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Sep 3, 2007 08:48 PM

Wheat free pie crust?

I am looking for a pie crust recipe that is wheat free, but also fairly neutral in flavor. It seems that I have seen recipes with egg white, sugar, butter and ground nuts, but nuts can have such a distinct flavor that I am somewhat sceptical. Nothing replaces the wisdom of experience, so let me know what your experience tells you.

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  1. does it have to be completely gluten-free, or just wheat-free?

    12 Replies
    1. re: goodhealthgourmet

      I'd like to have either in my repetoire, but specifically need gluten free for a friend with a very sensitive system! If you have a winner in either category, please share!

      1. re: WCchopper

        wow, you're a VERY good sure you know what you're getting yourself into before you make any promises.

        gluten-free baking - especially if you're attempting something like pastry or traditional pie crust - is tricky, and requires very specific techniques and a veritable arsenal of specialty ingredients [i.e. gluten-free flours, baking mixes, stablizers/gums], most of which don't come cheap. if you're really committed to doing this i can certainly offer some advice, and you ca find great recipes and tips on any of the celiac web sites...

        there are also some really great celiac/gluten-free blogs out there - just do a google search.

        you can also opt for a much easier, but still very thoughtful alternative...if you stick with something that works well with a cookie or cracker crumb crust [i.e. pumpkin pie, cheesecake, hell, i've even done an apple-cherry tart with a graham crust] or a 'crumble' with a topping, you won't have to get too deep into the wonderful world of gluten-free can just follow your usual steps for preparing the crust or topping, and just use gluten-free cookies, graham crackers [yes, there is such a thing], or even crushed gluten-free cereal.

        whatever you decide, i'm happy to offer suggestions, pointers, etc.

        good luck!

        1. re: goodhealthgourmet

          The crumb crust suggestion makes a lot of sense, if only because I am skeptical that the traditional taste and texture of pastry can be duplicated using rice flour or some of the other substitutions I saw in the links you kindly provided. Is that your experience or am I assuming incorrectly?

          Any pointers on ingredients for the crumb crust?

          1. re: WCchopper

            I haven't tried the wheat free pie crust with rice flour yet, although my son has made me promise I would make him a pie with it this year for Thanksgiving. I plan on using on from one of the GF blogs. I have also heard some people like some of the premade mixes you can buy at places like whole foods.

            I have done a cornmeal based tart crust, and while it was tastey and not too corn flavored, it was too gritty for the more delicate frangipagne tart. But it would work well with heartier tarts I bet. I can post it if you would like.

            We do do nut crusts all the time, or crumb crusts. one thing that works if you are filling with a less sweet filling is to add a few marshmallows to the blender when you are grinding up the nuts. My husband does this all the time. It helps it to hold together if you are picky about that.

            One final note, if you are not GF and baking for someone else, unless you are a kitchen neat freak, use new bags of sugar or anything that is likely to have been contaminated with flour. for instance if you use a measuring cup for flour, then the same one in the sugar.

            1. re: jsaimd

              excellent point about cross-contamination. it's the last thing a non-celiac would think about!


              yes, it is an unfortunate reality that gluten-free pastries & crusts made with alternative flours - rice, sorghum, bean, amaranth, quinoa, etc - will differ slightly in taste AND texture from traditional baked goods.

              if that's your concern, then i'd definitely recommend doing a crumb crust or topping instead. stores like whole foods & wild oats carry gluten-free cookies, crackers, & cereals, or you can order them online. i can't really vouch for the taste - i much prefer making my own to buying packaged foods so i've tried very few of the products on the market...but the big cookie & cracker names to look for are enjoy life foods, pamela's, mi-del, dr. schar, and jo-sef.

              apparently the 'enjoy life' snickerdoodles are extremely popular, and i know jo-sef, miss roben's and mi-del all make gluten-free graham crackers.

              you mentioned that you might also want to try making a wheat-free item that's not necessarily gluten-free. in that case, the earlier posts about spelt flour were correct - it's a great replacement for wheat flour and you can bake with it as you usually do. alternatively, try something with rolled oats or oat flour. oats aren't gluten-free, but they are a wheat alternative.

              1. re: jsaimd

                Will you post your nut crust recipe with the marshmallows?

                1. re: WCchopper

                  I wish I had a recipe for you, but that one we just do by eye. Basically we put in a food processor roasted or raw nuts around 2 to 2.5 cups, often a blend of almonds, pecans and cashews, DH adds olive oil to it, say a tablespoon to a batch. Then add a handful of mini marshmallows, a good dash of salt (I like the salty sweet crust). You can add cinnamon if you would like, and we often add unsweetened flaked coconut. Process well, so the marshmallows are entirely incorporated. Then press the mixture into a pyrex pie pan. bake at 350 or so until marshmallows start to bubble and lightly browned. Watch it carefully because it can burn.

                  1. re: jsaimd

                    what an ingenious idea! between the sugar and the gelatin the marshmallows obviously make a wonderful binder. i might have to try that...

