mmmmm… PIE

Posted on 06.11.2011

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Anyone who has a food allergy knows how much it sucks to have to let go of food that you really enjoy eating. This for me is kind of twofold since I’ve moved from a water city (Baltimore) to a landlocked city (Wü). I’ve moved away from blue crabs, steamed shrimp and shucked oysters to the land of wurst and really good bread.

The problem, of course, is the fact that I’ve got this mid-spectrum gluten allergy. So I can’t eat the bread as I’d like to. I also can’t take in milk or legumes. So there are a lot of things that I really, really miss. Just about all the time.

The stuff that I miss comes in waves. I started missing seafood, so I went on a seafood search missionand binged once I found it. I may still be bingeing on seafood. I eat it at least once a week. Then I wanted to try to make lots of different breads, because I was getting tired of my own gf bread.

A few weeks ago, I decided that I wanted pumpkin pie. Pumpkin pie, I soon found out, produced not one but two challenges: the challenge I’d been expecting, which was the creation of a good, edible pie crust, was almost easy by comparison. My challenge I hadn’t been expecting was the lack of canned pumpkin products here. The things we learn, when we really start looking, eh?

So I had to go back to the internet after my initial pumpkin pie recipe search and find out how to make pumpkin pie the old-fashioned way: by using actual pumpkin, which we have more than enough of here! And they’re in season, of course, so that was good. I might not be able to make this pie in the summer… hah!

The crust recipe was its own issue: I’ve tried and failed on plenty of crust recipes for various things, the worst of which has been pizza crust. I settled on two similar gf recipes, which had just slight differences of ingredients but REALLY different ideas for how the crust should be made.

I found this recipe for the pumpkin:
http://www.pickyourown.org/pumpkinpie.php

The site looks terrible and there is almost TOO much information on the page, but it was helpful and it worked, so I can’t complain. I didn’t have allspice so I upped the other spices and added nutmeg (muskatnuss) instead. That was fine and it tastes great.

The first crust recipe I found was ok, but not great. The mix didn’t seem to bind quite right, so some parts were ok, but other parts of the crust were like tiny little rocks. I’ve had this issue before, and I wasn’t happy about it. It only seemed to get better the longer the pie sat in my fridge, as the crust became more saturated with the pumpkin it held.

The second crust recipe, which I just tried yesterday, is FAR better. The secret? Everything has to be really, really cold. Whenever I add butter to a recipe I imagine that it should be warm, almost melting, in order to get it to mix better. As it turns out, it binds better and makes a flakiercrust if you do it all when the butter is really cold, as in, just out of the freezer. In a food processor, along with that… I wouldn’t have guessed those things, but this recipe is THE recipe I’ll use from now on whenever I want to make a pie of this type, hands down.

The crust came out really flaky, but not at all dry or tasteless, like earlier iterations I’ve tried. I’m really excited about finding this one, because until now I’ve kind of just been trying and failing.

You can find the recipe for GF pie crust here:
http://simplygluten-free.com/blog/2011/10/perfect-gluten-free-pie-crust-recipe.html

The only thing that I did wrong with this second pie was to not use my hand blender to mix the wet ingredients. I had it in my head that I could mix a bunch of eggs in with the rest of the ingredients with just a spoon if I was diligent enough. As you can see from this photo, there were a few places where I didn’t manage to mix the eggs quite well enough, and I got these little white spots which are effectively small egg spots. It doesn’t change the taste at all, but I’d rather my pie not have tumors! So next time, I’ll use the blender. Lesson learned.

When it comes to trying new recipes or trying to find the right recipe, I think it pays to round up a few different takes of the same thing and see what the differences are, and how others have made it or substituted. It’s hard to do or make the time for, but I think it’s important to expect to make a recipe at least twice in order to get it right. I bought three small pumpkins, expecting that I’d need at least one and a half per pie. That turned out to be wrong and I only needed one per pie, and I still had leftovers!

It’s not often that the recipe comes out perfect the first time, especially when we’re talking about things that require making it all ourselves. I had to cook pumpkins and the crust… something was bound to go wrong the first time!

I’m glad I only needed to bake the pie twice to get it right. Now I can move to trying something else:) I’ve got some biscuits that I’ll try to make later on in the week, after I go grocery shopping again. I can’t wait!

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Posted in: food, GF/DF