Wednesday, February 27, 2019

Blueberry Pie, Gluten-free and tribute to America's Test Kitchen and my mini #disaster from author @DarylWoodGerber

So pretty going in!

From Daryl:

Well, my, oh, my, I have learned my lesson.  A blueberry pie needs top and bottom crusts!  I was dying for blueberry pie and saw this recipe in The How Can It Be Gluten-Free Cookbook, America’s Test Kitchen Cookbook. I’ve loved all the other recipes I’ve tried. Why not this? A perfect pie crust? I’m in. Except I didn’t make 2 crusts, I made a single crust recipe. Silly me.  The blueberries bubbled up and over the edge. And they didn’t hold together when slicing a piece of pie. Sigh.

Flavor? Divine!

Presentation? meh!

Okay, disaster! Truly!  LOL 

New Mantra:  Read directions first!!

Let me show you how it should have been made by providing you with the exact instructions from the cookbook.  And their final product pictures.  And a link for how to buy the cookbook at the end.

about the book

The ATK cookbook “cooks” explain why each recipes works throughout the book. Their explanations are lengthy, but if you really want to understand the effort that went into finding just the right recipe, and perhaps to better your own gluten-free baking choices, they’re worth reading.

From the Cookbook:


Why this recipe works:

We wanted a pie that had a firm, juicy filling full of fresh blueberry flavor with still plump berries, and we also wanted a crisp, flaky crust. To thicken the pie, we tried cornstarch as well as our gluten-free flour blend but preferred tapioca starch, which was subtle enough to allow the berry flavor to shine through.  Too much of it, though, created a congealed mess.

Cooking some of the blueberries down to a saucy consistency helped us reduce the amount of tapioca required, as did adding a peeled Granny Smith apple (*see my note below) that we shredded on the large holes of a box grater.  Rich in pectin, the apple helped thicken the berries naturally.  (*I forgot to purchase the apple, so I added 1 teaspoon pectin in its place.)

Since gluten-free pie crusts can easily turn soggy, we found that preheating a sheet pan in the oven and baking the pie on the lower rack helped keep the crust crisp. It’s not safe to place a glass Pyrex pie plate on a preheated baking sheet.  (Oops, I didn’t see this note. That’s what I used. Crossing my fingers.)  If you must use a glass pie plate, do not preheat the baking sheet.  Note, however, that your crust will not be as crisp. This pie is best served the day it is made.

Blueberry Pie

Serves 8

6 cups blueberries
1 Granny Smith apple, peeled, cored, and shredded
3/4 cup sugar
2 tablespoons tapioca starch
2 teaspoons grated lemon zest plus 2 teaspoons juice
pinch salt
1 recipe Double-Crust Pie Dough (*I made mine single crust)
1 large egg white, lightly beaten

Cook 3 cups blueberries in medium saucepan over medium heat, mashing occasionally with potato masher to help release juices, until half of berries have broken down and mixture is thickened and measures about 1 ½ cups, about 8 minutes. Let cool slightly.

Please shredded apple in clean kitchen towel and wring dry. Combine apple, cooked berry mixture, remaining 3 cups uncooked berries, sugar, tapioca starch, lemon zest and juice, and salt in large bowl.  (*This is where I substituted 1 teaspoon pectin for shredded apple.)

Adjust oven rack to lowest position, place foil-lined rimmed baking sheet on rack, and heat oven to 425 degrees.  Roll 1 disk of dough into 12-inch circle between 2 large sheets of plastic wrap.  Remove top plastic, gently invert dough over 9-inch METAL pie plate, and ease dough into plate.  Remove remaining plastic.  Roll other disk of dough into 12-inch circle between 2 large sheets of plastic. Remove top plastic.  (The cookbook suggests making cookie-cutter size holes in the top around a center hole. You don’t have to. *I made single crust. Again, I messed up by not reading all the instructions and I was too lazy to make another crust.)

Spread blueberry mixture evenly into dough-lined pie plate. Gently invert top crust over filling and remove remaining plastic. Trim dough ½ inch beyond lip of pie plate, pinch dough edges together, and tuck under itself to be flush with edge of pie plate. Crimp dough around edge using your fingers. Brush pie with egg white.

Place pie on preheated baking sheet and bake until crust is light golden brown about 25 minutes.  Reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees, rotate baking sheet, and continue to bake until juices are bubbling and crust is deep golden brown, 30 to 40 minutes longer.  Let pie cool on wire rack to room temperature, about 4 hours.  Serve.


