When Your Crust is a Bust… (Tips for gluten free pastry.)

Patience is a virtue.

Our Fourth Of July celebrations were certainly different this year. No family gatherings, no large crowds. No slip n’ slides, fireworks, or red solo cup parties. We know that some people are venturing out of their quarantine comfort zones, but we chose to stay inside and count our blessings. We still have our health, and we still have our appetites.

And then, what’s arguably the most important part of any holiday celebration? The food.

Christian decided to manifest this sweet little slice of life– a classic gluten free apple pie. Did I mention what a lucky girl I am?

A potluck staple and American classic, an apple pie satisfies all the festive cravings of July 4th. Unfortunately, pies aren’t the easiest thing to make under the best of circumstances. Getting that flaky crust and finger-licking sweet filling is time consuming and often feels like a science experiment.

When you’re trying to make it gluten free, it is a test of both skill and patience.

This is the second time this week when we’ve almost given up with gluten free dough. Several of the dumplings we made wound up thrown in the garbage. GF pastry dough is always either too wet and sticky, or too crumbly and dry. No matter how gentle your fingers, you go to roll it out and it often tears almost instantly.

We’ve learned not to give up.

After vigorously peeling and chopping a massive pile of fresh apples, following the recipe to the letter, and waiting patiently for the dough to chill- Christian nearly scrapped this pie crust because it seemed all hope was lost. It was almost impossible to work with, even though he did everything right.

But when working with GF pastry, sometimes you just have to make it work.

He added some more flour, and managed to press the crust into the plate by hand. A few deep breaths later- and this beauty was achieved.

Relying on the make-it-work philosophy is sometimes necessary when you’re glutenless. So hang in there. Be patient with your pies. If all else fails, it’ll still taste delicious. Here’s a few things we’ve learned recently from our mistakes,

A Few Helpful Tips To Avoid Disaster:

Go slowly.
Patience. No matter what you recipe says, take a gradual approach when adding ingredients (especially the wet ones.) Once it’s too sticky, there’s no going back. Just add a little bit at a time until you’re happy with the consistency.

Chill, baby, chill.
You have to let your GF pastry dough chill completely. We recommend at least one hour in the fridge. Even better- overnight. Chilling helps bind the ingredients and will keep your dough from cracking when you roll it out. In fact, keep all your ingredients cold as you’re working. Don’t let things sit out- stick them in the fridge!

Think twice before you roll.
Rolling out your pastry isn’t always necessary. It often breaks, and can be more of a headache than it’s worth. If you’re keen to rolling, place your dough between two sheets of cling wrap and roll over the plastic to avoid sticking. With this pie, pressing the dough directly into the pan worked best.

Trust your instincts.
When you’re really in the weeds, don’t be afraid to make a last ditch effort. Adding some extra flour to a very wet dough can make a world of difference. Sprinkling some water into a dry and crumbly disaster can turn things around. In our experience, GF dough is unpredictable. The more you practice, the more you’ll know what to do with the chips are down.

Here’s hoping you had a tasty and socially distanced Fourth of July!

Do you have any advice for GF pastry? Comment your tips for us below!

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