Pie-a-Day #19: Gluten Free Cherry Crumble Pie

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We’ve had a few requests for Gluten Free pie recipes.  Who better to ask than Gluten Free Girl, Shauna James Ahern.

cherry crumble pie, gluten-free

Crumble or pie?

When the season is suffused with sour cherries and the kitchen countertops are covered with strawberries straight from the garden, there’s only so much eating out of hand we can do. Sure, our toddler spends every morning with her face a smear of red around her grin from all the raspberries she eats outside. But eventually, my thoughts turn to baked goods.

Pie or crumble?

They’re both so good. First, there’s pie. Who doesn’t love pie, with its flaky crust, dark juices dripping down the slits on the top, a thick wedge of fruit and butter and goodness. When I lived in New York, my friends nicknamed me Pie for all the pastries I baked them. (Once, after a weekend trip to the Catskills, I made 7 apple pies in one day and invited everyone over for a slice and a glass of milk.) Almost everyone was amazed that I made the crust from scratch. By now, rolling out pie dough feels as familiar as folding towels or sealing an envelope. Pie.

But then there’s crumble.  It’s far easier than pie — combine four or five ingredients with butter and you’re done. The soft topping melds with the warm fruit, the juices running. Each spoonful is full of flavor and mounded high. Wake up in the morning with a pile of fruit and you could be eating crumble within the hour, a hot cup of coffee nearby.

Pie or crumble? Crumble or pie?

Well, why not combine them? Have you pie and eat your crumble too.

So we did.

Oh, and the fact that all this is gluten-free? In our kitchen, that’s no big deal. Whisk up some flours, some cornmeal, some gluten-free oats, and butter? Pie and crumble. Thank goodness butter is gluten-free.

Gluten-Free Pie Crust (Makes 2 single crusts)

115 grams superfine brown rice flour (Authentic Foods makes a great one)
115 grams potato starch
60 grams almond flour
60 grams cornstarch
1 tsp xanthan gum
1/4 teaspoon guar gum
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
115 grams (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into 1-inch cubes and chilled
6 to 8 Tablespoons ice water

Cherry filling

5 cups cherries, pitted (we used a combination of Bings and Rainiers)
60 grams Muscovado sugar (or dark brown sugar, if you wish)
1/2 tsp almond extract
Juice and zest of 1 lime
Zest of 1 orange
3 Tablespoons cornstarch

Crumble topping

40 grams superfine brown rice flour
40 grams potato starch
30 grams almond flour
120 grams packed brown sugar
100 grams cornmeal (make sure it’s gluten-free)
50 grams oats (make sure there are certified gluten-free)
1 tsp cinnamon
115 grams (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into 1-inch cubes and chilled

Mixing the dry ingredients. Put the brown rice flour, almond flour, potato starch, and cornstarch in the bowl of a stand mixer. Mix until they are combined into one flour. Add the xanthan gum, guar gum, and salt and mix again.

Finishing the dough. Add the cubes of butter and mix until it is broken up into pieces about the size of peas. While the mixer is running on low, pour in 6 tablespoons of the ice water. Mix until the dough begins to hold together. Check to make sure the dough coheres but is not too wet. If it is still dry and crumbly, add the remaining 2 tablespoons of water.

Making the crust. Wrap the pie dough in plastic wrap (or in a bowl) and let it rest in the refrigerator for at least 15 minutes. Take it out and roll out the dough between two pieces of parchment paper. This means you won’t work any extra flour into the dough. Roll it out as thin as you can. When the dough has exceeded the size of the pie plate, lift the top piece of parchment paper and turn the dough upside down on the top of the pie plate. Drape the pie dough into place, gently.

If the dough breaks, don’t despair. Simply lift pieces of the dough off the counter and meld it with the rest of the dough. Remember, there’s no gluten, so you can’t overwork the dough. Play with it, like you’re a kid again. Crimp the edges with your fingers.

Poke some shallow holes in the pie crust with a fork, then place the pie plate into the freezer for at least 1 hour.

In the meantime, prepare the cherries and the crumble topping.

Making the cherry filling. Mix the cherries, sugar, almond extract, lime juice and zest, and orange zest. Add the cornstarch and stir well to combine. Set the bowl aside to let the filling build its flavor.

Making the crumble topping. Put the brown rice flour, potato starch, almond flour, brown sugar, cornmeal, oats, and cinnamon into the bowl of the stand mixer. Mix until everything is well combined. Add the butter and mix until the topping begins to clump.

Preheat the oven to 425°.

Blind-baking the pie crust. Take the pie crust out of the freezer and slide it into the hot oven. Bake until the crust is starting to firm and brown a bit, about 15 minutes. Take the crust out of the oven and reduce the heat to 375°.

Baking the crumble pie. Fill the pie crust with the cherry mixture, which will be mounded high above the crust. Pat the crumble topping onto the cherries until the mixture is covered. (Leave a few open patches as airholes for the pie.) Slide it into the oven. Bake for 50 minutes, at which point the crumble topping should be browned. Cover the top of the pie with tin foil and continue to bake until the cherry juice begins to drip over the sides of the pie plate, about 15 minutes more.

Remove from the oven and cool. Ideally, you would let the pie sit for at least 3 hours before you eat it. If that’s not possible (and understandable), just know the pie will be extra juicy when warm.

Serves…well, you decide. It’s a pie.