Gluten-Free Pastry Dough (Pate Brisee)

Happy Thanksgiving to all of my Canadian friends!

unbaked pie shell

If the turkey is the star of the Thanksgiving meal, pumpkin pie is the decadent centerpiece of dessert. For years, others in my family have opted to make the pies. This year, I knew that if I didn’t take matters into my own hands, my dessert would consist solely of whipped cream. Last week I made practice pies, as I am not that familiar with pastry dough, and gluten-free pastry no less! They tasted ok. I hadn’t rolled the dough out thin enough, and the gluten-free flour combination I tried wasn’t quite right.

Yesterday, when I made the dough again, I stuck to my cup for cup recipe, which was a success! The dough was tender, and even when chilled, it was pliable enough to roll out, and yet soft enough that it didn’t crack much as I rolled it. Some recipes call for lard as it arguably makes the dough more tender. I’m not into store-bought lard, so I opted for organic butter instead, and it still seemed quite tender. As with most things in life, practice dramatically improves pastry dough, so if the first batch doesn’t come out quite right, learn from it and try again! (Eating the failed practice pie isn’t that bad a consolation either!)

pie pastry 1

Gluten-Free Pastry Dough

(Adapted from a gluten-free booklet by West Point Naturals)

2 1/4 cups gluten-free flour mix (3/4 cup brown or white rice flour, 3/4 cup tapioca flour, 3/4 cup organic corn starch, 2 teaspoons zanthan gum)

2 teaspoons organic cane sugar

1/2 teaspoon sea salt

1 cup organic butter, chilled

1 egg, whisked

1 teaspoon white vinegar

Approximately 1/2-3/4 cup ice water

Corn starch for dusting

pie pastry 2


Whisk together rice flour, tapioca flour, corn starch, zanthan gum, sugar and salt in a bowl, or pulse several times in a food processor.

Cut butter into small cubes, and then cut into the flour mixture with a pastry cutter or two knives, or pulse in food processor, until the mixture looks like crumbly dough, about the size of peas.

Combine the egg and vinegar into a measuring cup and whisk. Add enough ice water to fill the measuring cup up to the 1/2 cup mark.

Sprinkle the eggy liquid over the dry mixture in small portions, stirring with a fork after each addition. If necessary, sprinkle additional ice water over dough to get it to the right consistency. (I used closer to 3/4 cup liquid in total).

The sticky dough will resemble a combination of marble sized lumps and coarse sand. Bring dough together with your hands and pat into a ball. Divide the ball in half and flatten each one slightly to make it easier to roll out after.

Place the dough portions in the refrigerator and chill for thirty minutes.

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.

Sprinkle a teaspoon of cornstarch onto the counter and begin rolling out the dough, flipping dough several times to ensure it won’t stick, and dusting with more cornstarch as necessary.

When dough is 1-2 mm thick, rollup onto the rolling-pin, then unroll dough over pie plate(s).

Gently nudge the dough into the corners of the dish. and pressing the dough down around the edges. With a knife, trim around the edge of the pie plate(s) to remove any extra dough.

With a fork, poke holes all over the bottom and sides of the pie shell(s).  Crimp the edges of the shell(s) to finish the edges.

Line shell(s) with foil or parchment and fill with dried beans, so that the shells will bake flat and evenly.

If making a double crust pie, follow the directions of your recipe for the top shell.

If using a glass or ceramic pie plate, bake for approximately 15 minutes. Remove beans and foil, and bake for 5-10 minutes longer, until golden.

If using a metal or tin pie plate, bake for approximately 20 minutes. Remove beans and foil, and bake for 5-10 minutes longer, until golden.

Cool shells, and fill with your favorite filling.

Makes either 2 single crust pies, or one double crust pie.

(Pie filling recipes to follow!)

4 thoughts on “Gluten-Free Pastry Dough (Pate Brisee)

  1. I have looking for a gluten free pie recipe which resembles a traditional one, so thanks for that. Will give it a try.
    I think butter is what you want for a real brisee pastry – lard will give a flakier result, but many people prefer the butter option because of the flavour.

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