Gluten Free Pecan Pie

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I had long believed  pecan pie to be a very complicated thing to bake but I am happy to report that I was very wrong. Using a recipe  adapted very easily for a gluten free diet from my go to resource for delicious food, Smitten Kitchen, I made what I think may be my favourite pie ever. The recipe  for the pie crust has an unusual proportion of butter to flour but creates an amazing pastry that works unbelievably well with gluten free flour. The filling is simplicity itself and although I always though this pie should be served warm with cream it is actually ten time better cold, so if you have the patience to allow this cool for a few hours once it is out of the oven the wait will be worth it.

Gluten Free Pecan Pie adapted from Smitten Kitchen

Pastry
155 grams Dove’s Farm gluten free plain flour  mixed with 1 1/2 teaspoons of pysllium husk
1 1/2 teaspoons  caster sugar
115 grams cold salted butter
1/4 cup (60 ml) very cold water, plus an additional tablespoon if needed

Filling 
3 ounces of butter
1 cup packed dark brown sugar
3/4 cup golden syrup
225 grams pecan halves
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon bourbon or whiskey
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3 large eggs

For the pastry

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Butter a deep sided 9″ loose bottomed pie dish

  • Stir the GF flour, pysllium husk and caster sugar together in a bowl.
  • Grate in the cold butter and use your fingers to rub together to the breadcrumb stage.
  • Stir in some of the cold water, keep adding and mixing with a fork or your fingers until the pastry comes together in a smooth ball, you may not need all the water.
  • Wrap the pastry in cling film and place in the fridge to chill.
  • Remove the pastry from the fridge while you butter your pie dish. This recipe makes enough for a 9″ pie but my pie dish is quite shallow so I got one 9″ and two 3″ pies out of this recipe.
  • Role out the pastry between two floured  sheets of baking parchment and use the bottom sheet of baking parchment to carry the pastry to to the pie dish, lower the pastry in and press in to place with your fingers, patch any tears or cracks that form.
  • If you want to par- bak the shell line the pastry shell with more baking parchment and fill with baking beans.
  • Place in a preheated oven ( Gas 6, 400f, 200)  for 20 minutes, remove from the oven and  take out the paper and baking beans and allow to cool a bit before filling.
  • If you do not want to par-bake the shell place the pastry lined pie dish in the fridge until your filling is ready.
  • I have tried this pastry shell both ways and I feel it works better if you do not par- bake the shell. I found that the filling leaked through even the most minute crack in the baked shell and meant that the finished pie was glued with caramel to the pie dish.

For the filling and to bake the pie

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Pre Heat oven: Gas 4, 350°f, 180°, gas .

  • Roast the pecans by spreading them on a baking sheet and toasting in the oven for  10 minutes
  • Place the butter, brown sugar and golden syrup in a saucepan over a medium heat and allow the butter to melt, bring to a simmer and cook for 2 minutes.

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  • Remove the pan from the heat pour the mixture in to a bowl before stirring in the cider vinegar, vanilla essence, whiskey (or bourbon) and toasted pecan nuts.
  • Set aside and allow to cool for ten or so minutes before adding the eggs
  • Once cooled slightly stir or use a hand whisk to mix in the eggs, one at a time.
  • Pour the mixture in to prepared pie shell and place in the pre heated oven
  • Bake for 40 to 45 minutes until the edges are set and the centre is just firm to the touch but not completely set. By that time your house will smell delicious.

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Cool the pie in the dish on a rack before removing from the dish and serve either warm with cream or ice cream or cold, I recommend cold.

Peach Pie: Gluten Free

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Being the season of mist and mellow fruitfulness I was inspired to bake a fruit tart however I cheated slightly and used tinned peaches as all of the peaches in the grocery store were of the rock hard ripen at home variety and to be honest every time I try the to ripen at hoe the fruit goes from unripe to furry by the time I remember to use them. In my defense I have seen both Mary Berry and Nigella Lawson use tinned fruit in recipes and if they are ok with it than who am I to argue.

