Homemade Pumpkin Pie: Easy and Delish

Pie is traditional at Thanksgiving in the USA. So you might be planning to make a GF pie for the holidays.  I think pumpkin is a perfect choice because it is really easy to make: has only a few steps.  Make a crust, mix up and dump in the filling, bake it, chill it and yumm it up!! And it sure is traditional for this holiday. When I ask my guy what pie he wanted, he alternates between pumpkin and my deep dish apple crumb pie.  My dad particularly loved this recipe; he felt it had a perfect texture and just right sweetness.

If you want to change things up, add a tsp. of maple flavoring to the filling for a sweet treat.  I did that that for my Thanksgiving pie the other year.

This GF crust will work for any pie you should want to make including pecan pie.  This particular filling recipe is adapted from my 1970s Betty Crocker and is one I have made for years; perfect custard texture.  If you like it really sweet add another quarter cup sugar.  I use evaporated milk; less fattening than the cream many recipes use.

My mom always said that eating a slice of pumpkin pie is like having an extra vegetable serving.  I like to cook up a butternut squash and run it through a food mill to make it silky smooth for the pie but you can just buy a can of pumpkin puree, not pumpkin pie filling which has other stuff; just plain pumpkin please.

Go ahead, bake as easy a gf pie as is humanly possible and enjoy a tasty yet kinda healthy pie for Thanksgiving or Christmas!

pumpkin pie 2

Angie’s GF Pumpkin Pie

Crust:

1 c plus 2 Tbsp brown rice flour mix (at bottom of recipe)

2 Tbsp sweet rice flour

1 Tbps. granulated sugar

½ tsp xanthan gum

¼ tsp salt

6 Tbsp. cold butter cut into 6 chunks

1 large egg

2 tsp fresh orange or lemon juice

Spray 9 inch metal pie pan with cooking spray, dust with white rice flour.

Mix dry ingredients in bowl of stand electric mixer.  Add butter and mix until crumbly and resembling coarse meal.  Add egg and juice.  Mix until it comes together into big chunks.  Shape into a ball with your hands. Put it on a crust sized piece of wax paper (14 x 14 inches more or less), flatten the crust ball some; put on top of it another piece of wax paper and chill it all in your fridge 15-20 minutes while you make the filling. I actually roll mine out in an OXO pie bag which I love!

Filling:

2 large eggs

2 cups cooked pumpkin or butternut squash puree (canned is okay)

½ cup sugar

½ tsp. salt

1 tsp. ground cinnamon

½ tsp. ground ginger

¼ tsp. cloves

Sprinkle of nutmeg

1 3/4 c evaporated milk (1 can)

Beat eggs well and add the rest of the ingredients and mix it all together with a mixer at low speed until blended.

Put It Together:

Roll out pie crust – see above directions: my sister Karen gave me a pie bag a few years ago and I love it for an even thin crust.  You can get one on line from King Arthur Flours.  Peel off one side of paper and place in pie pan, centered.  Remove other slice of wax paper.  Crimp edges all around.  Fill with pumpkin pie mixture.  Sometimes I sprinkle the top with more cinnamon and nutmeg.

Bake in a preheated 425 degree oven for 15 minutes, lower temperature setting to 350 and bake for 45 minutes until just set and the crust is light brown.  Cool and chill at least 2 to 4 hours before serving at or close to room temperature.

Note: I bake all my pies on the bottom rack of my gas oven on a rack set just above the oven bottom so it really cooks every pie crusts to perfection.  If you oven isn’t similarly equipped you might want to prebake your gf pie crust ten minutes before you pour in the filling and bake it.  Take ten minutes off the total time unless it seems to need a few more minutes.

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Brown Rice Flour Mix (same as King Arthur GF Flour Mix)
2 c brown rice flour

2/3 c potato starch

1/3 c tapioca flour

Originally published on this blog November 2014.  Minor changes in the text since then.

Apple Crisp: Easy, Quick and Really Tasty

Apples are the centerpiece of the fall harvest culture.  Pumpkins are popular but they are a relatively new comer to the contest.  Some may think pumpkins are the way to go in baking but I firmly believe the apple is king in Autumn in America.  Crisp, sweet, flavorful and so very good for you. Apple crisp is nice as it goes together quickly and travels well. I took a pan of it camping last weekend and it was very good indeed warmed up on the campfire.

