I began my rainy Saturday measuring and combining assorted flours to create a batch of high fiber mix, and another, starchier all-purpose flour from this Celiac book. Instead of committing these expensive, labor-intensive flour mixes to two-crust pies, I used Martha Stewart's Toasted Pecan Dough (as veganized and de-glutenized by kittee) to make a basic apple cinnamon pandowdy. (A pandowdy has only a top crust. It's supposed to look sloppy, so there was none of the usual anxiety or self-loathing regarding edge crimping.)
Since kittee's pandowdy crust turned out so firm and crusty, I followed her lead and used the high fiber mix. It came together in a ball and rolled easily, but sadly, the crust never set; when I tapped on it with a spoon after 40 minutes in the oven, it was still soft as dough. After it cooled, the crust was grainy and disintegrated into crumbs when sliced.
The crust and filling (MacIntosh slices, cinnamon, allspice, sugar, and a bit of gluten-free flour) tasted great, but the final product was more like an apple crisp than pie. Definitely edible, but not fit for company or Thanksgiving.
Next, I followed the recipe again using the high starch white rice flour mix. The crust was lighter, but similarly crumbly and disappointing.
Sunday morning I went in a different direction: blueberry, with a crust out of the aforementioned Celiac book. The author said the key to success with gluten-free crust is extended chilling. After 2 hours in the refrigerator, the dough was too dry to roll out; it came apart in chunks when I applied pressure. Apparently this is typical. Deflated, disappointed, too impatient to chill the dough and try again, I laid the broken crust on top of the filling, Bittman style.
In this pie I used 1 quart blueberries in syrup, lemon juice, and 1/4 cup tapioca starch.
The crust firmed up but did not really brown (that's cinnamon sugar on top). It tasted like regular pie crust. Should I try again, and add more water for increased flexibility?
There are other recipes; should I play around with egg substitutes? Should I give up on the dream of a gluten-free vegan pie crust that looks and tastes and behaves normally? Should I throw in the towel and go the ground nuts/dates/syrup route?
Three crummy pies in two days. Luckily, pie freezes well.