                    1. re: jsaimd

                      So, for a first effort today, I ground pistachios in the food processor, added gluten free,dairy free gingersnaps, brown sugar (fresh bag) cinnamon and ginger and a little peanut oil. It came together like a normal crumb crust and I pressed it into a pie tin. Baked it for about 10 minutes at 350. I cut up plums and pears, tossed them with a little sugar and cornstarch ( I hope that was OK) and baked it for about 30 min. then pinched the rest of the crust into clumps, spread it over the fruit and baked it til brown. It smelled really good. We'll see what the response is!

                      1. re: WCchopper

                        sounds like an excellent start! i hope it's a hit...let us know. oh, and yes, the cornstarch for the filling is fine.

                        1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                          I finally had a sit down conversation with aforementioned friend and asked for their sternest critique of the pie crust. The flavor was apparently very good, but it cracked up really easily. Friend was under the impression that marshmallows were not always gluten free. Can you comment on this as I feel that their inclusion would have made all the difference.

                          1. re: WCchopper

                            i'm so sorry i never saw this question! i just happened to stumble upon this old thread today. i'm sure that you've already found the answer elsewhere given that it's been 2 1/2 years (!) but marshmallows are, in fact, usually gluten-free.

        2. If your friend is simply wheat intolerant & has a sensitive constitution then white spelt flour makes amazing pie crust, better than wheat because it has more protein & a shorter gluten strand. However it is not for celiacs, as it does contain some gluten. You can get white spelt at Fairway or some health food stores. Use your favorite pie dough recipe & just replace the wheat with the white spelt.

          1. If you can get your hands on some uncontaminated oat flour (like the one from Cream Hill Estates, suitable for celiacs) you can use their recipe for Pie Pastry here:


            Their store locator is here:


            1 Reply
            1. re: kpzoo

              My husband has celiac and is allergic to Dairy so I experiement baking wise a lot. I have made a cookie crumb crust using Pamela's cookies, which tend to be a bit chewy and soft, so I place them on a baking sheet and essentially dry them out. After they are cool, I grind them in the food processor, mix them with a bit of oil and applesauce and press it into a pie pan and proceed to make the pie. When we have dinner parties sometimes the guests dont believe that the dessert is gluten and dairy free!

            2. I have adapted a recipe from 'The Way We Cook" by Sheryl Julian and Julie Riven. First I use a GF Flour mix as follows, adapted from Karen Robertson's Cooking Gluten Free. I use this in almost any conventional recipe to make it gluten free.

              1/4 cup potato starch (not potato flour)
              2/3 cup tapioca starch (you can get this at a Whole Foods type place or anywhere with Brazlian food)
              3/4 sweet rice flour (also called glutinous rice flour but the "glutinous" here means sticky not having gluten in it) - available at asian grocery stores
              1/3 cup cornstarch
              2 tsps. xanthan gum

              So use this flour in the following recipe:

              Pulse in food processor:
              2 1/2 cups flour
              1/2 tsp. baking powder
              1/4 tsp. salt

              Pulse in:
              6 Tbsp. cold butter
              6 Tbsp. shortening ( I use trans fat free Spectrum)

              Then pulse in:
              2 Tbsp. sugar

              Combine and then add to processor until dough just starts to come together:
              1 egg
              1 Tbsp. vinegar
              3 Tbsp. ice water

              Turn out onto counter and gather into ball, wrap in plastic and refrigerate for 30 mins.

              I roll out between 2 pieces of parchment dusted with powdered sugar. Start with the dought flattened out some and edges smoothed out by hand. Dust underneath the dough often so it doesn't stick. If the dough starts to crack at all - stop and press back together. GF dough is very crumbly so a small crack will easily become a big crack. I use this for any pie and though we only have one Celiac in the family almost everyone has come to prefer its taste and texture.

              Good luck and you are a good friend!!

              3 Replies
              1. re: gilliano

                Hi Gilliano, the recipe sounds wonderful, just make sure that when you are using the vinegar that you use something other than WHITE VINEGAR. White vinegar is derived from WHEAT and does contain gluten

                1. re: Miamicooks

                  I use Heinz distilled white vinegar which has been listed on their website as GF for years. Which brands are NOT gf?


                  1. re: Miamicooks

                    The current info in the Celiac community is that plain white distilled, plain cider, plain rice, and plain balsamic vinegars are all gluten free.
                    Malt vinegar is not because it has malt (barley) added after distillation and some flavored vinegars might have suspect ingredients (would need to check with manufacterer).

                    hope this helps,

                2. Glutenless Crust

                  2 Cups glutenless flour (buckwheat, amaranth, quinoa) -- i like amar + quinoa
                  ¼ to ½ Cup solid oil
                  ¼ teaspoon salt

                  Anyway, mix flour and salt, cut in butter, add water gradually until the dough holds together. I recommend just pressing the dough into the pan, and using waxed paper if you make a top crust.


                  3/4 cup Amaranth Flour
                  1/2 cup Tapioca
                  1/4 cup Almond Meal
                  1/4 tsp Celtic Sea Salt
                  1/2 tsp Cinnamon
                  3 Tb Coconut Oil
                  3 - 4 Tb Water (I ended up needing 6 Tb)
                  2 tsp Agave Syrup

                  Mix dry first, then mix in wet. Press into pie pan.