or spectrum shortening. If using the margarine or coconut oil, partial melt it in microwave for 20-30 seconds. I recommend spectrum shortening because it is non-hydrogenated, made with palm oil and soy free.   Shortening use at room temperature.
  • Cut in dough with fork. (A pastry cutter will just get all gummed up.)
  • When preparing dough you will add cold water.  Don’t be afraid to add 1 Tbsp. at a time extra water until you get a nice moist dough ball.  You want it to be like the texture of playdough, but more moist.  If it crumbles, it needs a little bit more water.  Everyone’s house is a little different temperature, so sometimes you will only need 8 Tbsp. water sometimes you will need more.  With pie crust it is okay to use more.

Rolling Out Dough

  • Roll dough between two piece of wax paper that has been lightly sprayed with cooking spray. Roll out to 1/8-1/4 inch thickness.  This helps achieve a nice evenly rolled out dough, and prevents the sticky, gummy mess of using a rolling pin directly onto the dough.

It’s so easy, even Macie, 4 years old gave it a try!  

  • Gently peel back the top layer of wax paper.
  • Carefully flip over onto pie pan.
  • Gently peel back remaining layer of wax paper, allowing the crust to naturally fall in to place in the pie pan. Press the dough into the edges of pan. Gently peel off wax paper.
  • Make small repairs as necessary.  Remember that gluten free pie crust is forgiving, much like playdough.  If there is a hole just break of a piece of the overhang and gently press it into the hole.
  • Trim off overhang, leaving about 1/4- 1/2 inch overhang.  Seal the edges by folding the crust edges under, gently pressing it to seal around the rim of the pie. (see below) If making a double crust, trim overhang to the edge of pie pan.
  • If making a double crust, fill pie pan with pie filling, then roll the top crust out and peel back top layer of wax paper. Gently flip crust over and very gently peel back remaining piece of wax paper trying to prevent breakage or tearing of dough.  Trim overhang to about 1/4-1/2 inch, and roll edges under.  Flute the edges. (See below)
  • Remember this: If you mess up, it’s easy to make small repairs.  Don’t worry, nobody will see your repairs or ever know.  Also, if you roll it out and it just falls apart or doesn’t work.  Just take it and form it into a nice dough ball again, add a teaspoon or so of water, work it in and start over.  Simple as that.  You can not overwork gluten free pie dough.  If you notice any gaps or tears in your crust, just take some excess dough from the overhang and gently press it into the gaps filling them in.  Simple as that!
  • For a video lesson, Watch Gluten Free Mama demonstrate making gluten free pies at the Salt Lake City Gluten Free Expo.  Click Here to Watch.

Fluting the Edges

  • Take a fork and just use the edges and press into the crust all the way around the edge of the crust.
  • Take your second and third finger and place them on the inside of the rim and place your thumb on the opposite side and squeeze together. Repeat. This will create a scalloped edge.
  • Take the edge of your pinky finger and gently press into the dough at an angle all the way around the edges creating a wave like design.
  • Take a spoon, with the tip facing the center of the pie, press the spoon into the dough with the edge at the inside edge of the rim. Then move it back in the same spot about 1/4 inch, pressing gently again. Repeat all the way around. This makes a beautiful decorative edge.
  • Roll out extra dough. Using miniature cookie cutter, cut out shapes like leaves or apples and press the cutouts centered on the rim in sets of two or three, leaving a few gaps if desired around the edge of the pan. Be sure to not let the edge of the cutouts hang to far over, because they could break when removing pie from oven.

Other Tips

  • Do not put dough in refrigerator.  You can after it’s rolled out and fluted, but not before you roll it out.
  • Choose a good 10 inch ceramic pie plate or pyrex glass pie plate. For quiches use a pie plate that has 2 inch sides.
  • For gluten free pie crusts it is easier to cut butter in with a fork.
  • Use wax paper for rolling out or use a good silicone pastry mat. Pampered Chef™ has a great pastry mat.
  • For a shiny crust or crust edge, baste lightly with an egg white.
  • To prevent spilling in the oven, bake pie on a foil lined baking sheet or place baking sheet on lower rack to catch any unwanted spills.
  • Make a foil ring to go around the edge of pie to prevent over-browning. Or simply just carefully cover the entire pie with foil about 1/2 way through baking.
  • Cool pies on wire racks. The wire racks allow the air to circulate around the pie, preventing the crust from getting soggy.
  • You can use pie crust to make cobblers too.  Fill your pie pan with your fruit filling.  Roll out dough. Peel back top layer of wax paper.  Baste the top of the dough with water.  Sprinkle with sugar or sugar and cinnamon.  Break off about 2 inch size pieces of dough and place randomly over the fruit.  Or use a mini cookie cutter and cut out shapes, randomly place over fruit.  Bake as directed.

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