If you can, get the organic ones as the sprays they use on growing apples are not at all good for you.  I have made apple crisp with some baking apples from a pick it yourself farm near Milford NJ and it was very tasty indeed.  I especially suggest you get your apples at an actual apple orchard.  Another orchard just south of Hellertown is Bechdolt’s Orchard which grows many apple varieties.  Go there if you want the freshest tastiest apples in the Saucon Valley area.  Apples grow all over the globe so shop where you can get them fresh and crisp! The variety is up to you but I would not suggest any that are not meant for baking; don’t use red delicious as they are for eating only, same goes for honey crisp apples. apple-cart

This recipe is out of Gluten-Free Baking Classics Cookbook by Annalise G. Roberts with a few minor changes.  I am betting you can use any GF flour mix in this recipe, not like a cake or other baked goods that have very specific flour requirements.

And it is so much easier than a pie.  No crust to mix or roll out.  Just a simple mixed up topping to add to the cut up apples.  Bake it and voila: a yummy yet fairly healthy dessert!

I have made the topping several ways.  You can cut un-melted butter into the dry ingredients; it makes for a firmer crumb than the melted version below. I have made it egg free but it really somehow needs that egg to pull it together to mimic a wheat flour based crisp.  The oats can be left out if you don’t like them or can’t eat them. I personally love oats in my crisp.  A quarter cup of chopped nuts can be added to the topping; really a nice touch too!  I don’t like it too sweet so I use the lesser amount of sugar.  This is entirely a personal choice.  You can up the nutritional value by adding flaxmeal to the dry mix; 2-3 tbsp.

For those who love ice cream, this recipe is absolutely perfect with a big scoop of vanilla ice cream next to it.  I like it warm from the oven but it also is tasty cold the next day, if you have any left over that is!

pork tenderloin, banana choco cupcakes 007

Angie’s Apple Crisp

1 cup GF flour (mix below)

½ to ¾ cup sugar (I prefer brown sugar)

½ cup old fashioned gf oats

1 ¼ tsp baking powder

1 tsp cinnamon

Sprinkle of nutmeg

½ tsp xanthan gum

½ tsp. salt

1 large egg

6 cups peeled and thinly sliced apples

¼-1/3 cup butter, melted

Heat oven to 350 degrees.   Put rack in center level of oven.  Lightly butter a 9 inch square pan or spray with cooking spray.

Combine all the dry ingredients.  Add egg and stir to mix well.   Place apples in the baking pan, top with the dry mix and sprinkle with the melted butter.  Bake 40-50 minutes until bubbly and the topping is lightly browned. Let cool at least 10 minutes before dishing out. Six servings.

Brown Rice Flour Mix (same as King Arthur’s Basic GF blend)
2 c brown rice flour (finely ground)

2/3 c potato starch – Not potato flour!

1/3 c tapioca flour

Originally posted by me October 2015.

Delicious GF Tiramisu

There is this lovely Italian dessert that I haven’t had in a decade, it was my favorite back when I didn’t have to worry about gluten. Sure do miss it…. Well, while we were on vacation in Delaware we discovered Schar gf ladyfingers in a grocery store. Immediately my brain thought tiramisu! So, we snagged that package and brought it back to my kitchen.

I understand there are various ways to make tiramisu; this is the way I did mine; with fresh real whipped cream, some folks use beaten egg whites. Maybe next time. Just know that my tiramisu was just so creamy and rich…. It was addictive in all ways possible.  You could make your own ladyfingers but it was easier to use store made. ones.

Notes: I used a single use coffee bag and about 2/3 cup boiling water; let it stand 10 minutes and it was ½ cup which is what I needed. Easy! Or make some expresso and go full Italian! And one last important tip: do not warmup the mascarpone cheese at all before using; it will turn to butter in the blink of an eye! Trust me!

Kinda drab looking in the pan but it is a delightful treat for dessert!

GF Tiramisu; makes 9 medium sized servings

Ingredients

1 package gf ladyfingers

2 egg yolks

3 Tbsp. sugar

2 Tbsp marsala for the egg mixture

1 cup mascarpone cheese

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¾ cup COLD heavy whipping cream

½ tsp. vanilla

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½ cup strong coffee cooled to room temp- could use up to 2/3 of a cup should be cold

1 Tbsp. marsala for the coffee mixture

1 Tbsp cocoa powder

Instructions:  Make the coffee and let it cool. Put the sugar and egg yolks in the top of a double boiler. Do not let the water in the bottom half reach the top pan. Stir constantly with a whisk until the sugar is totally dissolved in the egg yolk 4-5 minutes on low heat. It should be a pale yellow, silky smooth when done Add the marsala and whisk. Remove from heat, cool to room temperature.

