Pie Are Squared
by Guest Blogger, Joette Calabrese
My favorite kinds of pies are not constructed in a traditional, circular, deep pie dish. Instead, they’re in a rectangular or square cookie sheet. The depth is limited to the height of the sides, so there’s just a mere hint of fruit filling. And because the filling isn’t very deep, you’re allowed to eat more of my favorite part; the light, flaky crust.
Isn’t geometry fun?
Regrettably, over the years my crust hadn’t been very flaky. Even though I dutifully hand-cut my soaked, whole wheat flour and homemade lard into crumbly lovelies, my crusts often didn’t make the grade.
That was until I found Gluten Free All Purpose Flour. Now, I’m reveling in the glory of having figured out the ultimate gluten-free pie crust!
Here’s what I do:
First, I always work with very cold lard, so mine is kept in the freezer. In order to make the lard more user friendly, I cut it up into small chunks in advance and then re-freeze them. This way, they’re pie-ready when a baking urge hits me.
• 2 1/2 cups gluten free all-purpose flour, plus extra for rolling (See our Resources page for non-gluten Grains and Flours)
• 1 cup of lard, icey-cold and cut into approximately 1/2″ chunks
• 1 tsp Celtic salt (See our Resources page for Salt and Spices)
• 1 tsp sucanat (optional) (Find Healthy Sweeteners, on our Resources page)
• 6 to 8 Tbsp mixture of half water and half raw vinegar (To be honest, I rarely measure this. I just toss in ice chips and a splash of vinegar.)
• Combine flour, salt and sucanat in a food processor and pulse to mix. Add lard and pulse 6 to 8 times, until mixture resembles coarse meal, with pea size pieces of lard. Add icy vinegar water, 1 Tbsp at a time, pulsing until mixture just begins to clump together. If you pinch some of the crumbly dough and it holds together, it’s ready.
Add a little more water if the dough isn’t holding together and pulse again. Note, too much water will make the crust tough.
• Remove dough and place in a mound on your counter. If you want an extra flaky crust, gently squash the dough mixture into the counter surface with the heel of your hand a few times. This will help flatten the lard into layers within the flour, but be careful not to over-knead! You should be able to see little chunks of lard in the dough. These chunks are what make the crust flaky.
Form the mixture into two disks. Sprinkle a little flour around the disks. Some people wrap each disk in plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 1 hour, but once I decide I want to make a pie, I usually just take a chance and go at it.
• Roll out with a rolling pin on a lightly floured surface and form a 12” circle; about 1/8” thick. If necessary, add a few sprinkles of flour under the dough to keep it from sticking. Carefully place onto a square or rectangular cookie sheet.
• Add your fruit filling.
• Roll out your second disk of dough. Gently place it onto the top of the filling in the pie. Press the edges together. Cut 6 steam vents in the top crust.
• Bake the pie on the bottom rack for 15 minutes at 400°. Reduce the oven temperature to 375° and continue baking until the crust is golden brown and the filling is bubbling, approximately 15-20 minutes more. You don’t need as much baking time since the pie is so thin. Let cool on a wire rack for about 1-1/2 hours before serving.
In my Catholic high school geometry class, Sister Mary Lorraine always told us that our formulas would come in handy some day. As I sit down to enjoy this crumbly rectangle, its satisfying to know that I’ve figured out how to best put that knowledge to use – pie are squared actually means more flaky crust!
Joette J. Calabrese, HMC,CCH,RSHom(Na), is a Classical homeopath, Consultant, Author and a regular columnist in Wise Traditions Journal, published quarterly by the Weston A. Price Foundation (WAPF). In Wise Traditions you will discover the road to wellness through nutrition and health alternatives. To subscribe, become a member of WAPF by visiting westonaprice.org.
This post is part of the Monday Mania blog carnival. Find more healthy comfort food recipes on The Healthy Home Economist blog.