Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Iron Craft Week 24 - Something For Him

I'm back to doing Iron Craft!!!  I'm happy!  Well, since this is for Father's day and my husband has virtually put those years behind him I am not doing anything traditional for him.  (He has two grown children and no grandchildren so it's just not the same.)  I still wanted to do something for him though.  He has Celiac, for those of you who don't know what that is, it's an auto-immune disorder (think diabetes) that doesn't allow his body to process gluten.  He is one of the lucky ones and didn't fight to get diagnosed.  However, he went many years without following the diet like he was suppose to.

So let's have a brief overview of this before we get started.  We all have these little hairs in our intestine.  They suck out all of the nutrients from our food before it gets ready to leave our body.  When he eats something with gluten, those little hairs lay down and nothing gets sucked out it just goes right out.  Not a good thing!  So what's gluten?  You know when you get a really great piece of pizza and it's chewy and just extremely yummy?  That's thanks to gluten.  Gluten is found in wheat, barely and rye.  Because of how oats are harvested and processed they are considered not safe either.  There are some oats that are safe but they are really expensive and hard to find here in the boondocks.  Now on to the gift. lol

Because wheat is not allowed in cooking, baking for me is very hard.  Just before he went back on the gluten-free diet I found this amazing pie recipe.  It's from Paula Deen so you know it's going to be over the top, loaded with calories, and well good. lol  He fell in love with it, well my version of it anyway.  We haven't had it since though. :(  I have decided to give it a try and you are going on the ride with me. So let's jump in the car and go.

I started with this recipe.  Gluten Free Melt In Your Mouth Shortbread Cookies after reading the reviews I saw that it had some issues falling apart so I needed to fix that.  It also used a good hunk of rice flour that we don't care for a lot of.  It tends to be slightly grainy.  So I pulled out all my gluten-free flours and read on the package what they did in baking and went from there.

In my stand mixer I put:
1/2 cup cornstarch
1/2 cup powdered sugar
3/4 cup softened butter
2 tsp Xanthan Gum
(Now to make up that 1 cup of rice flour)
1/4 cup of rice flour, I used white because that's what I had open
1/4 cup of potato flour
1/4 cup of tapioca starch
1 TBSP of almond meal (I have a ton of this in the freezer because you only use it a tablespoon or two at a time) in the bottom of a 1/4 cup and then filled with potato starch.

I can see all your heads spinning right now.  I know that is a lot of different flours but each one brings something to the table to give us an overall product.  My goal is to produce a pie crust as similar to wheat pie crust as possible.  So let's go through them and the why I added it.

Cornstarch - the original recipe calls for this and it helps to brown and crisp things.
Xanthan Gum - helps hold gluten free foods together.  I don't know why or how but I know from experience if you leave it out things fall apart.
Rice Flour - it lends a light and delicate sponginess
Potato Flour - lends a moist crumb
Tapioca Flour - lends a springy texture, promotes browning, and makes a crispy crust
Potato Starch - produces a tender, moist crust
Almond Flour - lends a moist texture and rich, butter flavor
(all descriptions with the exception of cornstarch and xanthan gum were taken from the Bob's Red Mill package)

My hope was/is that all those individual characteristics would bring about a wonderful crust.  We'll find out!

I mixed all my ingredients together but it didn't form a ball like the cookie recipe said.  :(  But it did look like real pie dough! :)  So I started adding tablespoons of cold water until it formed a ball.  (4 tablespoons is what it took.)  Doesn't look too bad does it?

I sprayed my glass pie plate with non stick spray just to be on the safe side. I patted the pie crust into the pie plate and put it in the freezer to chill.  (Note: I had a little extra dough left over.  I rolled it out, put a little melted butter on it sprinkled with cinnamon and sugar.  I rolled it up and baked it without chilling it.  It came out fine so I might skip this step in the future.)

I baked the crust at 350 for about 40 minutes.  I tried my best to get it to brown.  No luck! :(  But something I did learn was, the leftovers browned in an ungreased metal pan at least on the bottom.  It didn't brown on top either.  (For those not in the know, getting gluten free foods to brown can be next to impossible sometimes.)

After it was cooled I just followed Paula's recipe with the following exceptions.  I didn't add the nuts or the orange zest.  I also added vanilla to the whip cream for the topping.

So how did it turn out?  Not half bad.  I over baked the crust trying to brown it so it was kind of tough.  The flavor was good though and it didn't fall apart.  It was a little thick in spots because I patted it in instead of rolling it out.  The crust has great potential.  My husband thought it would make good "Pop Tarts" or single serve pies.  It's going on my list of things to do again!

This post was actually written during the process of making the pie.  It's exactly what was going through my head as I was doing it.  :)  I will get a post of just the recipe up shortly. Here's the recipe!
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