Gluten Free Pies Don’t Have to Be Boring

Thanksgiving is a challenge for chefs, especially with the recent spike in food allergies and intolerances (relatively). We all have an allergy or intolerance to anything, and it’s hard to please all the people all the time. In my family alone, there are four different people with five different “no-eat-this” problems, one of which is gluten-free. But even non-gluten users deserve pies, so we’re going to take a look at gluten-free crusts.

This week, I’m comparing my initial pie crust experience with two contenders: Bob’s Red Mill’s glutenfree pie crust mix and a gluten-free version of her own Stella Parks pie crust. I will test for tenderness, flaking and blind-baking properties of the crust – for example, whether the crust will shrink or crack. I have too much pudding in my pantry, so we’re going to make some quick pudding pies and see how each one holds up.


Since this is a ready-made mix, there isn’t much to add here. Take the bag off the shelf and add only water and oil. You will need a food processor (or pastry blender and forearms like Popeye) to make the crust, but nothing more. If speed is your game, then Bob’s game is for you. Each bag can be used to make two single-crust cakes or one double-crust cake. I bought the mix at a sale for $ 3.50, which is almost double the price of a regular gluten crust in the same supermarket. Ouch.


Stella’s crust is covered in scratches, which means you’ll need to purchase the ingredients and put in a little effort. In the long run, this will be a less costly option for those who regularly bake gluten-free baked goods because you break down the cost of a serving by ingredient. Alternatively, you can add these ingredients to other meals. Tapioca flour is great for thickening fruit pie fillings, and coconut flour can go just about anywhere wheat flour is . Thanks to my ongoing relationship with the Whole30, I had almost everything I needed, all I needed was rice flour and xanthan gum.

Xanthan gum, in addition to sounding like it’s named after thebeast of the week, Voltron , is a binder found in just about every cooked or packaged food you’ve ever seen – almost perfect for gluten-free baked goods. … replacement of the special stickiness of gluten. Rice flour is a great substitute for gluten-free wheat flour. However, there is such a thing as sweet rice flour, which in my case was on the shelf next to the one I was looking for. Be careful to choose the right one – sweet rice flour is made from short-grain rice and has a much higher starch content. It is more commonly used as a thickener rather than a pie crust.

Where do they look alike

Each crust is much drier than I’m used to. I could roll the stella too thin, but it sticks together easily. Fluting is not my forte, so I brought a call to my mother. You can’t even see my poor corrugation since she came in and fixed it. Both crusts are blind-baked well, using the method Stella elaborates on in Serious Eats: slower heat and longer times and a bonus of delicious toasted sugar as weight for the pie. Since they contain mostly similar ingredients, I wasn’t expecting much less. There was some adhesion on the aluminum foil, but nothing that could irreversibly damage the crusts.

Where do they differ

Scratch recipes will always be more complex, but Stella’s recipes should be some of the simplest I’ve tried. The difference is that you are working with your hands, not a food processor, which made me question the convenience of using the mixture. Seriously – the method is the same as her gluten crust and takes two or three minutes longer than mixing. Plus, Bob’s uses potato starch instead of coconut flour and slightly more fat – 20 ounces compared to the 16 ounces used in Stella’s recipe. In addition, the coconut flour used in the Stella rind was slightly more flavorful than the finished bean potato starch. Using the food processor, Bob became a lot more like the pie crust I’m used to seeing – those 10 blitz resulted in a well-distributed butter. However, it was much drier than Stella’s recipe. I added one and a half tablespoons of ice water in addition to the standard six, which resulted in a much better texture. Rolling it out to fill the pie plate was a different story. The dough was much cooler and cracked easily from the soft touch of my rolling pin. It was recyclable, but I have to hand it over to Stella – it’s much easier to roll and carry. In general, they are much drier and crumbly compared to traditional wheat flour rind. Take extra care when rolling and moving towards the cymbal.

Taste test

Gluten-free will never replace a traditional pie crust, but if that’s not an option for you, don’t worry. They are both amazing and I can’t pick a clear winner. Both are (unsurprisingly) buttery, and the similarity of the ingredients doesn’t make a noticeable difference in taste when laid under a pile of chocolate pudding.

That’s the beauty of blind baking – the crisp backs up whatever you can throw at it. Neither crust is what you would call “flaky” – they are crisper and crispier, but surprisingly complex in flavor.


If for some reason you are switching to a gluten-free diet, I highly recommend Stella’s recipe. With a variety of ingredients on hand, it’s a great way to prepare something delicious and different. If you’re just looking to cook something for gluten-sensitive guests, it’s hard to beat the pre-made mix. To be honest, they were really good crust, one of the best alternatives I have ever had. As someone who usually gets a cake instead of cake for his birthday (the curse of birth shortly before Thanksgiving), I can absolutely tell the difference, but it’s hardly a bad thing. If you told me it was a vodka crust , I would believe you.


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