Beat the Wheat: Gluten-Free Peach Pie
This is the very first pie I made after being diagnosed with celiac disease. It’s fruity and sweet, but ginger and a bit of cracked black pepper give it the tiniest of kicks.
I grew up eating fruit pies my uncle made in his bakery, or that my mom made at home. We were the kind of family that had dessert every night after dinner, and all summer long it was pie after pie after pie. Peach pie was my favorite, followed closely by sour cherry.
Peaches are the sexiest of summer fruits, all soft, juicy and fine smelling, but they're also the least sexy thing you can eat raw, so you’ve gotta put 'em in a pie. There's nothing attractive about peach juice running down your chin on a hot summer day. But a slice of warm peach pie with a scoop of vanilla ice cream (or salted caramel)? It’s the delicious, indisputable key to a happy summer evening.
Before I found out I couldn’t eat gluten, I had a foolproof crust for fruit pies. It took a few tries to convert the recipe to gluten-free so that it would hold together, still have some flake and be substantive enough to hold in all the juices. When I finally nailed it, I couldn't stop baking. This crust recipe will work with any fruit pie, and it's so easy to make in a food processor, you'll become a pie-making machine.
This is the kind of pie that makes me wish I had a windowsill to cool it on to channel my inner 1950s housewife. It smells amazing both while it's baking and as it cools in your kitchen — or on your windowsill, if you have one, you lucky duck.
Note: This pie will keep at room temperature (covered) for 3 to 4 days.
In the bowl of your food processor, combine all the dry ingredients for the crust and pulse three times to combine. Add the butter and pulse 10 to 12 times to combine. Then, add the water and pulse an additional 3 to 5 times. (Dough will not come together in a ball like traditional pie crust dough. It will be sandier and you will have to hand-mold it into shape.)
Dump dough mixture onto your work surface and divide into 2 equal piles. Form both piles into balls as best you can, and wrap both balls in plastic wrap. Chill in the refrigerator for 1 hour.
Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.
Remove dough from refrigerator and let sit at room temperature for 10 minutes.
In a large mixing bowl combine peaches, sugar, tapioca starch, lemon juice, ginger, nutmeg, salt, pepper and cinnamon. Stir well to combine.
Roll out 1 pie dough ball between 2 sheets of wax paper or parchment to a 10- to 11-inch circle. Remove top layer of wax paper.
Lightly butter the bottom of a 9-inch pie pan before inverting it onto the rolled-out dough. Slide one hand under the bottom wax paper and place the other hand on the bottom of the pie pan and gently — but quickly! — flip them over so the dough rests on the bottom of the pie pan.
Whisk the egg with the buttermilk, and brush a little bit of it on the bottom pie crust before pouring in the fruit.
Trim or pull away any extraneous edges and add that dough to your second ball of dough.
Pour fruit mixture into the crust in the pie pan and make sure it's evenly distributed.
Pinch small pieces of unsalted butter and place on top of fruit — evenly across the surface — before adding top crust.
Roll out the second ball of dough the same way as the first, and quickly flip the rolled-out dough on top of the fruit.
Gently press top and bottom crusts together around the edges. Brush the top crust and edges with the buttermilk-egg mixture. Use a paring knife to cut 3 to 4 small slits in the top crust to allow the internal heat to vent while baking.
Place pie pan on a baking sheet on the middle rack of your oven.
Bake for 15 minutes at 450 degrees F, then reduce heat to 350 degrees F and continue baking for 30 minutes, covering the edges with foil or a crust shield after 10 minutes at 350 degrees F. It will be ready when the pie is golden brown on top.
Let pie rest at room temperature for 30 minutes before serving.