Monday, June 02, 2008

Apple Pie for the Gluten-Free Gourmet

Yummy, scrummy, sweet & juicy, this is one is a winner.

Yesterday's winter rain made it a perfect day for baking, warm and cosy in the kitchen, the smells of crispy apples and tart limes melding with spicy cinnamon and the mellow caramel sweetness of the palm-sugar. Ah...

The recipe below uses a lovely gluten-free shortcrust pastry, but you can use your own favourite pastry recipe, or even use pre-made pastry sheets.

Apple Pie Ingredients:
6 Granny Smith cooking apples
1 teaspoon cinnamon powder
1 teaspoon mixed spice
2 tablespoons palm sugar
1/2 a lime, juiced and zested
melted butter to glaze
extra sugar to sprinkle on top

shortcrust pastry - see Gluten-Free recipe below, or use your own favourite pastry recipe.

Prepare the pastry - see recipe below - making both a top and bottom sheet. Grease a pie dish or individual ramekins with melted butter and press a rolled pastry sheet into the dish to line it.

Peel, core and slice the apples into a mixing bowl and sprinkle with the spices, the palm sugar and the lime juice and zest, stirring to coat. Tip the apples into the lined pie dish, piling them up a little, as they will melt down during cooking.

Cover the apples with the second pastry disc and pinch off the excess around the edges. Press all around the edges with a greased fork or a spoon handle, to seal and make a decorative edge. Slice an 'x' in the centre of the pie to let the steam out during cooking.

Brush the top of the pie with melted butter and sprinkle with sugar. Bake in a hot oven for 15 to 20 minutes until golden brown. Serve hot with creamy goats yoghurt.


Gluten-Free Shortcrust Pastry.
1 cup glutinous rice flour
2 cups brown-rice flour (or use white)
75g butter
1 egg
extra rice-flour for kneading

Sift the flours together and cut the cold butter into the mix in small chunks. Using your fingertips, rub the butter into the flours until the mixture resembles coarse breadcrumbs. Take care not to over-rub, as the heat of your hands may melt the butter - any larger pieces left will incorporate later when the pastry dough is kneaded.

Stir in the lightly beaten eggs and add just enough water to make the dough come together in a ball. At this stage, the dough will still be quite crumbly, so kneading is essential. This may seem very strange if you are used to making conventional pastry where the golden rule is to handle lightly, but gluten-free pastry differs in that it actually benefits from being handled.

Lightly dust a cold surface with extra rice-flour & knead the dough for 1-2 minutes, adding as much extra flour as needed to prevent the dough sticking to the board. The pastry will change in texture, becoming much smoother and more pliable.

To roll out, divide the dough into two portions – one for the top and one for the bottom – and roll into two spheres. Lightly dust the surface and the rolling pin with rice-flour and roll out using smooth short strokes. When you are ready to place the pastry in the pie dish, use your rolling pin for pick-up and transfer.

Another method is to roll the dough between two sheets of baking paper for ease of handling.


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