Why this recipe works:

Perfect pie dough has just the right balance of tenderness and structure. The former comes from fat, the latter form the long protein chains, called gluten, that form when flour mixes with water.  Too little gluten, and the dough won’t stick together. 

Gluten-free flours are naturally low in protein. As our first step, we swapped in our gluten-free flour blend for the flour in all the pie dough recipes the test kitchen has developed over the years.  We produced workable doughs, but an all-butter dough (which includes sour cream for tenderness) had the necessary richness to stand up to the starchiness of the gluten-free flour blend and was clearly the best starting point.   Although we weren’t surprised to find that the dough was still too soft and lacked structure, we were taken aback by how tough it was; on its own, the sour cream was not sufficient to tenderize a gluten-free dough. We solved the structural problem easily with the addition of a modest amount of xanthan gum, but flakiness and tenderness were still elusive. In an effort to further tenderize our dough, we tested ingredients that are known to tenderize: baking soda, lemon juice, and vinegar.  Vinegar was the clear winner, producing a pie crust that was not only tender, but also light and flaky.  This pie dough can be prepared in advance and refrigerated for 2 days; however , it is not sturdy enough to withstand freezing.

(My SIDE note: make sure you roll this out to 12 inches. My 11 inches was not enough to create a nice edge. The plastic wrap tip is amazing!)

Double-Crust Pie Dough
Makes enough for one 9-inch pie

5 tablespoons ice water
3 tablespoons sour cream
1 tablespoon rice vinegar
2 ¾ cups plus 2 tablespoons Gluten-free Flour Blend
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon xanthan gum
16 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 1/4 inch pieces and frozen for 10 minutes

Combine ice water, sour cream, and vinegar together in a bowl. Set aside.

Process flour blend, sugar, salt, and xanthan gum in a food processor until combined, about 5 seconds.  Scatter frozen butter over top and pulse mixture until butter is size of large peas, about 10 pulses.

Pour half of the sour cream mixture over flour mixture and pulse until incorporated, about 3 pulses.  Pour remaining sour cream mixture over flour mixture and pulse until dough comes together, about 6 pulses.  (*Maybe my processor isn’t as strong as ATK’s, but it took about 30 pulses for my mixture to come together.)

Divide dough into 2 even pieces. Turn each piece of dough onto sheet of plastic wrap and flatten each into 5-inch disk. Wrap each piece tightly in plastic and refrigerate for about 1 hour. Before rolling out dough, let it sit on counter to soften slightly, about 15 minutes.  (Dough can be wrapped tightly in plastic and refrigerated for up to 2 days.)

(Note: A half recipe is truly dividing each ingredient in half.)

ATK Gluten-free flour blend
Makes 42 ounces, about 9 1/3 cups

4  1/2 cups plus 1/3 cup white rice flour
1  2/3 cups brown rice flour
1  1/2 cups potato starch
3/4 cup tapioca starch
3 tablespoons nonfat milk powder

Whisk all ingredients together in large bowl until well combined. Transfer to airtight container and refrigerate for up to 3 months.


Like I said, so pretty going in.

To keep crust from getting too brown, you can cover with foil for second half of baking.



I didn't show my guests the whole pie, only the result. Very tasty. Filling held together well.

Have you made disasters that tasted good?

The How Can It Be Gluten-Free Cookbook, America’s Test Kitchen cookbook. BUY LINK

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  1. I sympathize--I am pie-crust challenged. I have at least a dozen recipes and none of them seems to work well. This version sounds promising. And it's hard to go wrong with blueberries!

  2. i dont do pies very well. i have made so many mistakes when i bake. but it always tastes good, lol

  3. Their detailed instructions are wonderful. I love how they try things and come up with "the best".
    My favorite blueberry pie is with a baked crust, raw berries, and a cornstarch/water/lemon/sugar glaze. Served with freshly whipped cream.

    1. YUM. I will try this again - with both crusts. I'll report back. :) ~ Thanks, Libby. ~ Daryl

  4. For a disaster, that's not a bad one. At least it was not only edible, but tasty! It looks like you lined your baking sheet with tin foil-so at least the spill went there, otherwise cleanup truly would have been a nightmarish disaster!

  5. I am laughing! But it does not matter that it wasn't pretty coming out, only that it tasted yum! The yum is what really counts in the end :)