By Bridget

Photo credit: WholeFoodsMarket.com

With it being Turkey Day, food seems to be the only thing on everyone minds. From what side dishes to prepare to how many turkey sandwiches they’ll be eating for leftovers (on GF bread, of course!), the big meal is something to be enjoyed over the course of days, not just for one meal.

One part of the meal you definitely don’t want to miss out on is the dessert! Pie making and eating can be considered synonymous with this holiday otherwise centered around turkey, mashed potatoes, and cranberries. To keep dessert the sweetest piece of the meal, try one of these tips to keep the crust gluten-free (and still delicious!)

1. Use meringue!

This French dessert is made from whipped egg whites and sugar. Some recipes call for a binding agent to keep the cookies (or crust) together better, where cornstarch can be an excellent addition. Depending on your pie, try adding vanilla, coconut, or almond extract to give the entire dessert and fuller flavor. Cook the meringues in a pie plate at very low heat for a long time to get the crisp and dry texture you would want for a delicious pie crust.

2. Substitute almond meal for a portion of the flour.

If grandma’s pie crust recipe is a part of Thanksgiving you can’t live without, and you’ll be exchanging gluten-free flour for the wheat flour the original recipe calls for, consider using some almond meal (or ground up almonds). The fat in the almonds will mix and bind well with the butter or shortening (and we all know binding can be a problem with GF flours!), and the gritty texture of the almond meal will provide a courser, fuller texture to the crust. Just be careful when you’re working with the dough – the gluten-free variety can be a lot more fragile than regular pie crusts without the gluten, so you don’t want to overwork it.

3. If you’re going for a flakey crust, choose your flour wisely!

Finding good gluten-free flours can be a constant struggle, but for pie crusts you want to be discriminating with your choices. You don’t want a grainy or cardboard tasting flour that will leave your pie in a crumbled mess. For your flakey crust you want to choose a flour blend that has a high starch content and some xanthan gum (to keep it all together). Choose flours (or grind your own) that have a super fine texture. Asian flours are often milled much more finely than other commercially available flours, so an Asian rice flour can be a very good option. I’ve also had a lot of success using King Arthur’s Gluten-Free flour, and it doesn’t leave my baked goods with a funky after taste.

If you’re feeling particularly adventurous with you gluten-free pie baking, try out Emeril’s gluten-free Pecan Pie recipe! (**Note: use this link to “recipe” please! http://recipes.howstuffworks.com/emeril-pecan-pie.htm) The recipe calls for 2 different kinds of flour, potato starch, and xanthan gum to get the texture just right. As we’ve mentioned on our blog before, his daughters are both gluten-free, so he’s definitely a good source for some delicious gluten-free goodies!

Whatever your gluten-free Thanksgiving involves, there are so many great dishes that can be naturally gluten-free. So pull out the elastic waistbands and chow down!