Monday, August 3, 2009

What I Did for My Summer Vacation

We did what most families do on the fourth. We started with grilled burgers-all the fixing's included, potato chips, strawberry gelatin, and watermelon. After dinner Jared,my middle born (24,) and Lisa, my last (nearly 13,) had a marble fight with my decorative marbles.

Then we played a baseball game. Home base was a faded Frisbee. First base was a park bench tucked way over there in the corner, under the maple tree. Second base doubled as the pitchers mound. Shortstop was a large pine trees with a screen of branches hanging down. Third base was on the other side of the bushes at the antennae pole. And catcher, K. C. my first born (29,) slipped on the abundance of mulberries under the mulberry tree.

After our game we eat mulberry pie. My eldest son told me that my gluten-free Mulberry Pie jaded him. Each year our three Mulberry trees is full of mulberries ripe, just in time, for the Fourth of July. Every year my husband, Ken, asks for mulberry pie and each time I made one, it would come out runny, which would then turn the gluten-licious crust to mush. Yet, it was this year's gluten-free pie that jaded my son and lead him to claim that I should share my failures, too.

This year's pie had a double whammy. First, hoping to avoid the runny filling I added some arrowroot starch to the Minute Tapioca. The filling came out like gum. I could claim that I have solved the runny problem. Second, gluten-free crust just isn't your old favorite wheat and dairy pie crust. I've tried at least three different gluten-free pie crust recipes . I don't want to try any of them, again. The one, I used for this mulberry pie, came the closest to real pie crust.

It was a beautiful looking pie and we did eat it. The dough had been difficult to handle. It kept falling apart. The finished crust crumbled at a touch and was gritty in the mouth. This was the pie that jaded K.C.

I rarely find gluten-free recipes, created by others, that work for me. I have more success studying my old recipes and applying some of the science I've learned about gluten-free cooking. This was the case with my tortilla recipe, it's the tortilla recipe my husband and I decided I should turn into pie crust. It didn't work either. The dough handled better, but the finished crust was hard and slightly gritty.

The new mulberry pie was, sort of, a hit. Melissa said, “It's 100% better.”

K.C. Said, “It's 1000% better. I'm more allergic to the stems then the berries. Can't you do something about the stems?”

Jared couldn't finish it. He decided he only likes fresh mulberries. He didn't like the stems. He didn't like the crust either. It's not the same as real pie crust.

Lisa, my gluten-free gal, said, “It's perfect. Accept, I don't like the stems either.”

Ken said, “It's good. Can't you do something about the stems.”

Since, I'm not going to sit down and pick the tiny stems off of 6 cups of mulberries, I made an apple pie next. I thought if I add just a little more water the dough might handle better. The handling was only slightly better. However, the crust was tough.

I'm not sure it was the water that caused the toughness. It is possible the longer time needed for cooking the apples caused the problem. I will try again, but for now here is

My present version of a not perfect pie crust

Mix the following dry ingredients:
¼ cup Arrowroot starch
¼ cup tapioca flour
1 1/4 cup brown rice flour
¼ Millet flour
2 tsp guar gum
1tsp sea salt
1 tsp Cream of tartar
2 tsp sugar
Cut the following in with a pastry blend, until it looks like cornmeal size grain:
4 Tbs Spectrum Palm shortening
3 Tabs Smart balance, light
1 tsp apple cider vinegar*
½ cup hot water
Mix the vinegar with the water before pouring it into the mixture. Roll out half the dough on a floured sheet of wax paper. Place crust in greased and floured pie plate. Pour in the filling, place and then pinch top crust. Bake for no more than 30 - 40 minutes. I believe that over cooking is a part of what can make this crust hard. If your filling needs more cooking time then consider using precooked filling.
* I have recently learned apple cider vinegar is not gluten-free. I see it's use in many gluten-free recipes. There is many conflicting facts about what you can and cannot eat on a gluten-free diet. It is best to do your own label reading and not rely on anyone's word, not even what Celiac associations have said.