Friday, November 18, 2011

Honey Pie

I found this recipe in the Spring 2011 issue of Where Women Cook. I ended up combining it with a gluten-free pie crust recipe from Gluten-Free Girl and the Chef, just so I could try my hand at it; of course, you could use your favourite pie crust recipe here. If you try it, though, I strongly recommend weighing the ingredients. I had to make a few changes (vegetable shortening instead of leaf lard; and extra potato starch to compensate for the 1.15 oz of rice flour I was missing), but I think it came out quite well. The pie itself came out much darker than on the picture in the magazine, so I question the temperature and baking time required (and I also had a lot of foam at the surface of the egg mixture after all the whisking, before I baked it). I’m printing it here as in the recipe, but be warned that you might need to adjust it. Despite that, the pie was very good, light, and not too sweet. The Engineer even had seconds!

Gluten-free pie crust
1 ¼ cup (5 oz) almond flour
2/3 cup (2 oz) gluten-free oat flour
2/3 cup (2 oz) tapioca flour
½ cup (2 oz) teff flour
½ cup (3 oz) potato starch
¼ cup (2 oz) sweet rice flour
2 tsp xanthan gum
¼ tsp guar gum
½ tsp kosher salt
5 Tbsp butter, cold (or non-dairy butter sticks, as I did, ideally from the freezer)
4 Tbsp leaf lard, cold (see note below)
1 large egg
6 to 8 Tbsp ice-cold water

In a large bowl, using a whisk, mix the almond flour, oat flour, tapioca flour, teff flour, and potato starch. Add the xanthan and guar gums and the salt. Mix well.

Add small pieces of the ice-cold butter to the flour mixture, not much bigger than a pea. (Or, if you’d like, freeze your butter beforehand, then grate the frozen butter into the flours. Move quickly.) Afterward, add the leaf lard in small portions, of equal size.

Use your hands to scoop up the flours and mix in the fats. Go slowly. Rub your hands together. Feel the fats work into the flours with your fingers. The flours will look sandy when you are done.

Combine the egg with 3 tablespoons of the water and whisk them together.

I used the food processor for this next step, but you could do it by hand, too. Put the dough in the food processor and turn it on. As the dough is running around and around, drizzle in the eggy water. Stop to feel the dough. When the dough feels coherent, you are done. If it still feels dry and not quite there, then drizzle in a bit more water. If you go too far, and the dough begins to feel sticky or wet, sprinkle in a bit of potato starch to dry it out.

Wrap the pie dough in plastic wrap (or in a bowl) and let it rest in the refrigerator for 15 minutes or so. Take it out and roll out the dough between two pieces of parchment paper. Roll it out as thin as you can. Carefully, lift the top piece of parchment paper and turn the dough upside down on the top of a pie plate. Rearrange until it is flat. (This is where the parchment paper is extremely handy: since there is no gluten in this dough, it will NOT hold together in one piece if you try to pick it up from the counter and transfer it to your plate. You need the help of the parchment paper to move the whole thing. If it breaks apart, don’t worry; just piece it back together in the plate by pressing it with your fingertips. Again, there’s no gluten, so you can’t overwork it.) Crimp the edges.

For the honey pie
1 cup lactose-free whole milk
4 large eggs, at room temperature
½ honey
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 pinch of salt
a 9-inch pie crust (recipe of your choice, or store-bought)
fresh nutmeg

Preheat the oven to 400 °F (see note above).

Warm the milk in a small pan over medium heat. Watch carefully, and remove from the heat just before bubbles begin forming on the surface of the milk. Set aside.

In a medium-sized mixing bowl, whisk the eggs, honey, vanilla, and salt. Slowly add in warmed milk, whisking it in a bit at a time before adding more. Once all the milk is added to the egg mixture, whisk thoroughly to ensure all ingredients are fully incorporated.

Pour mixture into piecrust. Grate nutmeg liberally over the surface of the egg mixture. Place the pie on a rimmed baking sheet. Bake for 30 minutes.

Remove from the oven. Allow to cool at least 1 hour before serving.

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