EDITOR’S NOTE: There is now an updated version of this Gluten Free Pie Crust Recipe on my new website, Cathy’s Gluten Free. The recipe has been simplified and there is an instructional video included.
This tender, flakey, gluten-free pie crust recipe is the one you’ve been waiting for! I’ve been making it for my family and friends for years, and they’re alway surprised when I tell them it’s gluten-free!
Whenever we used to travel north to Ontario’s beautiful Muskoka cottage region, we liked to visit Marty’s World Famous Cafe. It was a casual, cozy cafe that served coffee, ice cream, salads, sandwiches, and pastries. Butter tarts were their speciality. We don’t get up north as often as we used to now that our kids all live to the south of us, so it’s been a long time since we’ve been there. I think the cafe has since closed, but I remember that Marty’s always had a big ice cream sign in the summer and coffee sign in the winter.
Eventually, Marty wrote a cookbook revealing his “secret” butter tart recipe as well as many others made in the cafe. I’m sure I was one of the first to buy it! The book has sold out and is crazy-expensive on Amazon now! In the book, Marty tells the story of how his family used the century-old pastry recipe that had originated with the nuns at La congregation des Soeurs grises in Quebec. I made the pie crust recipe from Marty’s book and continued to use it regularly. This was before I had to start eating gluten-free.
For awhile, I continued to make Marty’s pie crust for my family, even though I couldn’t eat it. Finally, I couldn’t stand by and just watch them eat it any longer! I had to try making it gluten-free. With some help from the Substitutions section of the Living Without magazine, now called Gluten Free & More, I converted the recipe. This led to the one I now use and am sharing with you.
Gluten-Free Pie Crust
This recipe makes a soft dough. Even the original version from Marty doesn’t work well to bake as an empty crust. The sides will sink down if there’s no filling to hold them up. However, for all of your filled pies and tarts it’s awesome!
Making the Crust
As with all pie crust, it’s important not to handle the dough too much. As you cut the lard into the flour mixture with a pastry cutter, you want to leave it in tiny balls about the size of peas. Combine the egg mixtures into this flour mixture very gently, so the fat is just evenly distributed but no more. It’s the little bits of fat that pop with the heat during baking that make the “flakes” we want in our pie crust. If you overwork the dough or use a food processor, your crust won’t be as tender or flakey as it could be.
Because your dough will be very moist and sticky, it’s important to refrigerate it for at least an hour before rolling it out. Not only will it become easier to work with, but also you’ll be handling it less and keeping it tender and flakey.
When it’s time to roll the dough out, dust your rolling pin and surface with PLENTY of flour. You could use white rice flour here. Although it’s not essential, I like to use a tempered glass cutting board for rolling out pastry. It has little rubber pads to prevent slipping, and I wash it in the dishwasher.
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Exceptional Pie Crust
You won’t find many recipes on this website that use rice flour. I’m not a fan of typical gluten-free flours. This gluten-free pie crust is an exception, because it tastes so good! When I make desserts, they are usually nutritious creations based on nuts, fruit, and healthy fats such as coconut oil. However, because this pie crust recipe makes a pie as good as any traditional one, I do enjoy it occasionally. I often make it when there’s an opportunity to feed other people who don’t necessarily need to eat gluten-free. They’re expecting a homemade pie like the ones their grandmas used to make, and this crust does not disappoint!