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Flaky Pastry & Pie Crust

Light, crispy and melt in your mouth pastry! What more can you ask for from a gluten-free pie crust. The secret ingredient to get the delicate crust is vodka! Don’t worry, all the alcohol gets evaporated off during the baking.

Flaky Pie Crust1

Flaky Pastry & Pie Crust / Pastry
3.5 from 2 reviews
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Serves: 8
Light, crispy and melt in your mouth pastry! What more can you ask for from a gluten-free pie crust.
Ingredients
  • ¼ cup butter, cold & cubed
  • ¼ cup GF shortening (like Crisco), cold & cubed
  • 3 Tbsp water + 3 Tbsp vodka, ice cold (won’t use all this liquid)
  • ¾ cup sorghum flour
  • ¼ cup potato starch
  • 3 Tbsp sweet rice flour
  • 3 Tbsp tapioca starch
  • 1 tsp xanthan gum
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 Tbsp sugar (reduce to 1 tsp for savory crust)
Instructions
  1. Place butter and shortening in the freezer for 15 minutes (you can use all butter if you like, but shortening really does make it lighter and flakier). Combine the water and vodka in a glass and place in freezer for 15 minutes.
  2. In a food processor, pulse together remaining dry ingredients. Add the butter and shortening, pulsing until the mixture resembles coarse meal. With processor running, add the cold water/vodka mixture 1 tablespoon at a time, just until the mixture just barely starts to clump together (probably will need only 2-4 Tbsp of liquid, depending on humidity). Test the dough with your fingers after adding each tablespoon - the dough should be a bit crumbly, but holds together when pressed together. Place onto counter and knead everything into a soft pliable ball.
  3. Shape into a disk, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate 30-60 minutes. Remove from fridge and let rest at room temperature for 15-30 minutes (this cooling and resting are allowing all the liquids in the dough to evenly absorb into the flours, which will produce a flakier crust).
  4. Place dough on a floured piece of parchment paper (or silicone baking mat), sprinkle some flour on top of your dough. If you find the dough hard to handle you can place another piece of parchment paper on top. Once you have rolled it to the desired thickness, peel off the top layer of parchment paper. If the surface is sticky, rub some flour over the surface until its smooth. Invert the crust into a greased pie plate, then peel off the last layer of parchment paper. Again, dust the surface with flour if its sticky. Press into the plate, trim edges (or leave to create a ‘rustic’ crust that you just fold over), and pinch to create a fluted edge.
  5. Place pie crust (in pie plate) in freezer for 30 minutes.
  6. Remove from freezer. If desired, brush an egg wash (1 egg + 1 Tbsp water) or milk/milk alternative onto crust edges to get a golden brown finish.
  7. To bake an empty pie shell: bake at 375°F for 20-30 minutes, until just starts to turn golden.
Notes
This recipe makes 1 pie crust. For a two-crust pie, double the recipe, and remember for fruit pies to cut small slits in the center of the top crust to allow the hot steam to escape.
If you don't want to use vodka, just replace with more water.

FAQ: Is Vodka Gluten Free?

FAQ: Why Use Vodka in Pastry? Too much liquid in a pie crust will make it heavy and very dense. It’s such a fine balance though, since you need the liquids to combine the dry ingredients together. The vodka adds to the liquid amount needed to get the dough to form a ball that can be rolled out. But during the baking, ALL the vodka gets evaporated out (since its an alcohol)- so you are in fact removing half the liquids. This makes a drier, lighter, and much much flakier crust. Gluten-free baking needs all the help it can to produce similar results, and this is one way that really does help make this pie crust just a delicious as a normal (gluten) one!

 

18 Responses to Flaky Pastry & Pie Crust

  1. Ruby Pearson January 25, 2014 at 10:25 am #

    The only thing that I don’t like about the recipe is the vodka. I am highly allergic to any kind of alcohol, therefore this recipe would not work for me.

    • Angie Halten (Admin)
      Angie Halten (Admin) January 25, 2014 at 11:41 am #

      You can just replace the vodka with more water.

  2. Darlene February 11, 2014 at 12:19 pm #

    I believe I just read that certain Vodkas are not gluten free. Please verify this. Thanks

  3. Ada Alvarez April 1, 2014 at 7:52 pm #

    WOULD LIKE TO HAVE A PIE CRUST THAT USING ONE FLOUR ONLY..LIKE DOMATA FLOUR…IS THERE ANY..WOULD REALLY APPRECIATE IT IF YOU HAVE ONE..THANKS
    ADA

    • Angie Halten (Admin)
      Angie Halten (Admin) April 2, 2014 at 8:43 am #

      To replicate wheat flours’ glutinous properties, a gluten free flour blend – especially for baked goods, should be made up of; 50% grain flour, 25% starch, and 25% protein flour. I agree it would be so much easier if we could use just one type of flour (cut down on costs and cupboard space!), but for the best results, you really do need to use a blend. Which is exactly what Domata brand flour is (it also includes xanthan gum). So by all means you can replace all the flours, starches and xanthan gum that are listed in this recipe (which is about 1 1/3 cups) and exchange with an equal amount of Domata flour.

