Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Sweets for Your Valentines

Now the snow is up to two and a half feet and even the plows aren't coming around on our lonely road. More blizzard conditions and wind shuffling the powdery snow around so that shoveling and plowing don't have a lingering effect. More cooking heralded.

I am happy to report that a year after the whole wheat-free diet was mandated, I have finally achieved a tasty and flaky pie crust. I owe it all to the dean of wheat-free cooking, Bette Hagman. I have a copy of her flagship cookbook, "The Gluten-Free Gourmet"(NY: Henry Holt and Company, 1991) and used her Tender Vinegar Pastry recipe for the crust. I made two crusts, one for a pumpkin pie and one for my family favorite, Apple Sour Cream Pie.

The crusts held together well and were fairly easy to repair after rolling them out and attempting the transfer to the pie pans. My Franken-crusts just needed some extra work to seal the cracks. It is hard to make a beautiful sculptured edge as is more easily done with a wheat crust, but the taste is really light and it's texture is wonderful. We tried some frozen gluten-free pie crusts and they were leaden and as tasty as a busted shoe.

Here is Ms. Hagman's Tender Vinegar Pastry recipe:

1-1/2 cups rice flour
1/2 cup potato starch (not to be confused with potato flour)
1/4 cup tapioca flour
1 tsp. salt
1 Tbsp. sugar
1 tsp. xanthan gum
3/4 cup shortening
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 Tbsp. vinegar
2 Tbsp. cold water

Sift flours, salt, sugar and xanthan gum into a mixing bowl. Cut in shortening. Blend together egg, vinegar and cold water. Stir them into the flour mix. This will seem quite moist, but a rice crust needs to be more moist than a wheat flour one.

Knead the mixture into a ball (handling will not toughen the dough). Separate into two balls and roll, one at a time, between two sheets of plastic wrap. Place in pie tin.

Makes 2 crusts.


Apple Sour Cream Pie

One unbaked pie crust
4 small apples, peeled, cored and chopped
3/4 cup sugar
2 Tbsp. gluten-free baking mix
1/2 tsp. vanilla
1/8 tsp. salt
1 cup sour cream
1 egg, beaten

Topping: 1/3 cup sugar, 1 tsp. cinnamon, 1/3 cup gluten-free baking mix & 1/4 cup butter

Line pie plate with pastry.

Mix 3/4 cup sugar and 2 Tbsp. baking mix. Add sour cream, vanilla, egg and salt. Add apples and combine. Pour into pie shell.

Bake at 425 degrees for 20 minutes. Then combine topping ingredients and sprinkle over top of pie. Lower oven heat to 325 degrees and bake another 20-30 minutes, or until lightly browned.

Top with sweetened whipped cream, if desired.


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