Now look, my limited experience of a wheat/gluten free diet was traumatic and blessedly brief (a few years when Oscar was little and we embarked on a low-allergy diet as part of the Blitz that was trying to limit the impact his dodgy chromosome would have on him – as if we could trick genetics) but I made this last week for some vegetarian tarts I was making for the 2009 Family Reunion as some of Mum’s family have coeliac’s disease.
It is a Maggie Beer recipe from her wonderful book Maggie’s Kitchen. In terms of full disclosure, I should confess here that my adoration of all things Maggie is bordering on creepy – the woman is a true national treasure.
As with her sour cream pastry it is an absolute dream to work with and tastes fantastic. I am presuming the tiny amount of xanthum gum goes a long way to stabilising the dough because it just comes together a treat. A word of warning though – Maggie stipulates you may not need all the eggs and in my experience you won’t. And don’t be tempted to add one more dash – I did and made it far too wet. Just go with your gut on this one.
Oh, Maggie also says you can use a gluten-free flour from the supermarket or equal amounts of potato flour, rice flour and maize flour. I did the latter and it was fabulous.
From Maggie’s Kitchen, Maggie Beer
- 2 cups water
- 1 tblsp salt
- 180g unsalted butter, chopped
- 300g gluten-free flour
- 4g xanthum gum
- 5 free-range eggs
- Combine the water, salt and butter in a heavy-based saucepan and bring it to a simmer over medium-high heat
- Add the flour and xanthum gum and stir vigorously with a wooden spoon
- Decrease the heat to low and cook until the pastry comes away from the side of the pan and is well combined
- Remove from heat and cool to room temperature
- Whisk the eggs together and then add a little of the eggs at a time into the cooled flour mixture with a wooden spoon until a dough forms
- Incorporate each addition fully before adding the next bit as you may not need all the eggs
- Turn the dough onto a bench dusted with a little gluten-free flour, then knead until shiny
- Try not to incorporate too much extra flour or the dough will become crumbly
- Wrap the dough in plastic film and chill for at least 10 minutes
When ready to use
- Roll the pastry out between two sheets of baking paper (otherwise the dough is too hard to handle) until 3mm thick
- Fill with cooled pie filling, top with remaining pastry and bake in a 210C oven for about 20 minutes or until pastry is golden*