Deeply golden, with the occasional sliver or orange peeking through the delicate almond filling and a perfect crisp sweet shortcrust, this Peach Pie is one of the best things that I have baked in a long time.  It is the kind of desert to serve with some spiced apple cider and enjoyed in front of a warm fire.

I don’t know what went spectacularly right with this pastry but it was the best Gluten Free pastry shell I have ever made, crisp, sweet and a beautiful deep brown it was a pleasure to eat so I am going to stick with this simple method for a while. Usually I never take the time to roll out GF pastry as it tends to crumble, most of the time I just press the pastry in to the tin with my fingers but this time I was determined to get a very tine, even shell so I careful rolled the pastry between two sheets of baking parchment and then even more carefully laid it in to the in. I peeled the parchment back very slowly and then filled any tears and gaps with the excess pastry and this has resulted in an excellent pastry shell.

Peach Pie

Pastry

Ingredients

8 ounces of Doves Farm Gluten Free Plain Flour

1ounce of caster sugar

4 ounces of cold butter

1 large egg

2 tablespoons of cold water

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  • Butter an 11 inch, loose bottomed pie tin. My tin is about 1.5 inches deep and easily fit all of the pie filling.
  • Stir the flour and sugar together in a bowl
  • Grate in the cold butter and rub together until you get the texture of coarse bread crumbs.
  • Add the egg and stir it in with a fork
  • Add the two tablespoons of cold water and use your fingers to bring the pastry together in to a smooth ball
  • Place the pastry between two large pieces of baking parchment and roll until the pastry is quite thin, about 1.5 mm and the diameter of the pastry is a good bit wider that that of the tin.
  • Very carefully peel back the top layer of parchment.
  • Place your hand beneath to pastry and lift it on the layer of parchment over the tin.
  • Carefully (this word is used a lot in this recipe) flip the pastry over and lay it in the tin. Press it in before, yes, carefully peeling back the second layer of baking parchment.
  • This being gluten free pastry and therefore extra delicate, your pastry will tear and stick to the parchment and you will have holes but don’t panic, with lightly floured fingers use the excess pastry to fill any gaps.
  • Place the pastry lined tin in the fridge while you are making the almond filling.

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Almond Filling

Ingredients

6 ounces  of softened butter

6 ounces of caster sugar

4 large eggs

1 tablespoon of brandy, optional

1 teaspoon of vanilla extract or almond essence which I never seem to have when I need it

6 ounces of ground almonds, check to make sure they are gluten free plus one tablespoon to sprinkle over the base of the pastry shell

2 tins of peaches in juice, not syrup

Preheat the oven to 170/ Gas 3 / 325

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  • Beat together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy
  • Add in the eggs, one at a time, beating until fully incorporated.
  • Beat in the brandy and vanilla or almond essence.
  • Using the mixer on slow or a wooden spoon add the ground almonds and mix until just combined.

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  • Strain the peaches in to a bowl reserving the juice.
  • Dry the peaces by placing them on a doubled piece of kitchen paper and pressing a second piece of paper over the tops, this will stop the filling from being too wet.
  • Slice the peaches, I got four thick slices from each peach half.
  • Remove the pastry shell from the fridge and prick the base with a fork and then evenly sprinkle over the extra tablespoon of ground almonds
  • Layer the peach slices over the base in as even and pretty a pattern as you can manage, I can never get a nice circular pattern going
  • Spoon over the almond filling and use a spatula or flat knife to spread the filling evenly ver the peaches slices
  • Place the pie tin on a flat baking sheet, this will save you having to scrub peach juice of of the floor of your oven
  • Place the pie on the tray in your preheated oven for 50 minutes, until the top is golden and firm. I them left the pie in the oven with the heat off for a further 20 minutes.
  • While the pie is cooling take three tablespoons of the reserved peach juice in a small pan over a medium heat and allow to reduce to a simmer.
  • Brush this syrup over the pie to give a lovely sheen and a bit of extra peach flavour.

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Serve the pie warm with whipped cream or ice-cream or to be extra indulgent  with warm custard and whipped cream.