This recipe is a little bit monumental. You see, making a pie grain free has been quite possible for some time now. Its not difficult to throw some nuts or seeds into a food processor to make a simple crust to press into the pie platter. But, a crust that could be rolled out, and manipulated EXACTLY like a traditional wheat crust. A recipe for that didn't exist without eggs. Until today.
I love pie. I really do. Especially pot pie. BUT what's a pot pie without a top crust? Its NOT a pot pie. I can tell you that much. This idea of being able to eat a REAL double crusted pot pie drove me to make this recipe 9 stinking times this morning to get it the way I wanted. It was so worth it to finally have this perfect beautiful crust sitting in my pie dish just smiling back at me. I am SO thrilled to share this recipe with all of you. This crust has a bit of a crispy texture while the inside almost has a biscuit flavor and texture. Its hard to describe- but I can tell you that it made my taste buds squeal with delight.
As usual, I'm sure a large number of you will have substitution questions for me. Today I'm sorry but I probably will be short on answers. You see, it took me hours of work and nearly 4 lbs of almond flour to figure out the magical combination of ingredients. It would take me a heap more of time and ingredients to be able to offer you suggestions on how to change things. So, my advice: If you can't have a specific ingredient take the recipe into your kitchen and play around yourself OR keep on your searching for something that does work for you.
I can tell you three things though:
- DO NOT try to exchange the almond flour for coconut. Or else you will end up with a crust that tastes more like bread. If you cannot have almonds specifically then I would use another nut or see flour- though its important that you make sure they are extremely finely ground. Use a high powered blender or coffee grinder. I would recommend a mild tasting nut or seed like cashews, or sunflower seeds. Your results are not going to be exactly the same- but this is the closest suggestion I can offer.
- DO NOT exchange the almond flour for a grain based flour- If you are looking to use grains check out my Pate Brisee recipe instead.
- I tried making the recipe without Xanthan or Guar Gum and it still turned out great! It was just the slightest bit crumbly when I fluted my edges- though not overly so. I was still able to work the dough into what I wanted. I also noticed without the gum the crust ended up just a bit more tender. So, its 100% up to you if you want to use it.
In this recipe I call for Whole Psyllium Husks. They are essential and its important that you buy a canister that labels them as "whole". Many brands are now certified gluten free (they are all gluten free, just be cautious of cross contamination if you are a super sensitive celiac.) They can be found in the supplement/vitamin section of most grocery and drug stores.
- 2 Tsp Whole Psyllium Husks
- 1/8 Tsp Xanthan OR Guar Gum (optional- see note above)
- 1/3 Cup of Warm Water.
- 1 3/4 Packed Cup of Blanched Almond Flour
- 1/2 Packed Cup Starch (Tapioca, Arrowroot or Potato)
- 1/4 Tsp Salt (I like to use 1/2 tsp in savory recipes).
- 1/2 Tsp Baking Soda
- 1 Tbs of additional water.
- In a small cup or bowl combine the Psyllium, Xanthan and 1/3 Cup of Water. Mix and set aside for a few minutes so that it can thicken.
- In the bowl of a food processor combine the Almond Flour, Starch, Salt and Baking Soda. Process to combine. Add the thickened Psyllium Mixture to the food processor. Turn on high and process- then add the last Tbs of water and combine until dough becomes a thick ball. It should be just slightly sticky and hold together really well. * If your dough is at all crumbly add a little bit more water ( 1 tsp at a time) until it starts to hold firmly together.*
- Remove dough from food processor. Place between two sheets of parchment paper and roll out thin. (Note: the crust will get thicker while baking). Once rolled out, flip the sheet of dough over the pie pan. Optional: Tuck the edges of the crust under themselves and Crimp or Flute (Use whatever technique suites your fancy.).
- If baking the shell empty: then bake at 350 for 18-22 minutes. (Note the crust is not going to get much color as it bakes- you will know its done when the outside is firm. If you wait until it browns then it will end up hard as a rock.
This crust will freeze well once in the pie plate as well if you want to make it ahead of time.
If making a filled pie, put ingredients in before baking and follow the appropriate baking time for the recipe you select.Unless its over 20-25 minutes. In which case you might consider pre-cooking the filling. For example if you are making an apple pie saute the apples in a skillet for a bit before placing them into the crust. This will allow for a shorter baking time in the oven, and therefore a perfectly baked crust. If the crust is in the oven too long it will start to get hard, almost like a cracker. You may not realize its getting hard as it does not gain much color as it bakes. IF you need to keep your pie in the oven for an extra bit of time past the 25 minute mark I recommend brushing it with milk (dairy or nondairy) to help prevent it from drying out.
- For those you that can eat grains and eggs I HIGHLY recommend my Pate Brisee Recipe. Its quite special and taste's just like Marie Callender Crust.