When the egg mixture and the coffee are both cooled you can put it together. I used a 7 inch square pan; I think an 8 inch will work too; will be thinner. Spray the pan lightly with cooking spray. Put the mascarpone cheese in a large bowl, beat briefly to make it smooth. Add the whipping cream and beat until stiff peaks form; 3-4 minutes. Add the vanilla and mix in briefly. Fold in the egg/sugar mixture until smooth; do not beat any more than necessary

Put the coffee in a low wide bowl; mix in the marsala. Doing one ladyfinger at a time dunk in the coffee briefly and lay in the pan to cover the bottom. Pour half the pudding mixture on top of the ladyfingers and smooth the top. Repeat the ladyfinger layer and top with the rest of the pudding. Put in fridge for 6-10 hours before serving. Sift cocoa on top with a sieve before cutting and serving. Enjoy!

A less than stellar photo but we were eager to taste this treat!

Strawberry Rhubarb Custard Crumb Pie – Long Name – Yummy Pie

This is a variation on my favorite rhubarb custard pie which is my go-to recipe for a great spring dessert. I added strawberries to please my guy who isn’t a huge rhubarb fan. The strawberries add their special flavor and he really enjoyed this pie this past weekend. So did I! Our new favorite pie…

This is an easy pie even though it has several steps.  It is different from the usual rhubarb pie because the texture is a bit closer to a crumb cake, no wet (aka slimy texture) and no ultra-sour flavor.  I think this new strawberried version is great for those who doubt the power of rhubarb!  This GF crust will work for any pie with a traditional dough and the GF crumb topping is a great choice for any crumb pie topper.  This is my mixture of three recipes with some modifications which come together to create one of my favorite GF pie recipes.  I know it has several steps but each one is easy and you can use these crust and crumb techniques for other pies.

I like it because it has a great texture and the flavor is complex but subtly rhubarby.  It isn’t really soft or all that custardy (if I didn’t say the word custard you would never know) but has a more cake-like texture. It is a game changer of a pie. I promise you that!

Fruit in the unbaked pie shell.

Angie’s GF Strawberry Rhubarb Custard Pie

Crust:

1 c plus 1 tbsp brown rice flour mix (recipe for blend at bottom of pie recipe)

2 tbsp sweet rice flour

1 Tbsp. granulated sugar

½ tsp xanthan gum

¼ tsp salt

6 Tbsp. cold butter cut into 6 chunks

1 lg egg

2 tsp fresh orange or lemon juice

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Spray a 9 inch metal pie pan with cooking spray, dust with white rice flour. I must confess I forget this step a lot of the time and it doesn’t seem to matter much….

Mix dry ingredients in bowl of stand electric mixer.  Add butter and mix until crumbly and resembling coarse meal.  Add egg and juice. Do not leave out the juice; it is critical to the crust texture and structure!  Mix until it comes together into big chunks.  Shape the sticky mess into a ball with your hands. Put it on a crust sized piece of wax paper (14 x 14 inches more or less), flatten the crust ball some; put on top of it another piece of wax paper and chill it all in your fridge 15-20 minutes while you chop the rhubarb into ½ inch chunks.

This pie is ready to bake!

My sister Karen bought me one of those pie crust plastic bag thingies; has a zipper around the edge.  By OXO: I love it; it works better than wax paper which can get soft and tear as you roll out the crust.  King Arthur Flour sells an inexpensive one on line. I highly recommend you get the OXO version for making scratch pie crust.  Or maybe improvise with a sheet of heavy duty plastic! Strong enough to work with the rolling pin and better than wax paper.pie crust bag

Filling:

4-5 cups cut up fresh rhubarb – place in medium bowl

1 1/2-2 cups sliced fresh strawberries

Mix with dry mix made of

2/3 – 1 c sugar (depends on how sweet you like your pie) I go with 2/3 cup

¼ c brown rice flour mix (see below recipe)

1/4 tsp nutmeg

Sprinkle cinnamon

Roll out pie crust in a pie bag or between the two sheets of wax paper, try to get the thickness even, no thick middle! Peel off one side of paper and place in pie pan, centered.  Remove other slice of wax paper.  Crimp edges all around.  Fill with dry rhubarb mix.  Pour the following wet mix evenly over this mixture:

Liquid mix: 3 large eggs beaten lightly with 1/3 c milk (not skim), and ¼ tsp almond extract.

Crumb topping

Put all four ingredients in the same mixing bowl you made the bottom crust in and mix well with mixer paddle until crumbs form.

