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Tuesday, Nov. 20, 2007 08:50 pm

Have your pie and celiac, too

A recipe for those with an inability to digest gluten

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Untitled Document The carb train has just pulled into town, making all local stops along the holiday highway until New Year’s Day. For many of us, the next six weeks are more like a ride on a runaway train, a fast and furious double-fisted eating frenzy that includes too much booze, fat, sugar, and flour. But if you’re the one person in a crowd of 100 with celiac disease, a debilitating inability to digest gluten, all those cakes, cookies, candy, puddings and pies are strictly off-limits. That holiday choo-choo suddenly feels more like a solo ride on a drifting iceberg. Can you imagine Thanksgiving and all the trimmings without pie? Me neither. What’s a celiac — or a vegan, for that matter — to do in the midst of the holiday treat-a-thon? In my quest to find out, I caught up with Jules Shepard, author of Nearly Normal Cooking for Gluten-Free Eating, a cookbook trying to give the gluten-intolerant a fighting chance to enjoy a life of baked goods like the rest of us. Shepard, who lives outside Baltimore, has developed her own line of all-purpose flour that has allowed her to continue eating her beloved carbs, including chocolate-chip cookies, scones, and, yes, dough for those holiday pies. The result is slightly grittier than a gluten-rich dough, but it rolls out and presses into a pie plate just like you remember. It is flaky like you want it to be, and it allows you to board the carb train with the rest of the gang — until it’s time for us all to go on a New Year’s diet. P.S. When made with Earth Balance nonhydrogenated shortening, the pie dough is veganlicious as well.
Culinary questions? Contact Kim O’Donnel at kim.odonnel@creativeloafing.com.
Nearly Normal Gluten-Free Flour Mix

1 cup white rice flour 1 cup potato starch (do not confuse with potato flour) 1 cup cornstarch 1/2 cup corn flour 1/2 cup tapioca flour (also sold as tapioca starch) 4 teaspoons xanthan gum
Mix all ingredients together and store in an airtight container in a cool, dark place.
Grandma’s Pie Crust
Adapted from Nearly Normal Cooking for Gluten-Free Eating, by Jules Shepard

Makes one 8- or 9-inch pie crust; double amounts for a two-crust pie.
1 cup Nearly Normal Gluten-Free Flour Mix 1Ú2 teaspoon salt 1/3 cup shortening or butter (Shepard uses Earth    Balance shortening) 2 or 3 tablespoons cold water
Cut the mixture together using two knives or a pastry cutter. Add the water to make the consistency you need to form a ball. Wrap in plastic and chill in refrigerator for at least one hour. The dough must be cold in your hand to roll out.
Roll the pastry out onto a surface dusted with Nearly Normal Gluten-Free Flour Mix — Shepard recommends a flexible pastry sheet (e.g. Silpat) for that purpose. Turn the pie plate upside down on top of the rolled-out crust and flip the crust and plate over. Pat into shape and fill with desired filling. For a two-crust pie, fold the crust in half and lift gently onto the top of the pie. Put small pats of butter on top of the crust and sprinkle with cinnamon sugar if you desire. (Shepard suggests covering crust edges with foil or pie cover to minimize burning.)
Apple Filling with a Twist of Rosemary

Four to six medium apples, peeled, cored, and    sliced, about 1-4 inch in size (about 2 cups’
   worth) 2 tablespoons gluten-free flour Juice of half a lemon 1/2 cup granulated or brown sugar 1/2 to 1 teaspoon cinnamon 1/4 teaspoon salt 2 teaspoons fresh rosemary, minced 1/4 cup toasted pine nuts or walnuts
Place apple slices in a medium bowl; squeeze lemon juice over apples. Add gluten-free flour to apples; this helps absorb some of the moisture from the apples as they’re cooking. Add the remaining ingredients and stir to combine. Taste and adjust sugar, lemon, and cinnamon as necessary.
Pour filling into pie shell. Can be made as a one-crust open-face pie/tart or a double-crust pie. For double-crust pies, pinch edges together around the perimeter of the entire pie. With a paring knife, score the top to work as a vent and brush top with a beaten egg for shine.
Baking temperatures and times vary. Single crust: Preheat oven to 375 degrees and bake for 35 to 40 minutes. Double crust: Preheat oven to 400 degrees and bake for 45 to 55 minutes or until juices are bubbling. Crust will be lighter than gluten-rich dough, more like a beige than golden brown.
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