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Gluten-Free Apple Pie

CRUST INGREDIENTS

  • 1 cup white rice flour
  • ½ cup sorghum flour
  • ½ cup potato starch
  • 1 Tablespoon sugar
  • ½ teaspoon Kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 4 ounces (1 stick) unsalted butter, cubed and chilled
  • 1 egg
  • 2 Tablespoons apple cider vinegar

FILLING INGREDIENTS
  • 2-¼ pounds of apples
  • 2 Tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1 lemon, juiced and zested
  • 1 Tablespoon cornstarch, made into a slurry with 2 Tablespoons of cold water
  • Freshly grated Nutmeg, to taste
  • Cinnamon, to taste
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • Sugar, for sprinkling

DIRECTIONS

  1. Combine all the dry ingredients in a mixing bowl, or the bowl of your food processor if you have one. Mix (or pulse the processor) until well combined.
  2. Add in the cubed butter and toss to lightly cover it with the flour mixture. Then begin to incorporate the butter into the flour by "cutting it in" or pulsing your food processor if you're using one. You want to end up with something that is the texture of coarse bread crumbs or coarse cornmeal.
  3. Form a well in the center of the flour mixture, and add the egg and apple cider vinegar into the well. Using a fork, incorporate the liquids into the flour mixture until you get a sticky, clumpy mix (the final consistency should feel moist, but not too wet -- you can always add a little more rice flour if you think it's too wet and/or sticky).
  4. Form it into a smooth ball, wrap the ball in plastic wrap, and place it in the fridge.
  5. While the dough is chilling, it's time to prepare the filling.
  6. Pre-heat your oven to 350-degrees.
  7. Peel, core and slice the apples.
  8. In a medium saucepan, melt together the butter, sugar, vanilla extract, lemon juice and lemon zest.
  9. Add the sliced apples and cook over medium heat for 5 minutes, stirring to coat the apples with the liquid mixture, until the apples just begin to soften.
  10. Add the cornstarch slurry, and cook for one minute more, stirring gently. This will thicken the liquids and cause them to coat the apple slices better.
  11. Strain the apples in a colander and discard the extra juices which run off. Add your desired amounts freshly grated nutmeg and cinnamon to the colander and gently mix into the apples.
  12. Remove your dough from the fridge and using either two sheets of wax paper, parchment paper, and/or rice flour for dusting, roll it out so that it's more than large enough to cover the bottom and sides of your pie pan. You want the dough to be no more than ¼" thick, and making it this thickness should allow that you will have enough left to cover the pie, too.
  13. Gently pick up the dough and place it in your greased pie pan, making sure it falls into the corners. Trim off the excess (there should definitely be some), form the excess into another ball, and roll it out. This will become the top of your pie.
  14. Pour the apples into the now bottom-crusted pie pan, spread them out to create an even layer, and then use the remaining dough to cover the top (either in one full sheet, or a lattice pattern, or any other design you might endeavor to create). Just make sure there are a couple of holes/slits for steam to escape while cooking.
  15. Bake for 30 minutes.
  16. Brush the top of the pie with the beaten egg, sprinkle with some sugar, and bake several minutes more (or however long it takes) for the crust to become golden brown and fairly crispy looking.

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This was only my second attempt ever at making an apple pie (the first being years ago with regular wheat flour). It was not any easier or harder this time. Making pie, as you probably know, is a little time consuming and can be a bit of a pain in the buttocks, but it's always well worth it. It was delicious, and well-liked by the non-gluten-free-ers who I served it to, as well.

Here are a few thoughts and suggestions based on my experience with this particular recipe and the ways I went about making it:

First, I want to note that there was no xanthan gum in the crust. This doesn't pose any problems whatsoever as long as you are serving the pie cold. When cold, it slices well and holds together very nicely. See?

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But when we re-heated the pie (in the oven) for serving, the crust easily crumbled and fell apart some when slicing and picking it up out of the pan for plating. Perhaps this could have been alleviated by slicing it cold, and then re-heating individual pieces in the microwave. Alternatively, perhaps the addition of a little bit of xanthan gum to the dough might help this issue, and also allow us to reheat it without worry of it turning into an apple cobbler. (I notice a lot of other crust recipes do include xanthan gum.) I guess it all just depends on how you like to eat your pie (hot or cold) whether you want to experiment with xanthan gum and/or different re-heating processes.

I found that I had to bake my pie longer than the 30 minutes it should have taken. I think this was because my dough was too wet. I should have added a bit more rice flour to the dough before chilling it, and probably also should have dusted my surfaces with some rice flour before rolling out (I had some issues with the dough sticking to my wax paper). You always see the TV chefs dusting their surfaces every time -- why I didn't think to do this I have no idea. Lol.

Finally, I am not going to calculate and give the usual nutritional information on this pie, like I do with other recipes, because, well

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Here's a crumb topping as an alternative to the crust top:

1/2 c sugar

3/4 c gluten-free flour mix (any)

1/3 c shortening (Crisco, butter, whatever)

Cut together with a pastry blender or your favorite method until the fat is in small pieces and everything is blended. Pile on top of the apples and bake.

We always triple this for two pies.

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