Saturday, May 3, 2014

Gluten-Free Apple Pie

This morning I made my second gluten-free apple pie and brought it to a barbecue at my gym. I don't eat processed sugar any more but, having made pies for seventeen years, I can tell a lot about a pie's taste and texture by looking at it, smelling it and worrying at it with a utensil. Those tests pleased me, but not nearly as much as the swoons of delight, the compliments and the number of people who went right back for seconds.

So I think it's about time I wrote up my recipe and got it out there. It's been over six months since I did the exhaustive research prior to making the first pie, so I can't give you all the details. However, trust me when I say that, for every constituent of this recipe, I did one or more of the following.
  1. Consulted my friend with celiac disease and confirmed that he has eaten that constituent with no reaction (example: butter, spices)
  2. Consulted manufacturers' websites and found reasonable assurance that the constituent is gluten-free
  3. Consulted celiac forums until I was satisfied
Much more importantly, though, a friend with celiac disease who has severe reactions to even the slightest trace amounts of gluten has delighted in eating multiple slices of my pies with no reaction. See?

Here's the recipe I used for the crust. I used Bob's Red Mill Gluten-Free Flour, because that's what my store had.

I didn't use the ClearGel because I read conversations in celiac forums indicating that it can cause reactions. However, the xanthan gum sounded crucial for good texture in a gluten-free pie, so I picked up a bag on Amazon.

I realized that my old, crumpled bag of sugar had been in so many clouds of flour that the sugar inside it might contain enough gluten to cause a reaction. So I went to Trader Joe's and picked up some organic sugar simply because it had a zip-lock top that would keep the contents isolated. Use whatever sugar you like.

I doubled the crust recipe because an apple pie has two crusts. For my first pie I used lime juice instead of lemon juice, and for the second I used apple cider vinegar. It seems to me that the consistency of the second crust was better, though I have no idea if that had anything to do with the vinegar. Also, I had no time to let the crust chill overnight; I just rolled it right out and transferred it to the pie dish as I always do: piece by piece. 

As for the filling, I started with the Betty Crocker recipe from 1972 that I've always used...
Apple Pie Filling
(for a 10-inch, two-crust pie)
1 cup
1/3 cup
1 tsp
1 tsp
A dash
8 cups
3 tbsp
Mix dry ingredients. Mix in apples.
Put lower crust and apple mixture
into pan. Cut butter into pieces and
sprinkle over mixture. Put on top
crust and seal edges. Put aluminum
foil around edges to protect crust
from burning. Cook at 425 for 40-50
minutes, or until golden brown and
bubbling. Remove foil during last
fifteen minutes.

*This is the Betty Crocker recipe.
I use about half again the amount of spices.
...and substituted the gluten-free flour for the regular flour. I also added Kraft Minute Tapioca as a firming agent. I used two tablespoons, but I see that some Kraft recipes call for three, so experiment for yourself. Oh, and I made sure to cover the edges in aluminum foil during most of the baking, because I read that the gluten-free flour makes the crust even more prone to scorching than usual.

For the first pie I used the recipe above...

...and for the second one I doubled the recipe to make one massive deep-dish pie. As with the conventional gluten-heavy pie, the deep-dish version was an epic win.

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