¾ c brown rice flour mix

½ c sugar

½ tsp xanthan gum

1/3 c cold butter cut into six chunks

Sprinkle the top of the pie with the crumb mix; use as much as you like.  I like about 2/3 of the mixture.  Up to your personal taste… It sinks into the rhubarb and wet mixture to create an almost cake like texture and the crumb crust adds lots of sweetness and eye appeal.

Bake in a preheated 375 degree oven for 55-60 minutes until bubbly and the crust is light brown.  Cool at least 3 to 4 hours before serving at room temperature.

The pie is just out of the oven, hot and smells wonderful!

Brown Rice Flour Mix (same as King Arthur’s Basic GF Blend)
2 c brown rice flour

2/3 c potato starch

1/3 c tapioca flour

Afternoon snack; still faintly warm. Delicious!

Strawberry Glace Pie…Simple Pie Perfection

It is at the height of local strawberry season; therefore, it is the perfect time to make this pie; no baking a filling, no top crust, just ripe sweet berries in a coating of sweet berry goop and real whipped cream!   This dessert is so lick-your-fingers yummy  that I don’t want you to miss it and have to wait until next June to enjoy this strawberry classic.  The local orchard, Bechdolt’s Orchard has some, there are pick your own like Phillips Farm Market in Milford NJ where we went on Saturday and a few other pick your own close to the Lehigh Valley. Or try a farmer’s market for fresh flavorful local berries. If you can make a crust and stir the strawberry goop you can make this.

If you are one of my wheat loving friends; make whatever basic crust you like.  The filling is naturally gluten free.

My mom loved this pie and frankly so does our entire family.  Mom never put the cream cheese on the bottom but I like it as it keeps the crust from getting soggy and adds a delicate counter point to the sweetness of the filling.

strawberry pie and more flowers 005 strawberry pie and more flowers 017

It is not a great summer if you don’t indulge in this dessert at least once!

Angie’s GF Strawberry Glace Pie

Crust:

1 c plus 2 tbsp brown rice flour mix (at bottom of recipe)

2 tbsp sweet rice flour

1 Tbsp. granulated sugar

½ tsp xanthan gum

¼ tsp salt

6 Tbsp. cold butter cut into 6 chunks

1 lg egg

2 tsp fresh orange or lemon juice

Directions:

Spray 9 inch metal pie pan with cooking spray, dust with white rice flour. (I forget this step a LOT!)

Mix dry ingredients in bowl of stand electric mixer.  Add butter and mix until crumbly and resembling coarse meal.  Add egg and juice.  Mix until it comes together into big chunks.  Shape into a ball with your hands. Put it on a crust sized piece of wax paper (14 x 14 inches more or less), flatten the crust ball some; put on top of it another piece of wax paper and chill it all in your fridge 15-20 minutes.

Roll out pie crust in a pie bag or between the two sheets of wax paper, try to get the thickness even, no thick middle! Peel off one side of paper and place in pie pan, centered.  Remove other slice of wax paper.  Crimp edges all around.  Prick it in a dozen places with a fork to keep it from blowing up bubbles. Bake in a preheated 375 degree oven for 15-18 minutes until the crust is light brown.  Cool at least 30 minutes before filling.

Glaze:

1 cup mashed very ripe strawberries (I sort through the berries and use only the ripest ones for this part.)

2/3-3/4 cup sugar

3 tbsp cornstarch

½ cup water

Mix sugar and cornstarch in 1 qt heavy bottomed sauce pan, stir in water and mashed strawberries.  Cook on medium heat until it boils, stirring constantly.  If it seems too thick, add up to half a cup more water.  It needs to be thin enough to cling to your berries.  Boil and stir one minute.  Let cool at least 20-30 minutes or until close to room temperature.

Filling:

3-4 ounces of light cream cheese, room temperature

4-5 cups fresh strawberries, hulled

Line the bottom of the cooled pie shell with the cream cheese, spread it as evenly as possible. I use ½ an 8 ounce package.  Place berries in a big bowl.  Pour the glaze over top and gently mix.  Pour the goopy berries into the pie shell.  I like to pick the nicest ones for the top of it.

Chill 2-3 hours before serving.  Make some real whipped cream, the fake stuff will not do for this pie; 1 cup heavy cream whipped with an electric mixer or a whisk until soft peaks, I like to chill the bowl and beaters a few minutes as it helps the cream whip faster.  Then add 2-3 tbsp powdered sugar and ½ to 1 tsp. vanilla.  Beat just a bit longer, until nearly stiff peaks.  Slice the pie and top each piece with the whipped cream.  Dive in!  You won’t be disappointed.

Brown Rice Flour Mix– for crust
2 c brown rice flour

2/3 c potato starch

1/3 c tapioca flour