Oh how I love Christmas! I look forward to it all year, I prep for it the entire month of December and I drive everyone crazy making them follow all of my traditions. Pies are one of those traditions- particularly pecan pie. I love making pies. In fact 2 of my all-time favorite recipes are pies: apple and pecan. When I stopped eating gluten, I kind of gave up on pie.
Confession time- I always used pillsbury roll-out pie crusts, partially because I am lazy and partially because I think they taste really good. Since pillsbury has not yet made gluten-free pie crusts, I threw in the towel on pies (well for me at least. I still made pies for family and friends).
Well, I was finally ready for pie again, meaning I had to make my own pie crust. After some research about what flours work well together, butter or shortening, and vinegar or not vinegar, etc. I came up with this recipe. It has both butter and shortening, the best of both worlds, and the mild apple cider vinegar.
This pie crust, came just in time for the holidays too, because christmas is just not christmas in my family without pecan pie. My grandparents have a farm in west Tennessee and they have loads of pecan trees. I grew up on pecan pie. Some say its too sweet but I say bring on the sugar. I hardly ever have it so a sugar coma every once in a while can do a girl some good if you ask me.
The first recipe is for a basic pie crust, then I will share my papaw's pecan pie recipe.
Gluten Free Pie Crust
1 cup almond flour
3/4 cup sorghum flour
3/4 cup potato starch
3 teaspoons xanthum gum
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 tablespoons sugar
3/4 cup butter, cold and cut into 1/2 inch cubes
1/2 cup shortening
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
2 whole eggs
First combine all of the dry ingredients (the first 7 ingredients) and whisk together in a large bowl. Next cut in the cold butter and sugar with a pastry blender.
Now make a well in the middle of the flour and add in the eggs and vinegar. With a fork work the liquids into the dough, starting in the center and working outwards.
Combine the dough into a large ball and then place in between 2 pieces of parchment or wax paper. Roll out slightly and chill in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours, but preferably overnight.
When it comes to rolling out the dough, keep in between the parchment or wax paper and roll out with a rolling pin. Then peel off one side an flip over onto a pie plate. Once it is on the pie plate, peel off the other piece of wax or parchment. If this doesn't work, you can do it the old school way with a lot of GF flour and your counter-top. At this point you can either prebake the crust or fill it up!
Th pie crust doesn't look too pretty at this time, but you can either even it out and pinch ridges to make it pretty or leave it like this to pinch with the top crust for fruit pies or other 2 crust pies.
Speaking of fill it up... why not fill it up as a Pecan Pie? And not just any pecan pie, but my Papaw's classic pecan pie. Nothing fancy here...no chocolate, no bourbon, just simple goodness and by far the best pecan pie I have ever had. Last year, I asked for the recipe and have been making it ever since. Even when following the recipe exactly, I have yet to make it as good as my Papaw or Nana but I think I am getting close. They must just have magi hands or add extra love or something.
Papaw's Pecan Pie
1 unbaked pie shell (this is one half of the pie crust recipe listed above rolled out onto a pie plate)
1/4 cup vegan butter
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup light corn syrup (red label Karo)
1 1/2 cup pecan halves
First preheat your oven to 325 degrees F. After you roll out the dough onto an ungreased pie pan, you may want to dust the top of the crust with any gluten free flour lightly. This is because the filling of the pie has such high sugar content. I am not actually sure what this does but I just know that it helps to dust with flour. Maybe I should look up why at some point...
Now in a mixing bowl, cream together vegan butter, eggs, and sugar. Then add in corn syrup and beat with a fork. Once the filling is done, pour it into the pie crust.
Now there are two ways to do the next part. You can either mix the pecans into the filling before you pour it into the pie crust or you can do the more meticulous way, which is what I usually do. For this way you arrange the pecans in a circular pattern on top of the filling after you pour it into the crust. Just one pecan at a time around the edge then moving inwards after you complete each circle. This generally ends up looking more awesome, which is why I do it- well and because there is something therapeutic about placing each pecan by hand. That could just be for a perpetually stressed college student, however.
After you finish (either way), place in the oven and bake for about 80 minutes or until a knife comes out of the center clean and the top has browned.
Now that I have shared with you one of my families food traditions can I share with you some of our other ones? pretty please?
Well, it involves many hours in the car. (This tradition hasn't been every year recently since me and my siblings all started college, but we did it this year.) We travel all over the state of Tennessee and sometimes Alabama. But its all worth it when you get to see things like this:
This is my Papaw and Nana's farm covered in snow on the day after Christmas. Beautiful!
Christmas Eve we all go to my parents church for christmas eve service, then my parents give us our christmas PJs (and no you are never to old to get PJs from your parents!)
Then on Christmas day we open presents at my parents house in the morning with our traditional holiday breakfast then we head out on the road.
We start by visiting my mom's side of the family- this year Christmas lunch in Nashville. Then we head to West Tennessee to see my dad's side of the family at the farm shown above.
Another tradition (intentional or not): The farm is filled with dogs.
Old, like Grady...
And Young, Like Merrill...
Ok that's not really a tradition, but there are always a ton of dogs everywhere and I just really wanted to show you the adorable pictures :)
And for one last time until next year... Merry Christmas!