This month’s Gluten Free Ratio Rally is brought to you by pie crust (and pie). Stop back by for a bite of Frangipane Apple Thingy Pie later on. I’ll put the coffee on.
I’ve written about pie crust before and you can find that here. Pie crust is as easy as 3-2-1. Three parts flour (mix) to two parts fat (usually butter and shortening) and one part liquid (ice water). Add a pinch of salt and if you’re making a sweet pie – a touch of sugar in the crust enhances the whole thing. For a savory pie, skip the sugar and think about adding some complimentary herbs to the crust.
There a couple of easy ways to mix up pie crust. The food processor is quick and almost flawless. You pulse the dry ingredients together for a few seconds. Add in the icy cold fats (butter and shortening) and pulse until it looks like coarse cornmeal. Then while the processor is running add in the ice water through the tube just until the dough comes together in a ball – no less and no more. Stop adding the water at that point if you have any left.
Drop the dough onto parchment, smash it flat into a disk and refrigerate. Hint: sometimes I don’t chill the dough before forming it first and it still works out fine. But I do chill it before baking.
The other method for days when I don’t want to clean the food processor? A bowl, pastry cutter and a fork. Weigh in the dry stuff and mix it up with a fork. Add in the chunks of butter and shortening and use a pastry cutter (or clean hands) to work it in quickly without melting it. Then add ice water and use a fork to mix it in, just until it looks like it will smash together without crumbling. That’s it. Pie crust.
I roll it out on parchment covered with plastic wrap covering the top and that usually keeps it from seriously and annoyingly sticking. For some pies I just toss the dough chunks into the pan and shape it to fit, patting it into place with my fingers. Either method makes a good crust.
Frangipane sounds like a good solid holiday flavor. I wanted to create a pie that was dressy, yet rustic. Oh, and delicious. Pretty sure we did all that. And it’s easy, too. I used what I had on hand – you can do that, too. Don’t be afraid to swap out ingredients if you think it will taste good in the pie.
And you can make two entirely different desserts from one set of ingredients. One results in a free-form galette or tart and the other is a rustic open face pie. Both are delicious. We preferred the galette/tart because it made a fabulous breakfast and can be wrapped easily. No pie pans necessary. It was even better the second day – just warm it up slightly in the oven to crisp up the crust and warm the filling just a little.
Here’s to pie season!
|Frangipane Apple Tart & Pie||
- 300 grams GF Flour (125g superfine brown rice flour, 75g GF oat flour, 50g superfine white rice flour, 50g starch of your choice)
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- 114 grams unsalted butter (1 stick) icy cold
- 86 grams vegetable shortening, icy cold
- about 100 grams ice-cold water
- 1 12.5 oz. can Solo Almond Filling
- 2 large eggs
- 1 tablespoon dark Rum
- zest of one lemon
- 2 tablespoons powdered sugar
- 2 tablespoons almond flour
- 1 tablespoon starch (corn or tapioca)
- 3-4 medium apples peeled and cut into cubes
- optional – 1 tablespoon strained, warm apricot jam)
- 3 tablespoons Apple Butter
- 1 tablespoon pie filling (above) without apple chunks
- pinch of lemon zest
- 1-3 apples, peeled, cored, cut in half and sliced thinly
- 4-6 tablespoons white sugar
- 1-2 tablespoons apricot jam, heated (straining, optional)
- Preheat oven to 425.
- Weigh flours into a medium large bowl. Add sugar and salt. Mix thoroughly with a whisk. Weigh in butter and shortening cut into small cubes. Blend with a pastry blender tool or a fork until the mixture looks like peas. Add in about 70 grams of ice water and mix. If it is very crumbly and dry, add a little bit more water at a time until dough comes together. Using clean hands to mix it is best, but a fork will work, too. Divide into four pieces. Roll out each piece into a disk. Use some extra starch or flour for your rolling surface and on top of the dough to keep it from sticking. Two rounds will fit on one parchment lined baking sheet. The other two can be used as tarts or as pie shells for small pies. If you are baking a larger pie, use two of the pieces and mash them together to form a larger crust. Set aside while you prepare the filling – here is where you might chill the crusts before baking (I didn’t this time and they came out just fine).
- Blend all the ingredients together in a medium bowl. The apples chunks should fill a significant portion of the mixture. Depending on the size of the apples you may need one more. Set aside.
- Set aside some filling without apples for the tarts/galettes. Pour remaining filling into the pie crust(s) dividing it evenly. Slice some apple rounds and place on top of the pies.
- Spoon apple butter on the dough rounds and add the filling (sans apples). Spread evenly. Zest some lemon on top. Arrange the apples in an attractive pattern. Pinch up the edges to form a crust lip so the apple butter/filling stays in the bottom of the tart.
- Bake at 425 for 15 minutes. Rotate pans. Bake at 375 for about 35 minutes and rotate again. Bake about 15 minutes more or until the apples in the Pies/Tarts are starting to turn black on the edges. The crust should be golden brown. Bake filled pies until the frangipane center is cooked – and the apples are soft. A toothpick should come out fairly clean. The crust should be golden brown. Brush with heated, strained apricot jam. Cool to room temperature and serve.