“Are pies gluten free, mama?” my Hungry Caterpillar asked out of the blue one day.

“Well, they can be,” I replied hesitantly, anticipating the next question.

“Oh good! Can we have pie then?” And so I started looking into one of the gluten-free alternatives I feared most: pie crust! I mean, think about it: a traditional flour crust, with its few ingredients, is not easy to master and will often come out overcooked and chewy if it is not made just right. Gluten free baking is already a bit tricky, so pie crust? Pfft! Not something I want to endeavor, especially right before the holidays where pie takes a starring role at the table.

Enter: the frozen pie crust. I don’t do it too often, but I figured I would give the pre-made a try. After all—I am not going to deny the boy his pie. The results? Not too bad!

Crust # 1: Gillian’s

Gillians

This crust looked nice, with the styled edges but it was a bit difficult to handle before it was cooked, as a small piece broke off and crumbled a bit in my hand. Because it seemed so fragile, I did not cover the edges in foil, which worked out fine—the crust was not burned in the slightest by the time the filling was cooked. As for flavor, I would say it was vaguely reminiscent of a graham cracker crust, so very tasty, and the texture was also along those lines. Also, once baked, the crust was much more “sturdy” and though a bit difficult to cut the first slice, it held up pretty well when slicing the rest of the pie.

Crust #2: Wholly Wholesome

Wholly Wholesome

This crust looked like a real pie crust, and after the blind bake, even more so. The flavor was bland, and in my opinion better suited for something savory like a quiche or pot pie. That being said, my expectation for anything gluten free is that it will be sweeter and the taste was not bad, just not what I expected. The texture was a bit chewy, and like the other crust, the first slice was hard to remove, but after that it sliced up pretty nicely (and was thoroughly enjoyed).

Now, onto the filling! For this experiment, the Hungry Caterpillar requested pumpkin pie, and since I had a lovely Hubbard squash (otherwise known as an ‘ugly squash’ I am told) on the counter, I was happy to oblige. This guy (pictured) yielded more than 4 cups of pumpkin puree, leaving enough left over to make gluten free pumpkin pie pancakes!

Pumpkin Puree from Scratch
  • 2 Cups Pumpkin Puree
  • 2 Eggs, lightly beaten
  • 3/4 Sugar in the Raw
  • 1 tsp each of cinnamon, nutmeg and freshly ground ginger
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 Cup half & half

Stir everything together (it will be soupy, don’t get nervous!) and pour into your crust. Both of these crusts say to follow your favorite recipe, so that is just what I did– each pie was baked at 350 until the filling set, about 45 minutes or so.

Have you tried a gluten free pie crust that is not mentioned above? Please let us know what you think by leaving a comment!

~Jenn Gizerian, The Locavore’s Lunchbox

Advertisements