I’ve got this donated bag of gram flour, which I discover is gluten-free. So I’m chatting with a friend who’s coeliac and whose husband happens to be vegan. She tells me about the difficulties of making pastry to suit the household. So I tell her about my mom’s oil pastry; how easy it is to make and how flaky it always turns out. I could try that with the gram flour, couldn’t I? We’ve just harvested some rhubarb and I wanted to make a pie this week anyway. Here’s what I came up with (it’s also vegan if you choose the right options):
Makes one 9-10 inch pie
|4 cups||Diced rhubarb (or 3 cups rhubarb and 1 cup raspberries)|
|1 cup||Granulated sugar|
|3 tablespoons||Corn starch/corn flour/ arrow root flour|
|2 cups||Gram flour (or your favourite gluten-free blend)|
|1 ½ teaspoons||Salt|
|½ cup||Vegetable oil|
|4 tablespoons||Milk /soy milk/water|
|2 tablespoons||Butter or margarine|
- Preheat oven to 450F/230C/gas mark 8
- Sift together dry filling ingredients, then mix with fruit. Set aside for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Sift together dry crust ingredients.
- Measure oil into a one-cup measuring cup, and measure milk into same container. Do NOT stir.
- Add liquids to flour; stir with fork.
- Divide dough into two balls.
- Place first ball between two sheets of waxed paper and roll to fit 10 inch pie dish.
- Lift off top paper, transfer to pie dish, then remove bottom paper.
- The sugar in the filling mixture should be fairly well dissolved by now.
- Spoon filling into pie shell, scraping the bowl clean with a rubber scraper.
- Dot with butter or margarine now. (I often forget; it makes a mess lifting the top crust off later.)
- Roll out top crust and transfer to pie.
- Crimp edges. Cut vents if there are no tears. Crumble up any scraps of crust and scatter on top.
- Place in oven, reducing heat immediately to 350F/180C/gas mark 4.
- Bake for about an hour. Top will be dark golden and crispy.
My first attempt at gluten-free baking focused on the gluten-free aspects in order to assess the chemical changes from my usual recipes for both filling and crust. The filling was fine, but I have to confess that the crust didn’t come out flaky. I know the crust works with either milk or water, and soy milk should make no difference, but I usually use milk, so that’s what I did this time. The gram flour is much heavier than the plain flour I usually use. The bottom crust tore when I transferred it from the paper to the pie plate, but sealed up reasonably well. It feels quite a lot oilier than I’m used to. However, it passed the most important test: my husband loved it, commenting favourably on the crispiness. I’ll probably make it again.
Based on the conversation I had with my friend, I assume you could lighten the heavy effect of the gram flour with a blend of gluten-free flours, and a bit of experimentation with the amount of oil might result in a pastry that is closer to traditional texture. I’m not sure if tears can be eliminated though, simply because of the lack of gluten. I would be happy to hear from anyone who tries this recipe, and any variations you give it.