Adventures in Pie Making

I have not been brave at all when it comes to making gluten free pie dough. Early on, I ground up Annie’s gluten free cinnamon cookies and added butter to make a cookie crust for pumpkin pie. It was good in a fix but definitely did not taste like real pie. My mother makes the best pies. She always used boxed pie crust mix but it was always super, super good–flaky, buttery. I especially liked the bottom crust. The texture could not be duplicated when using ground up gluten free cookies.

One day this past June I was up in Essex Junction and stopped into Vermont’s only dedicated gluten free bakery, West Meadow Farm Bakery. I asked if they had any premade, uncooked pie shells in their freezer. They did! And it was only $4, which, in the gluten free world is a bit of a deal. I bought one and then regretted that I hadn’t bought more. Alas, there is not enough space in my freezer!

I baked the pie shell, waited for it to cool, and filled it with homemade chocolate pudding.

Birthday Pie 2

But then, I added homemade whipped cream. And to top it off, chocolate shavings . . .

Birthday pie complete

I kept it in the cute bakery box until I finished it. IT WAS SO GOOD!!!

I couldn’t go to the bakery every time I wanted to bake a pie, so I bought a gluten free pie crust mix. I think it was the Simply Gluten Free brand. This is a waste of money! I had to add so many other ingredients to it that it seemed like it would have been a lot easier and cheaper to have made it myself from scratch. Rolling it out was a pain, but definitely doable. You just have to recalibrate how you think about rolling out pie dough. There is a technique that you learn after making so many regular pies in your life–it starts to come naturally. Rolling out gluten free pie dough is a little different. It has barely any elasticity, so you find yourself smooshing broken pies together. In some ways, it can be a bit more forgiving. It doesn’t seem to get as thin as regular pastry dough, which I thought was a little frustrating.

Rolling Out pie dough

I used waxed paper and plastic  wrap to roll out the dough with the plastic wrap on top. I think it would have stuck a lot more if I had just rolled it out on the counter with only the rolling pin. I was really proud of myself when I got the bottom crust into the pie dish! (I used my larger orange Fiestaware dish.)

I cut up TONS of Macintosh apples  using our fancy apple corer, peeler, slicer machine and then added a little too much cinnamon and less sugar.

Apples pre baking

My mom insisted on adding all the pats of butter. Oh, and I also added about a half cup of tapioca flour to help thicken it.

pie uncrimped pie crimped

Once the apples were in, I added the top crust and crimped. Gluten free pastry dough crimping was really hard. It certainly doesn’t look like my mom’s pies. She always used a knife to cut out the image of a wheat sheath (how ironic) on top and adds granulated sugar.

I did the same, but there is something about this crust where it was harder to see and wasn’t as pretty when it was baked.

done pie


done pie half eaten with spatulaPS: Don’t forget to make ROLLY-POLLIES out of your left over pie dough. Roll it out, add some butter, cinnamon-sugar, and raisins, and then roll them up. Bake for 10-15 minutes.

Also, the same baking rules apply for the pie. Start out at 425 degrees for the first ten minutes and down to 350 for about an hour to get the right amount of browning.

rolly poliies raw rolly pollies baked (The rolly-pollies need some work. They look a lot better when made with glutenous pie dough.)


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