Kate Kayne

One Crust To Rule Them All

Kate Kayne
One Crust To Rule Them All

I'm certain that I'm breaking some sort of "cook's code" by giving you this recipe. One of my chef instructors at Bauman College rattled it off from memory during our baking unit, and I was lucky enough to have a pen in my hand as it was happening. To date, it's the easiest crust I've made, and it happens to be gluten-free. It's a great base for whatever filling you have in mind—likely pecan or pumpkin this time of year—and it's decidedly unfussy. I have never been a person who makes their own crust. If Pillsbury made a crust I could just unroll and manage to eat without consequences, you can bet your ass I'd be using it. But, they don't. So this is the next best thing. Bringing this to a holiday table is: 1) Saving your family the trouble of understanding what gluten is (Is it rice? Does pasta have it?), and 2) Saving you from having to explain why you're the one person who doesn't get to eat their weight in dessert. By my math, that means you're about to save Thanksgiving.

1 c brown rice flour

1/3 c quinoa or sorghum flour

2/3 c almond flour

1 tsp xantham gum

2 Tbsp sugar (omit for savory crusts)

1/4 tsp salt

6 Tbsp cold butter, diced small

Bowl of ice water

Mix the dry ingredients in a medium bowl, using a whisk or a flour sifter to combine well. Add the butter pieces and break up very quickly with your hands or with a pastry blender. Once the butter is well incorporated, add ice water a tablespoon at a time until the dough holds together in a ball. I find that I use between 4 and 6 tablespoons, but it may vary based on your altitude.

Once the crust holds together, you can wrap it up in saran wrap and refrigerate it for later, or take it straight to the pie plate. Lay out a piece of parchment paper and sprinkle it with a bit of extra brown rice flour. Place another piece on top and flatten it with a rolling pin until it's about 1/4-inch thick. Since this is gluten-free dough, it doesn't have the protein structure to hold it together, so transferring it to the pie plate is tricky. I typically do my best to keep it in one piece and end up reconstructing it and evening out the thickness with my hands in the dish. That way is personally my preference anyhow, but I get that you're supposed to use a rolling pin to make pie crust, so I do my best to honor it.

Once your crust is evenly placed around the pie plate, trim your edges and fill with whatever your holiday table demands. There is no need to blind bake the crust ahead of time (unless you are doing a no-bake filling: in which case do 8-10 minutes at 350°), just follow the baking instructions for the assembled pie itself. No matter what kind of pie it is, serve with loads of whipped cream and vanilla ice cream.