For dessert, we ended up going for pumpkin pie. Traditionally, we don't have pumpkin pie at Pumpkin-Fest, but with this year's guest list, it seemed like a good time to try out a gluten-free pie crust without anyone being disappointed if it didn't turn out. Hildegard said that she has a recipe that uses potato flour (not starch) that is OK, but not great. I used the shortening crust recipe from "The Pie and Pastry Bible" by Rose Levy Berenbaum, substituting 2:1 Jowar/Tapioca Flour for the pastry flour, because that is the basic mix I am using for everything these days. I also added 1 ½ tsp Xanthan gum, because another Jowar crust recipe I have used that much. I'm not sure what effect the Xanthan gum has on a pie crust, because you don't really add enough water to get the helixes stretching out, like you would in a muffin batter. This is something to investigate further.
I got it to roll-out fine, but it cracked when I tried to pick it up to put it in the pie plate. Hildegard, who is the only person I know personally who has ever tried gluten-free pie crust, said that you just have to pat it into the pie plate. It really only had two big cracks, so it was mostly a uniform thickness. I'm not sure whether patting it into the pie plate gets you a better crust than that, but it would save time rolling out a crust that is going to break anyway. I'm thinking about adding an egg, which was anathema to me in the pre-gluten-free days, but might be appropriate now.
I filled the pie with pumpkin custard for which I'm sure you have plenty of recipes already, so you don't need mine. The only modifications were that I used rice milk instead of cow's milk, about 2/3 equivalents for real maple syrup instead of the sugar, and added an extra egg.
When I cut the pie, a bit of the crust broke off. I handed it to Hildegard, who popped it into her mouth. With wide eyes, she said "That tastes so good that I feel like I am going to be sick eating it!" Compliments sound different coming from celiacs, don't they? I was really pleased. Riley had eaten my Pastry flour/Butter crust before, so thiis was not going to be near that, in taste or texture, so Hildegard's reaction was the one I most cared to see.
Compared to my wheat flour crusts from the old days, it was a little crunchier, without being tough, and it wasn't as flaky. The Crisco wasn't as cold as it should have been when I mixed it up, so I would have been surprised if it had turned out very flaky, anyway. And, as mentioned, it wasn't as malleable when rolled out. This wasn't a really discerning crowd, as far as pie crust goes, but it satisfied the wheat-eaters, who didn't have any comment on it.
Hildegard is taking a pie to her brother's for regular American Thanksgiving this week, and asked me to teach her to make this crust. I'll try using colder shortening, and maybe a second crust with egg, so see if that makes it more malleable. Perhaps if I mix the Xanthan gum with the egg first, and add it in a separate step from the shortening? Any suggestions are welcome.
9 Tbsp Shortening
1 ½ c 2:1 Jowar/Tapioca Mix
½ tsp salt
1 ½ tsp Xanthan Gum
6Tbsp water (or more)
Sweet Rice flour for dusting.
1. Mix flour mixture with salt and Xanthan Gum.
2. With pastry blender, cut in shortening until chunks are pea-sized. Drizzle in water 1 Tbsp at a time until dough starts to clump together.
3. Cool in refrigerator.
4. Roll out, carefully, dusting surface with sweet rice flour to prevent it sticking to the rolling-pin.
5. Carefully peal crust off the pastry board with a spatula. Transfer to 9 inch pie plate.
6. Mash dough pieces from what used to be a rolled-out crust into pie plate.
7. Pour in pie filling, and bake until set.