  4. Bonnie June 18, 2014 at 8:22 am #

    I would like to try this recipe – as my homemade pies are one of the things my family misses most. I am new to this gluten free baking – and live in Canada – what is Domata flour? I am frustrated by the fact that almost every recipe or GF cook book calls for it’s own “brand” or mix of flours – how many different “mixes” must one make? How do I know if an all purpose flour -e.g. Bob’ Red Mill can be substituted for various other mixes – also, I don’t understand when it is necessary to add xanthum gum to different flours. Any advice would be appreciated.

    • Marla Hingley
      Marla Hingley June 18, 2014 at 8:58 am #

      Gluten free flours all have such different taste and textures, it all comes down to personal choice (which is why there are so many brands out there). Combinations of different gluten free flours will produce different results depending how you use it (eg. cakes vs. breads). Which is why there are ‘all purpose’ gluten free flours specific for cake & pastry recipes , breads recipes, etc. Check out our Recipes/Flour Mixes section for a list of our blends. Generally speaking there is no one single flour to use when baking, a blend is needed to try and re-create the properties that regular wheat flour contains (that darn gluten!). For most baking recipes a gluten free blend should contain a mixture of 50% grain flour, 25% starch, and 25% protein flour. Check out our article: “The Secret to Baking Gluten Free Bread” to find what types of gluten free flours are classified as grain, protein, etc. Xanthan gum replaces the binding and stretchy properties of gluten. You can find out more info on it in our article: “What’s The Difference Between Xanthan Gum & Guar Gum?” Domata flour is another brand that sells a gluten free flour blend. Hope all this info helps!

  5. Grace July 13, 2014 at 9:51 am #

    I have brown rice flour and white rice flour. Where do I get “sweet rice flour”?

    • Marla Hingley
      Marla Hingley July 13, 2014 at 9:56 am #

      Any health/organic food store should have it. I have yet to find a large chain grocery store, even those with extensive gluten free sections, that carries it. It has very different properties from both brown and white rice flour, so you really shouldn’t use those as a substitute when sweet rice flour is called for.

  6. Caroline December 10, 2014 at 10:03 pm #

    If you live in Michigan you can go to Hiller’s they are only in Michigan though and they have 5 stores here. They are a Jewish store but sell everything gluten free you can dream of just about as well as Gluten products. They have great meats as well. I am not Jewish but love this store. I believe you can order from them online too. go to http://www.hillers.com

  7. Roger December 23, 2014 at 1:45 am #

    I found Everclear to make a most flaky crust. Long before Gluten Free became a necessity, my Grandmother used Ever Clear just as we might utilize any herb; culinary as well as medicinal; hot toddy and pastry dough. I’ve altered my Grandmother’s recipe greatly and this one only slightly by utilizing my home made butter and coconut oil and exclusively Ever Clear. I chill all the ingredients as well as the liquid cane sugar(invert syrup) I use instead of water. All as cold as possible; food processor to pie dish. I’m complemented and hand out this recipe frequently.

    • Marla Hingley
      Marla Hingley December 23, 2014 at 10:53 am #

      I have never heard of Everclear – although its probably in my local liquor store, I’ve just never looked for it. After looking it up I found out it is up to 95% alcohol – up to 190 proof! Wow that’s some potent stuff! I just asked my husband if he ever heard of it and he said; ‘oh, you mean moonshine?’
      I can see how it would make a flakier crust – with so little water in it, 95% of it would burn off while it cooked leaving only a tiny amount of moisture. Sounds delicious!

  8. Lorraine December 16, 2015 at 9:41 am #

    Does the vodka trick apply to regular pie crust?

  9. Antonia October 31, 2017 at 2:09 pm #

    Thaqnk You Angie, I never baked tart or any Pie, but I vill try this one. I have so many trouble, so I have to change thinks around . But I leaned more now. Thanks again, Antonia.

  10. Annette April 28, 2018 at 7:03 am #

    The never fail pie crust recipe calls for vinegar. Would it be possible to substitute vinegar for the vodka in this recipe?

    • Marla Hingley
      Marla Hingley April 29, 2018 at 5:21 pm #

      Yes, but the crust may end up being a little less light and flaky – since the added the vodka will evaporate almost completely compared to the vinegar once baked.

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