Sunday, September 27, 2009

Gluten-Free Wild Blueberry Pie

"Have I missed blueberry season?" I ask my mother before embarking upon the 9-hour drive from Chicago to Oscoda, Michigan. My mother informs me that she has seen a few berries hanging from the spindly bushes, but doubts there is enough to bake a pie with - as if reading my mind. When I think of Oscoda in late summer, I immediately imagine the wild blueberry bushes filling the forest behind my parent's house. Tiny, dark, and richly flavored, wild blueberries have always rivaled conventional blueberries in my mind. They are crunchy as well, due to the disproportionately sized seeds inside, but instead of being bothersome, it adds a wonderful texture. I was able to find enough blueberries on the bushes, searching for hours, picking delicate berries in a bathrobe and sandals under the shade of the tall pines, making sure to handle the berries with such care. Hours later, my fingers stained purple, my hair windblown, my arms scratched and mosquito-bitten, i emerged from the woods with a basket of berries. 6 cups, to be exact. It's pie time.



6 cups of fresh wild blueberries (can substitute conventional blueberries)

3/4 c. sugar

1/3 c. potato starch

1 tbsp. lemon zest

1/2 fresh lemon


Makes two pie crusts (one top, one bottom)

2/3 c. brown rice flour

2/3 c. tapioca flour

2/3 c. potato starch

2 tbs. arrowroot starch

4 tsp sugar

1 tsp. baking powder

3 tsp. xanthan gum

1 tsp salt

1 c. unsalted butter, chilled

2 large eggs, cold

2 tsp apple cider vinegar

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

Combine the sugar, potato starch, and blueberries in a large bowl. Add the lemon zest and stir. Set aside.

Sift together rice and tapioca flour, potato and arrowroot starch, sugar, baking powder, xanthan gum, and salt into a mixing bowl.

Cut cold butter into the dry ingredients. Blend with a pastry cutter until butter is incorporated into the dry ingredients.

The dough should hold together when squeezed. Beat egg with vinegar and mix into dough.

Form dough into a ball with your hands. Add a little tapioca flour if the dough is too sticky. Separate the ball into two balls. Roll out one section of dough between two sheets of waxed paper. The dough should be about 1 1/2 inches larger in diameter than the pie plate.

Peel one sheet of waxed paper away from the dough. Place dough in pan. Remove top sheet of waxed paper. Fill Pie with Blueberry filling and place a few pats of butter on top of the blueberry filling. Squeeze some of the lemon juice from the lemon half directly on top of the pie. Place the top crust, rolled out between two sheets of waxed paper, on the top. Trim the excess dough and crimp the top and bottom crust edges together to ensure a proper seal.

Brush the top pastry with milk and sprinkle with additional sugar. Poke holes in the top crust to decrease the chance of air bubbles in the crust. Cover the edge of the crust with aluminum foil to prevent over-browning.

Bake in the oven for 25 minutes. remove foil. Bake pie for 25 to 30 minutes more or until filling is bubbly and pastry is slightly golden. Cool on a wire rack.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Gluten-Free S'mores

Over Labor Day Holiday, I spent some time in northern Michigan. I had been craving a s'more for quite some time, and there is no better place to eat a gooey-chocolatey-cookie combination than around a campfire beneath the stars (yes, you can see them there). Normally I would also make homemade marshmallows, but due to lack of time (and ingredients) sake, I had to forego that idea and use packaged mallows. I used high-quality dark chocolate (a 70% Uganda bar) which added a slightly more "sophisticated" taste to the traditional s'more. The grahams themselves taste very much like a regular graham cracker. Mine weren't very crispy but the thinner you roll the dough, the more crisp the grahams will be. Regardless of what marshmallows or chocolate you use, I ensure you will have a great tasting s'more.


Originally published in "Living Without" magazine, summer 2007.

2 ¼ cups gluten-free flour mix (3/4c. tapioca starch, 1/2c. sorghum, 1/2c. potato starch, 1/4c.arrowroot starch, 1/4c. sweet rice flour, 1/4c. oat flour)
½ cup packed brown sugar
1 ¾ teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon gluten-free baking powder
1/2 teaspoon xanthan gum
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
7 tablespoons butter or margarine, cut into pieces
3 tablespoons cold water
3 tablespoons honey or agave
1 teaspoon vanilla
  1. Mix together gluten-free flour mix, brown sugar, cinnamon, baking powder, xanthan gum, baking soda and salt.
  2. Using your fingertips, work butter into dry ingredients.
  3. Stir in 3 tablespoons cold water, honey and vanilla. If dough is too dry, add a little more cold water, a teaspoon at a time.
  4. Gather dough into a soft ball. Cover in plastic wrap and refrigerate for an hour.
  5. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Lightly grease a cookie sheet and line with parchment paper.
  6. Cut two zip lock bags (gallon size) down each parallel side so that each opens out into one long sheet. Roll a piece of dough between the two sheets to about 1/8-inch thickness, depending on how thick you like your graham crackers. Cut into 2 x 3-inch pieces and prick lightly all over with a fork. Remove top zip lock sheet. Take remaining sheet with dough on it and turn it over. Lay it flat, rolled dough side down, onto prepared pan.
  7. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes or until golden brown. If cookies spread and bake together, re-cut while still warm and loosen them. Let cookies cool slightly before transferring to cooling rack.