Friday, May 7, 2010

Keep Your Eyes on the Pies

"Anyone can cook!"  Perhaps my favorite line in a Pixar pic, said exuberantly by Chef Gusteau in the brilliant movie, Ratatouille.  Those of you who think "cartoons" are for "children" might want to take a minute and stop strangling your inner child and examine that Ratatouille is a movie that shares the shear joy of cooking with everyone- big, small or rat.  I've cheesily repeated that line to myself while meditating over quite a few experiments in the kitchen.  In fact, I have a stuffed Little Chef in my kitchen to remind me to keep on keeping on, even when allergen free goods seem impossible to compose.

Now I'm no rat, but when I started baking Gluten Free, a lot of weird things started happening.  Huge failings.  Hard as rock rolls.  Cookies and cakes that never cooked all the way through.  I-guess-you-could-call-them-muffins muffins.  I had given up on conventional, traditional baked goods for a time.  I experimented with other baked goods and alternative ways of creating traditional goods.  For example, I abandoned the usual pie crusts, and tried using fudge, cookie dough, GF crumbs, hash browns and mashed cauliflower (for the savory.) 

I secretly missed double crusted pies.  I mean, making pie was one of my favorite things to do pre-GF.  My favorite was fresh apple pie in the fall, and without that regular crust, it just didn't taste the same.  Well one day not too long ago, Shauna of the Gluten Free Girl tweeted about the amazing Jeanne at Four Chickens.  I saw that Jeanne had made a pie crust, and not only did it look beautiful, it looked too easy to make.  It seemed so simple to me that I figured, how can this possibly work?  Well, it worked!  And it worked like a charm.  Jeanne actually has many recipes for all the bready, baked goods I haven't been able to crack yet with no recipe, including choux pastry and pizza crust.  Her blog is amazing and I urge you to go check it out! 

It's time to recognize that many talented bloggers have joined the ranks of Little Chef who inspires me to strive for greatness each time I set foot in my kitchen.  If they can make magic in their GF kitchens, I can certainly make magic in mine.  Remember, anyone can cook.  And anyone means you too.

What's better than making inspiring food?  How about making it for someone who inspires you?  Like on Mother's Day.  This would be the perfect, bright addition to any Mother's Day feast.

Double-Berry, Double-Crust Pie
No nuts, soy, gluten, eggs, or dairy-
can you believe it?

Crust Ingredients:
Pie Crust as prepared using Four Chickens blog (note: I used my own allergen free flour mix instead)

Filling Ingredients:
2 pints of blackberries, washed and drained well
1 pint of strawberries, washed, drained well and quartered
1/2 cup of fair trade sugar
2 tbs tapioca starch

Click on the link above and follow Jeanne's directions. 
When it's time to make the filling, combine all filling ingredients and set aside while making crust.
Complete pie crust according to directions.  *Make sure when rolling it out use lots of tapioca starch so the dough does not stick to the rolling board, rolling pin, or you!
Before pouring the filling in the bottom crust, drain the extra liquid from the filling thats formed so your pie is not soupy.
Bake for about 35 minutes and let cool.
Refridgerate for a 30 minutes to set the fruit juices in the pie.
Remove and set to room temperature to serve.
Cut and serve, maybe even a la mode :)

Some notes about the above recipe:
  • It doesn't contain eggs unless you make an egg wash, and you can use a non-dairy shortening to make it egg and dairy free!
  • The pie crust had to be rolled very thin in order to cover my Emile Henry 9" pie plate.  There was no leftover crust; it had to be used to cover everything.
  • The crust will be very sticky while you're rolling it out.  I put the note above about using tapioca starch in order to reduce this.  I covered my hands with the starch and the ball of crust that I was rolling out.  I also rolled it out in between two pieces of parchment paper; this helped a lot.
  • The flour I used to make the crust was a combination of white rice, tapioca and arrowroot.  This mix held up and I'm guessing any all purpose GF flour would too.
  • I sprinkled some extra sugar on top of the crust before I put the pie in the oven.  The crust isn't really sweet or flavorful by itself, so make sure your filling is robust!
  • If you cut into a berry pie and see a soupy mess, cheat!  Take a ladle and try to dry it up a bit.  But I highly recommend drinking the soupy mess.  It's usually delicious.


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  2. I'm so glad to know that if I ever have to go GF, I won't have to give up pie! Thanks Suz!