Here is the lesser seen specimen of a gluten free pastry which actually holds together long enough to get it into the oven! A savoury and a sweet option, just in time for these dark, chilly evenings, where a large helping of chicken pie, followed by a piece of treacle tart with custard, is the ultimate comfort food. You can jump straight to the recipe here and get stuck in!
If you’ve ever had the misfortune of a body which has an aversion to gluten, or of feeding somebody else’s, you’ll know this scenario all too well…
You begin to *carefully* roll out the pastry, cracks start to appear, you patch them up with bits that have fallen off the edges- soon, the pastry case looks like an unfinished jigsaw… You decide to finish the repairs once it’s in the baking tin. You try, unsuccessfully, to roll it around a rolling pin, then decide to do the flip-and-drop instead… You stick chunks of pastry into the gaping holes, going for the mosaic look, then bake your masterpiece. Only to cut into it and find, with just a gentle touch, the pastry crumbles to dust!
I’ve searched high and low for a shortcrust pastry which is not only gluten-free friendly (my mum’s stomach doesn’t share her love of all things bread and gluten!), but could also be devoured by guests without them noticing the difference; nobody wants their mince pie to disintegrate into a heap like a demolished sandcastle! None of them were quite what I was looking for, so after many, many trials, here is my own recipe for gluten free, shortcrust pastry, for all your tart and pie needs…
Gluten Free Shortcrust Pastry Recipe
Makes enough to line a 9″ dish, or make 12 tarts with lids, in a bun tin. Double the recipe for a larger pie with a lid.
- 175g Doves Farm Gluten Free Plain Flour
- 50g Tapioca Starch/Flour
- A pinch of salt
- 0.25 tsp Xanthan Gum
- 100g Margarine, Butter, or dairy-free Spread (see the note underneath), at room temperature
- 1 Large Egg, lightly beaten
- If doing a sweet pastry- 2 tbsp Granulated Sugar
I’ve found using spreads with both butter and vegetable oils in give the best results, overall. You can use purely butter, but the pastry will be shorter and more delicate, it will still hold together once baked and is great if proper, melt-in-the-mouth pastry is what you’re looking for, but if you want something more robust to handle, use a vegetable fat based spread.
- Pulse the butter/margarine, flour, salt, xanthan gum, and if using, sugar, together in a food processor, or rub together with your fingers, to make breadcrumbs.
- Add the egg and mix together to form a ball of dough. If the mixture is too dry, add water 1 tsp at a time until it comes together (you’re more likely to need some water if you’ve used butter).
- If the dough is sticky to touch, wrap in foil and chill in the fridge for 30 minutes, otherwise, crack on with rolling out your shape (chilling isn’t mandatory as there’s no gluten to relax, this dough is easier to work with at room temperature).
- Pre-heat the oven to 200C/180 fan/Gas mark 6.
- Carefully, roll out the dough on a piece of baking parchment to about half a cm thickness, you can lightly flour it if it begins to stick.
- Cut out the shape you need, and gently drape over a rolling pin with the help of the parchment, or slide a blunt knife underneath, and transfer to a greased baking tin/tray (you do have to be a bit more gentle than with regular pastry because of the lack of gluten).
- Lightly prick the base with a fork, then bake and enjoy! Brush any lids with milk or egg wash to get a lovely golden colour. Cooking times depend on what you are cooking:
- If fully cooking a tart case, bake blind for 20 minutes, then for another 5 minutes without baking weights, or until the pasty is dry and lightly coloured.
- If making small tarts, add your fillings and bake for 25 minutes, until the pastry is cooked and slightly coloured, or follow the instructions in the recipe for whatever filling you are making.
- If adding fillings to a large pie before returning it to the oven, bake blind for 10 minutes, followed by 5 minutes without baking weights, then add your filling and follow the instructions in its recipe, or until the pastry is lightly coloured.
If you have a go, please let me know how you get on with it! It can be used in many different dishes, I think I’ve almost baked every one while practicing, but I’d love to see what other bakes I’ve missed…