Take Two: Here’s an update on my Lemon Meringue Pie. The pie crust mix is definitely a keeper. The lemon filling is delicious and the meringue, when properly prepared this time, came out great!
I tried Bob’s Red Mill‘s Gluten Free Pie Crust Mix when making a lemon meringue pie. The mix was easy to assemble, only requiring some butter, shortening and water. Once mixed you are instructed to divide the dough in half, form into disks, and store in plastic wrap in the refrigerator for half an hour. The process throughout was the same as if you were using wheat flour. When rolling out the dough, as instructed, between two sheets of plastic wrap it softened quickly. Given that there is no gluten to hold the dough together it relies solely on the fat to keep it in a workable consistency. As you can see the fluted edge stuck to my fingers and a rest in the refrigerator would have helped make that element more uniform. This pie uses a fully baked crust so I lined the crust with foil and filled it with dried beans to start the baking. This worked very well and the gluten free mixture did not shrink as wheat flour crusts tend to do. The baked crust tends to be rather brittle – a bump on the fluted edge can break a piece off – so handle the pre-baked crust gently. The crust held up nicely to the wet custard and is not soggy even a day later. Let’s not talk about the meringue – I should have done it over. I knew it wasn’t beating up as high as it is supposed to.
What about the crust’s taste and texture? I found the mix to be nice and buttery but a little bland for my taste. The texture tended toward crumbly rather than flaky but it was relatively tender and I would be happy to use the mix again. When I make another batch I believe that I will add a teaspoon or two of sugar and a quarter to a half teaspoon of salt to counter the slight blandness. If you or someone you know is avoiding gluten this is an easy and tasty alternative. For those of us who tend not to keep gluten free flours and xanthan gum on hand this mix is convenient and greatly expands the dessert possibilities for sensitive dinner guests.