It’s Thursday and in our house that means baking day!
Our littlest has been begging to make apple pie for weeks now. The book Farmer Boy has had a lot to do with this. I have no idea where that mother found time to bake so many pies, but it seems they are always eating some. My son is especially impressed that the boy often eats pie for breakfast.
Because of this it was no surprise to me when early Friday morning my son (without asking permission) helped himself to a slice of pie 🙂 I really couldn’t do anything but smile. It was at that moment I realized that breakfast pie was the real reason he was begging to bake one all along.
These are the moments I will cherish forever.
*Recipe for Simple Gluten Free Pie Crust*
makes one pie crust. Double if making a top layer
2 cups gluten free flour (I used Pamala’s Baking Mix)
1/2 teaspoon salt
8 Tablespoons frozen unsalted butter (or stick of dairy free butter)
5-10 Tablespoon very cold water
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar- Optional (add to cold water)
1) Mix dry ingredients into large bowl. Because it is so hot here, I sometimes put the bowl into the freezer for about 15 minute to chill.
2) Use a cheese grater to grate frozen butter onto a cold plate. Cut this into the dry ingredients until it resembles coarse meal.
3) Mix in cold water 1 Tablespoon at a time until the dough stays together when you make a ball. It should still be very crumbly, be careful not to over mix. You may want to chill the dough again for 15 minute if it has gotten warm and sticky.
4) Roll the dough between two pieces of parchment to about 1/4 inch or so. If you doubled the recipe for a top crust, divide the dough and set half aside. (If it is very hot, like at our house, you may want to chill again to keep the dough flaky.) Once the dough is rolled out and chilled. remove the top parchment and place dough first into your buttered pie pan. Carefully remove the second parchment and press the crust into pan. Prick holes into crust with a fork. Follow the recipe for your pie. Some need the crust pre-baked and some do not. If you are using a top crust, roll out the second ball of dough as you did the first. Keep this dough chilled and follow your recipe for filling and baking your pie.
Our recipe for the apple filling was pretty simple. We cut a bunch of apples, added cinnamon, clove, nutmeg, salt and honey to taste and simmered it low for about 20 minutes. We baked the pie at 350 until it was bubbling and starting to brown. You can use any filling recipe you like or experiment with your own!
We love grinding our own spices. To be totally honest, I don’t think I could tell the difference… we just really love the fun of grinding them to power.
This is a wonderful trick I learned from a real pie maker. He told me the trick to keeping the bottom crust from getting soggy was to always simmer the fruits in a pot first. This way the extra liquids boil off and you have a lovely syrup left over.
Here it is after simmering for about 20 minutes on low heat. It doesn’t look too lovely, but it tasted delicious. The other advantage to cooking it this way is that you can cook the fruit with all the spices and sweeteners and adjust the flavors before it is baked into the pie.
This is by far my new favorite baking trick! Freezing the butter first and then grating it. So brilliant. I can’t believe how many hours I’ve wasted cutting the cold butter with two knifes then a pastry blender. In the desert heat here, we did have to take frequent breaks to freeze so the butter did not soften as we worked.
This little wild one is so calm and focused when he is given a task. I love watching him work and channel all his energy to a focal point. When given a meaningful challenge he can stay focused for hours.
Gluten free dough is very sticky -or maybe it was the heat. At any rate I found that putting the dough between wax paper really helped us roll it out. The wax paper also made it easier to move the dough into the freezer from time to time to keep cold.
The original request was for a lattice weave on top… but I just could not work fast enough to keep the strips from softening and turning sticky. He graciously allowed me to just roll it out and add some hearts.
While the pie was baking, my son came running out to tell me it was done, “I just know it’s done mom, because I can smell it.”
I looked at the clock and it said 3:14 pm exactly. That was a gift of coincidence from the universe to me 🙂 I really wished our pie was done then, but alas it needed another 1o minutes.
From now on I will plan for all our pies to come out at 3:14!
Here it is, we were lucky enough to have a neighborhood friend stop by to play just as the pie was being served. The kids were so proud to share their work. I think the pie tasted better because we were able to share it.
Also, notice that the filling is still full and the top of the pie did not cave as it baked. That is because we simmered it first. I am so grateful for that tip all those years ago.
Have a lovely day!
Please let me know in the comments what your favorite pie recipes are. Especially if they are refined sugar free! We are always looking for new ideas 🙂