Gluten-free pastry

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.

Gluten-Free Pastry
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
  1. Combine the water, salt and butter in a heavy-based saucepan and bring it to a simmer over medium-high heat
  2. Add the flour and xanthum gum and stir vigorously with a wooden spoon
  3. Decrease the heat to low and cook until the pastry comes away from the side of the pan and is well combined
  4. Remove from heat and cool to room temperature
  5. 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
  6. Incorporate each addition fully before adding the next bit as you may not need all the eggs
  7. Turn the dough onto a bench dusted with a little gluten-free flour, then knead until shiny
  8. Try not to incorporate too much extra flour or the dough will become crumbly
  9. Wrap the dough in plastic film and chill for at least 10 minutes

When ready to use

  1. Roll the pastry out between two sheets of baking paper (otherwise the dough is too hard to handle) until 3mm thick 
  2. Fill with cooled pie filling, top with remaining pastry and bake in a 210C oven for about 20 minutes or until pastry is golden*
* when I used it with quiche-like fillings I baked it for 35-40 minutes at 180C and it came up a treat!