Strawberry Rhubarb Pie (Gluten free)

Making a gluten free pie is intimidating. Making a gluten free VEGAN pie is just…wow. I have to admit- I’ve tried a LOT of fancy recipes. I felt inspired by Shauna this month. She wrote an effortless post on making pie here.

But admittedly, baking has to feel natural to me. Maybe it’s a cultural habit, but I’ve always measured by the fist-full. I “eyeball” nearly everything. Of course, it isn’t the most perfect method for relaying recipes- and believe me, I’ve spent years carefully watching my grandmother, both peering over her shoulder and hesitantly adding my assistance when she egged me on. Cautiously and anxious.

I had just mastered my grandmother’s pie skills shortly before being diagnosed with Celiac’s disease. My heart broke because I was so afraid that this iconic part of our family’s history would be lost.

I frantically tried to re-create her recipes, but I was a novice in the world of gluten free baking, and after many failed attempts I stopped. I didn’t bake for a good year and a half.

Something crept up on me, I had this longing for the taste of her food, and family gatherings became torturous. The aromas were overpowering and nostalgic- just inspiring enough to try again.

Rebecca Reilly’s cookbook was the beginning. She is Betty Crocker re-incarnated as a Celiac. You MUST buy her book. Once I got the hang of gluten free baking in general, I began to re-attempt making my grandmother’s recipe.

Of course, as described in her book, Reilly points out that the proper all-purpose flour mix is the holy grail of effortless baking. Her mix, containing brown rice flour, potato starch, and tapioca starch is truly a winner, but I’ve also had a lot of luck with Bob’s Redmill flours. His all-purpose mix is pretty nice, but it can have a beany aftertaste.

For my pie crust for this recipe, I sometimes use Reilly’s pie recipe with Willow Run butter and egg replacer (you can use Ener-G, but I use a “tapioca egg”- 1T tapioca with 3T hot water). But my absolute favorite is my grandmother’s.

Gluten-Free pie crust:

2c all purpose flour (Bob’s Redmill, or Reilly’s mix plus 1/2t xanthan gum)

1/3c water and more as needed (this will depend on your weather)

2/3c Spectrum organic shortening (generously)

Mix and rest. The dough should be flaky but elastic. I roll it out between pieces of parchment to place it in the pan, but you can set a hunk of it and smoosh it out with your fingers. Depending on how much dough you need due to rolling abilities, you can double this recipe. If you make too much dough, don’t fret. Roll out the rest, spread some butter on it, sprinkle it with cinnamon sugar, roll it up, and slice it into cinnamon rolls. Bake them with the pie until they’re golden.

Now on to the pie filling. Strawberries aren’t necessarily gluten free. See, strawberries are grown in STRAW. Straw is gluten. It comes from wheat….but not ALL straw. In California, the strawberries are grown in RICE straw. I get my strawberries from California, but you can grow your own, or attempt to wash regular strawberries that you get at the farmers market.

Here is the recipe for Strawberry Rhubarb pie filling for a 9in pie:

1c crushed strawberries

2c rhubarb chopped

1c sugar

2T all purpose flour

1/8t salt

2 “eggs” or eggs (I use a tapioca egg, but Ener-G works fine too)

Mix together well. Pour it into the pie shell. It will look soupy. Then roll out the top of your pie shell and smoosh it into the top using your fingers to seal the edge. Slice a few holes in the top to let out steam. Bake this at 350 for about an hour, with a cookie sheet underneath, as it sometimes bubbles out and over the edge.

And there you have it. A very simple pie with a very delicious outcome.

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